Whilst we would love to live in a world where events always run exactly to plan, we know that the chance of an event failing is actually quite high. We would like to outline the Top 5 reasons why events fail so that you can avoid them! Some fail spectacularly (think Fyre Festival) and others just fail to meet their event objectives or have minor mishaps during the event. Most event fails can be directly attributed to one (or more) of the below factors so to ensure success make sure you have these elements all covered.
1. Lack of Organisation or Planning
Events are all about planning and organisation – that is why we are called Event Planners! The number one reason that events fail is a lack of planning. There are so many different elements & people that make up an event and you need to ensure that each individual element is perfectly organised, as well as pulling it all together into the one event. From pre-event checklists to registration lists and run sheets, events are all about organisation – all possible outcomes need to be considered and backup plans prepared in case of any issues on the day. Risk Assessments are a MUST for event planning, not only from a safety point of view but also to help identify and potential issues.
2. Supplier Issues
Despite the best of planning, there comes a point where you need to rely on others to help you pull off your event. It takes just one supplier not turning up or not following the run sheet to throw out your entire event. We recommend selecting your suppliers carefully (see our Blog on selecting suppliers) because you do need to put your trust in them. However, it’s not a case of briefing your supplier when you book them (can be months prior to the event!) and expecting them to remember your conversation and follow all steps. You need to remain in contact with your suppliers throughout the planning process as well as providing them with a detailed brief and run sheet prior to the event and in some cases also a supplier briefing on the day of the event.
If you ensure you have briefed your supplier well you have a much better chance of not having issues on the day – but notice we didn’t say it would definitely run smoothly? As per the last point you need to ensure you have considered all possible scenarios prior to the event and have a Plan B ready in case you need it.
3. Poor Promotion & Marketing of the Event
No-one is going to attend your event if they don’t know about it are they? The promotion and marketing of your event (or lack of it!) can make or break your event. It is so important that your message is getting to the right people at the right time so that they can make the decision to attend your event over the hundreds of other offerings out there. When planning your event the first thing you do should be to work out who is your ideal attendee and how will you reach them. Think about the process of booking from your attendees point of view as well as ease of use for you as the planner. So many planners spend time and money on registration systems that make life easier for them as the planner but make it a terrible experience for their attendee. If you make it too difficult or time consuming for your potential attendee they simply won’t register. We personally love to use Floktu as it is easy for the planner and the attendee to use.
What’s that saying – “Never work with children or animals”? We would like to add “outdoor events” to that list – oh the joys! There are so many potential things that can go wrong when you are running an event but make that an outdoor event and you have just added a whole lot more! It’s not just being rained out that can be an issue – things such as wind can also play their part in the weather “havoc”. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold your event outside, it just means you need to be prepared and have a Plan B.
If you are planning an outdoor event you need to have a back up plan in case of weather – be that an indoor option, plan to reschedule, revision of activities etc. The weather can also affect indoor events, extreme weather can hamper your attendees attempts to get to the event and in really extreme cases can even affect your venue (flooding etc). When planning your event consider the time of year you are holding the event and what the weather is like in that season. For example; you wouldn’t plan an outdoor movie night with slushies, ice cream and cold drinks in the middle of winter!
5. System and Technology Failure
Picture this – you have planned your event to involve interaction with your audience via an app which requires Wifi, your registration system runs on internet and your presenters have all turned up with presentations that need a live link to the internet. You haven’t had a chance to visit the venue prior to the event but the staff have assured you they have fantastic internet (don’t they all!). When you arrive onsite you discover that not only is their Wifi only designed to cater for 10people at a time but their building is in an area with terrible mobile coverage and you are unable to access the internet. How successful do you think this event is going to be for your attendees?
Technology is a key area of concern for most events so if this is a key area of your event we recommend bringing on a tech partner to assist with your event and ensure things run smoothly. As per point number one it is so important to plan your event correctly and if you are heavily reliant on a certain element (say internet) make sure you have multiple back up plans and invest in quality systems and assistance.
Events are particularly susceptible to failure due to their large number of components and reliability on a large number of people. I’d say this is why event planning is listed in the Top 10 most stressful jobs and why so many people prefer to outsource their event management to an event company. The above 5 reasons why events fail are all easily avoidable with a little forward planning. The main thing you need to do to ensure your event isn’t on the “worst event” list is to plan, plan and plan some more – if you have thought through all of the potential items that could go wrong and thought up a Plan B then your chances of being able to fix it quickly and smoothly will be much higher! If the thought of all of that planning and risk management gives you nightmares, then reach out to an event agency such as Events Outsourced to help you out.