Business event planning is not an easy skill to master and the role of an event manager is now so highly regarded; you can take a degree in the subject. Although I would always recommend calling in the event planning experts when planning an event, there are ways to make business event planning a lot less complicated and stressful making sure your event runs smoothly!
The clue is in the words “Event Planning”. Planning is key in making an event successful and with the right planning and forward thinking, the entire process can become a lot ‘easier’.
Easy Tip One: Identify your venue
Where do you want to host your event? Once identified, you need to make sure the venue fits the requirements of the event and that it is accessible. I suggest walking through the venue as if you were a delegate, identifying the different zones, rooms and requirements on a site inspection prior to contracting. The key is in the detail – providing as much information to the venue at the initial brief stage so as to ensure an ideal solution is presented with no nasty surprises.
Easy Tip Two: Negotiate and be prepared to walk away
If the negotiation isn’t working, don’t keep pushing. You have a budget, so stick to it. My advice is to give the venue and all suppliers your budget, minus 10% as soon as possible. This allows suppliers to work to your given budget and also saves time wasting. There is no point sourcing a five-star venue with a four-star budget even with negotiation. So, be realistic and understand what bang you can get for your buck.
Easy Tip Three: Don’t over tender
More often than not, an event brief goes out to maybe 5, 6, sometimes even 10 suppliers. It seems like a good procurement strategy, but it doesn’t work. Firstly, it plays everyone off against each other; it also creates frustration and wastes time. For any brief, there are only a finite amount of suppliers – if we are all chasing the same suppliers, then these suppliers may get cocky…“I’ve had the brief 6 times, I can afford not to negotiate or give a good deal as I’m likely to get the business from somewhere”. Any chance of negotiation could be lost…
By all means go out to tender, but by going to a large pot of suppliers means you aren’t going to get the best value, often suppliers will increase prices as they are getting the brief from multiple sources and it looks like getting the work is a sure bet. Did you know that it costs on average £450.00 for an event agency to bid for an event? If you’re going out to 6 agencies, your brief is costing agencies around £2,700.00!
Easy Tip Four: Treat your suppliers like royalty
They are the glue that holds the event together – without them the event doesn’t happen. Source wisely and consolidate spend with suppliers. The more spend you can funnel to specific suppliers, the greater the cost saving. It also allows suppliers to understand your business better which equals better service!
Easy Tip Five: Plan
Running an event is a little like putting on a stage production. You wouldn’t put on a show without a script, so an event should be no different.
Right at the beginning, create your event script. This should detail every last moment of the event. This will likely take a few days to do but once done, you can see what’s left to do and who needs to do it. We create an operations schedule in excel – we allocate tasks to specific suppliers and share the schedule so that everyone understands the event from beginning to end.
There is an art to scheduling, but putting yourself in the delegates’ shoes and thinking of all possible scenarios will help create the schedule.
Easy Tip Six: Agree costs…
Firm them up and make sure you keep your budget up to date at all times. To support this, make sure you understand your contractual obligations, deposit payments and deadlines. These all go hand in hand.
Easy Tip Seven: Health and safety matters
Things don’t often go wrong but when they do, you need a plan. We always suggest taking out event insurance for starters, but we also create an emergency plan “just in case”. This includes knowing the emergency telephone numbers for all suppliers; the local police; the consular (if abroad) and briefing delegates on what is and isn’t expected of them.
If all this seems daunting, then call the Business Event Planning experts! Event Planners can reduce costs significantly. You can take advantage of their purchasing power (remember they book the suppliers you need regularly). They save you time, which saves you money. And, they can offer considerable cost savings that often outweigh the initial outlay of using a professional business event planning team.