The Event Planning Cheat Sheet

Congratulations! If you’re reading this then you clearly know that event planning can be a thankless job where many specific things need to go well for your entire event to be successful. Event planning requires careful organization, attention to detail, and the ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. We have teamed up with GoGather, an event planning company, to share 5 event planning hacks that are a sure fire way for your events to be spectacular. These hacks are guaranteed to help you overcome challenges and create unforgettable experiences for your attendees. From allocating rehearsal times to accounting for onsite changes, these hacks will empower you to plan and execute successful events in a repeatable and attainable way.

Hack #1 - Rehearsal Times

Diving into the first hack, rehearsal times are often underestimated and undervalued in event planning. It's not just about allocating an hour here or there. It is crucial to allocate adequate time for rehearsals, considering the nature of the content and the presenters involved. You must consider the content and the presenters' preferences because no two presenters are the same. While some individuals may require minimal rehearsal, others may prefer a comprehensive run-through. By allowing ample time for rehearsals, you not only ensure that presenters feel prepared and confident but you also provide an opportunity to address any technical challenges or enhancements that may arise. Additionally, those unexpected issues can be resolved, leaving you and your team better prepared for a remarkable event. In short, rehearsals benefit both presenters and the production company. Keep this in mind when planning your next event and scheduling rehearsals on the calendar.

Hack #2 - Site Visits

Site visits are critical. You need to evaluate loading areas, accessibility to the main stage, and other logistical aspects. By thoroughly examining the event space, you can identify potential challenges and make necessary changes in advance. For example, there could be inadequate loading docks or limited elevators. Issues like these are not something you want to wait to discover during the show.

Site visits not only help with layout and venue issues but can also provide a chance to make some helpful connections. Hotel staff, engineering teams, and the AV crew can become your go-to for advice, contract negotiations, and making sure everything runs like a well-oiled machine during your event. Trust us, visits are necessary for ensuring your event runs smoothly. So plan some site visits and check out those venues.

Hack #3 - Hotels Work for You

Remember, hotels are service providers. When negotiating contracts with hotels, it is important to remember that you have leverage as a customer. By involving experts in AV during contract negotiations, you can save substantial amounts of money and allocate resources more efficiently. As a production partner, Clarity pushes for the opportunity to have the conversation with you ahead of time. Providers like us can identify areas where costs can be optimized, such as power, rigging, and liaison fees.

But really, before you put ink to that contract, consider help from other professionals in the industry. The tiniest change in language will save you tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your event/s. You have the leverage because you're the customer, and the hotel wants your business. Often, you're booked in several hundred rooms for multiple days, taking into account food and beverage, which serves as another significant profit center for the venues. So don’t be afraid to ask for an extra day to load in for free or to not have to pay twenty thousand dollars for the Internet. Hotels are willing to work with you, but the most important things to not forget are to put everything in writing and make sure it gets signed.

Hack #4 - Budget Allocation

Next, let's discuss budget allocation. It’s key to understand where budgets come from and how they’re created. When creating your budget, ask yourself questions like, “Is the budget based on previous spending or a predetermined number?” It's crucial to consider factors that apply to your organization and to also consult people in your industry to get a temperature read on general market pricing. For example, as an organization you may want to examine food & beverage fair market value because there can be dramatic price fluctuations year after year.

But if you don't have a budget, we would recommend trying to build one based on several different data points: what you've done in the past, how you value production, or how you value attendee experience. Then we would bring that topic up to your executive team and say, “Hey, what's the experience we want to create for our attendees and why are we having the event at all? And if we all agree, we want this amazing experience, it will be at a bigger expense.”

The other side of this point that we also need to understand is that budgets fluctuate, they're not always going up. Not every single company is knocking it out of the park every year. Creating a transparent budget that aligns with the desired attendee experience and where you are as a company will help you allocate those resources effectively, but also allow partners/vendors to offer suitable products and services while suggesting cost-saving alternatives. Have that conversation early on in the RFP process.

Hack #5 - Account for Onsite Changes

Unforeseen changes and additions often occur during an event. To account for these on-site changes, it’s wise to include a contingency fund in your budget. Sometimes you go into an event and you may believe that your budget is X and then you do the event and it ends up being Y with a significant gap or increase between that. Similar to construction projects, live events have tons of moving parts that may require adjustments and unexpected expenses. By budgeting a percentage for potential extras, you can effectively manage and mitigate financial surprises during the event. This proactive approach ensures that you are prepared for any on-site modifications, keeping you in control of your budget. These are big events. There's lots of moving parts, so just be aware of that and budget a percentage into potential additions or changes on-site.

Incorporating The Hacks

Incorporating these five event planning hacks into your planning and preparation process can streamline your ability to organize and execute successful live events. Prioritize rehearsal times, conduct thorough site visits, leverage AV providers for your hotel negotiations, allocate budgets wisely, and plan for onsite changes. By implementing these hacks, you can enhance the success and overall experience of your events. Remember, event planning is a dynamic process that requires adaptability, but with these hacks as your guide, you can make that process of adapting smooth like Don Julio. Click the link below to start incorporating these hacks for your next live event!

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