Event mistakes that can ruin it

Do you use events as part of your marketing plan?

In every industry I have worked in, event marketing has been the bread and butter marketing tactic for impressing trade partners, advertisers and industry heavyweights. From formal dinners for 600 to private audience dining experiences for 14, tradeshows involving thousands, Guinness World Record attempts in the middle of the CBD and building a bespoke skateboard park inside a concert hall,  there isn’t much in the way of events I haven’t been involved in. With a good team, events can run like a well-oiled machine (well that’s what it looks like on the day) as crisis after crisis is dealt with quickly, quietly and efficiently. Venue goes bust, no problem find another one, talent pulls out, no problem replace them, air conditioning breaks down – that’s ok, bring in retro industrial fans and make it look like it was meant to be that way. Rarely do these ‘big issues’ impact on those attending the events as quite often, it is only those behind the scenes who are aware of what should have happened but didn’t and why. Frustratingly however, what can bring an event down is what guests do pick up on – and it is usually the ‘little things’.

4 ‘little things’ that can ruin an event

1. Under catering

When it comes to food & beverages there is no bigger crime than under catering. If the event budget only stretches to a maximum number of canapes or one free drink per guest it’s time to rethink how the budget has been split. Reassess the invitation numbers, venue fees, table decorations or invitation costs – anything to fatten the dollars you have available for catering. Let your guests get ‘hangry‘ and it’s game over for your event and your credibility.

2. Venue choice

It may be ultra-hip and forward-thinking of you to have your next event at an abandoned warehouse in an emerging suburb, and by all means go ahead and do it, but to guarantee your invited guests: a) turn up and b) don’t complain when they do, make sure you cover off any transport issues such as lack of public transport, parking and the availability of taxis beforehand. Offer shuttle buses to pick up and drop off guests at the nearest public transport hub, pre-book a steady flow of taxis and make sure there is parking on site. Do what you can to avoid your guests arriving annoyed or waiting an hour to leave as there are no taxi’s.

3. Poor time management

Over the last few years I have been to a number of events, including black tie awards, where the venue crew and events team have thought it was ok to start packing up while the guests were still there. Really, I’m not kidding. Here’s a shouty tip – IT IS NEVER EVER OK TO START ROLLING THE TABLES AWAY WHILE YOUR GUESTS ARE STILL THERE ENJOYING THEMSELVES. EVER. If you need to be out of a venue by a certain time due to whatever reason, then you need to factor into your event timetable a plan to start moving guests out at least 30 mins before the stated closing time. If you can, choose a venue that has a side room where a small bar can be set up as a last drinks station, negotiate bump-out to commence at the crack of dawn the next day, or find a more accommodating venue.

4. Toilets

Lack of toilets or worse, unclean toilets will guarantee attendee disgruntlement. Hosting a 600 strong event in a location with 3 toilet cubicles will annoy everyone, particularly the women who are usually impacted by this more than men. If you absolutely must use the venue or location in question, assess bringing in portable facilities. There are plenty of businesses out there who can supply high end portable facilities with luxury soaps, towels and attendants to make sure they stay clean. Employing attendants in venues with more ample facilities is also a great way of ensuring the bathrooms are kept spick and span. I have seen this work really well at black tie functions where event organisers have also filled the bathrooms with flowers, mints, perfumes & after-shave to help keep guests refreshed.

Running a big event or small event is hard work, but focussing on the big stuff and overlooking the little stuff can and does lead to major event fails.

Do you have an event pet hate? We’d love to hear from you.

Image Credits: Canva

About Zena Churchill

Zena Churchill is a Director at Max & Buddy Consulting. She has worked in senior level business roles across national and multinational corporations, as well as being a small business owner. Zena is a strategic thinker and brings a practical, straight-forward approach to marketing and social media. She has a passion for training & development running practical business workshops for small business. Zena is a Certified Practising Marketer (AMI), sometimes tutors in Marketing at the University of Wollongong and is a Senior Consultant with Trinity P3.

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