As we navigate through a new norm, we look at just some points that you may find useful when we you are planning an event after Corona Virus. We suggest some top tips and considerations during your planning process.
1. Start Planning Early
Begin planning as soon as you possibly can. If your event is a large event you should realistically begin planning, it four to six months in advance. Smaller events need at least one month to plan. To keep the final run up to the event flowing smoothly, try to ensure that
all supplier contracts are completed a few weeks before the event and remember follow up, follow up, follow up. Keep everything in writing and cover your back after all key communication. Read up on the latest legislation on holding events and include them in your plans. Allow extra time for these new processes
2. Remain Flexible
Over the process of planning the event, things are going to change, and you need to react and respond quickly. Whether it is event times, locations or even the type of event you’re hosting, you need to ensure that you’re flexible and can meet the changing demands. You
may find that something that was health and safety policy 6 months ago, may have changed again. Be prepared to remain agile.
3. Suppliers and costs
Covid-19 has devastated the events industry and many suppliers may not be in existence. Even with fewer suppliers, ensure you negotiate but remember there may be higher costs as even the suppliers need to plan and cost in changes due to Covid-19. Remember that
with every event there will be unforeseen costs, so try to negotiate price but leave at least 10% of your budget as a buffer for changes that occur along the way. Keep all contracts and notes for all suppliers and if things change and you need to communicate, ensure you do it immediately after the change. Its so easy to forget to update them.
4. Delegate Responsibilities
Break up the various tasks of the event and group them in area’s (e.g. registration, dinner, health and safety, internal communication, conference management, supplier management). Assign an area to each member of your team but ensure you have a weekly catch up with them to ensure that the project is on schedule. These Team Members are solely responsible for their own area they will be much more clued into small detail changes especially related to the new norm of events. In terms of who gets what, look at key individual skills and assign tasks according to their skills and experience.
5. Create an Event Planning Manual
In order to keep everyone on the same page, create a master project document that details everything to do with the event, including presentation slides, Risk Assessments, table plans, supplier contracts, delegate lists, timings and the floor plan. With a shared event manual, each project member can refer to plans throughout the day, and your entire team can spot if something is out of place.
6. Have a Plan B
The very nature of events makes them open to small changes or issues at the last minute or on the day. For example, there may be an accident on the motorway, an item may not turn up or a speaker maybe sick on the day. We suggest that you identify they key risks that could occur and have a backup plan for each. By identifying key risk, you can understand the big issues and perhaps even exclude them from the event
7. Rehearsals and Walk Through
We suggest a project walk through about 2-3 weeks before the event, the entire plan of the day and event process. Organise a project planning meeting and talk through the day maybe at the venue so that you understand all the elements as you may not be familiar with the timings and complexities that could occur as a result of social distancing, new floorplans etc. Maybe walk through everything, from initial set up to the follow up process. Often complications are highlighted at these site visit, and you will have time to correct them.
8. Communicate Everything Clearly
Ensure delegates clearly understand the process and the changes that you must follow at your event. Communicate it prior to the event but also on the day. We like infographics so people understand instructions clearly – Pictures paint a thousand words and there are lots of templates available for the requirements for post Covid for branded communication. Your venue will also have to display these too.
9. Virtual Events
Many people may not be able to attend this event either due to travel restrictions or due to floorplan restrictions. You may consider staggering attendance throughout the day and run the same conference in the morning and afternoon. Alternatively, you may consider
streaming the whole meeting for others to watch remotely. Maintain your social media presence throughout the day and maybe send a summary of salient points on-line – it’s a great way of maintaining good recall of key messages.
10. Follow-up Immediately
Once the event is over, many organisers fall into a common pitfall – taking a break. While the event is over, it’s important to make notes of learning – key things that worked and didn’t work for next time. We are working through a new norm and it’s important to get feedback from the team, attendees, and suppliers. Video the event so that you can share the event again in the future to help re-energise teams or remember key elements. Following up with attendees is so easy through survey monkey or a similar platform or maybe via feedback on social media, to demonstrate the success of the event. Whilst this is not a fully comprehensive list of considerations, we hope these ideas help you to think of how you will need to think differently as we start to return to events in the future. Nothing will be the same for a while, so we do suggest speaking to your venue, suppliers and consult Government regulations and guidelines during the planning process.