The average corporate event can cost upwards of $250,000 for entertaining hundreds of guests. While most small businesses won’t be spending that much, the amount of money invested in a one-time event is still significant. Preparation is the only way to prevent thousands of dollars being wasted or turned into a PR nightmare.
Stuff happens at any company event that you can’t anticipate, but you can try to plan for all the major scenarios. This guide should help alleviate some of the stress that is involved with event planning.
By avoiding these ten mistakes, you can save yourself a lot of embarrassment and costly consequences.
1. Venue Cancellations
Imagine this: you think you have everything for your event planned and ready to go. Then, a week before the scheduled date, the venue calls and cancels on you.
While you can’t control the venue, you can control what you do to prepare.
Reserve and register for your event as soon as possible. Then, have a short list of a couple of venues you can have on “standby” that you can call up in case of an emergency.
2. Traffic Havoc
When and where you decide to choose to host your event matters a lot. Beyond aesthetics, make sure you’re not choosing a place that is prone to logistical breakdowns.
Are you relying on downtown parking lots/meters? Is the internet or signal strength going to spotty? Will less-than-ideal weather dictate the time it takes to arrive, setup, or conduct business?
3. Poor Attendance
This is something most event planners fear in the back of their minds. Everything works out perfectly for the event setup, but nobody shows up. This is a real drag for everyone involved, especially when you have guests lined up.
Avoid having your event go unnoticed by pumping out the message, killing the marketing, and distributing plenty of event flyers. Use catchy event and holiday wishes to grab attention, add incentives for attendees to bring friends, and go all out on amenities.
4. Guest No-Shows
Almost as bad as an underwhelming event attendance is having an invited speaker or guest bail on you. Rather than wait until the day of the event to have egg on your face, have a backup. Invite multiple guests and speakers to have some you can reserve as plan-B.
You don’t even need to tell them they’re going to be a backup guest. Have them prepare their speech for a shared slot. If someone backs out, upgrade their status to the key speaker.
5. Dragging Speechess/Entertainers
What do you do when your guests are going over their time? Agree upon a certain hand signal or music track beforehand. This is the most subtle way to maintain control of the event without creating awkward moments.
If the guest goes off script a little bit, this can help put them back on track and prevent the audience from nodding off.
6. Technical Difficulties
It happens to the best of us. Think of all the major tech conferences that have failed presentations. A famous Steve Jobs moment comes to mind.
Technology isn’t 100% reliable by any means. The best you can do is apologize, try to fix it, but also prepare another way to deliver.
You might have to get creative and deliver a presentation by hand or without visuals. Storytelling is a long lost art, consider preparing some personal tales to keep everyone’s attention while the problem gets fixed.
7. Upsetting Sponsors
This event planning mistake is sometimes difficult to predict or prevent. Sponsors usually have a specific set of rules that you need to follow. These rules can include content, attendance numbers, quality of the event, and so on.
The best piece of advice we can give is to keep communication open and the process transparent. Sponsors can be difficult to please, but honesty can go a long way, especially when everything in your control is satisfactory. Deliver on the numbers and everything else should be secondary.
8. Losing to Weather
The two biggest things that can ruin a company event are rain and sunshine. To put it bluntly, if your guests have nowhere to go to escape the extreme heat or heavy rain, your event will be a bust.
Don’t cheap out on protecting your venue. People will start leaving if they can’t find a comfortable place to hang out. Keep your tents and tables close, yet far enough to account for stragglers.
Yes, underestimating your turnout can be a bad thing. If everyone replies to your invitations and brings a friend (or two), you could end up shooting yourself in the foot. The audience will end up spending a lot of time in lines for food or to use the restroom.
The obvious solution here is to keep a close watch on event replies online. Leave room for at least 20% of those replying “interested” on your event page.
10. Not Enough Help
Hopefully, you’ve hired a big enough catering staff and volunteers to get everything set up. Make sure these people stay to clean up, as well. The best advice we can give here is to always sign up more help than you need.
If all else fails, small bribes to eager attendees can work, too. Leftover wine and champagne make for effective forms of currency.
Hold an Epic Company Event
If you can somehow avoid these ten company event blunders, the odds are with you for having a good time. Don’t be afraid to be bossy, especially with your friends or close colleagues. Too much leniency can lead to procrastination and bad coordination.
Step up your company party game by researching cool gift ideas. Take a look at Wishes Planet’s list of gift ideas for some inspiration. We love the emphasis on good vibes and creative designs. Make your company gettogether a memorable one.