Sarah Hill, marketing manager at Group Se7en Events, London
An event planner with experience knows that one of the most important aspects of putting together any event is being ready for anything that can go wrong.
Therefore, putting together a coherent and thorough contingency plan becomes an essential part of every project – only preparing for all likely and not so likely worst-case scenarios can ensure that an event will be successful, even if things do go wrong.
After all, when it comes to event planning, one thing is certain – with literally thousands of details that make up an event, there’s bound to be at least a few of them that were missed, or that simply didn’t go as planned because of unpredicted circumstances.
But preparing a complete contingency plan is not just about putting on paper all the things that might go wrong. Another aspect that’s simply a reality in the events industry are budget restrictions, which often means that event organisers are forced to produce results on a below-modest budget, and that leaves little to know extra room for financing contingency situations.
So what’s the solution?
The truth is, there isn’t an easy solution for the problem, as clients will always want more for less, and events planners will often be ready to try and meet those demands. However, there is an approach that can help at least carve out space in the budget for a contingency plan that can actually provide a safety net for the entire event.
The gist of it comes down to setting the expectations for the client early. While the negotiation process usually centres around the main requirements for the event, pitching the importance of preparing a contingency plan, as well as explaining the main reasons for its importance, can help the client become more willing to spend additionally to make sure that the event is protected from unpredictable circumstances.
The additional costs can begin to seem very reasonable when faced with the prospect of the entire event being ruined, and if this is communicated clearly and concisely, with specific solutions for a contingency plan that apply for the event, it almost becomes a no brainer to implement the necessary recourses.
Of course, in the end, it’s not only the size of the contingency plan’s budget that determines if it is actually effective. Some parts of the plan, such as preparing for bad weather or having backups for suppliers, don’t have to cost anything up front, and are still an essential step for almost any event.
But having the flexibility in the budget to actually implement the contingency steps, if need be, is the real safety net that, in case of emergency, can turn even the worst potential disasters into minor hiccups in the event management process.