Handling Those Last Minute Requests II

PanicThe numbers are in. No I am not referring to the results of the US Mid-term elections. Once again event planners have made the list.

Sitting at number 5 after enlisted military personnel, military general, firefighter, and airline pilot is event coordinator in the annual CareerCast survey of most stressful jobs. At first this may seem melodramatic. While occupational hazards include long hours and tight budgets, planning events is generally perceived to be "fun."

I think the main reason why event planning jobs can be stressful is the last minute changes and requests. Just over 3 years ago, I did a Cvent Event Blog post entitled Event Planning Handling Last Minute Requests. Little has changed since then. Recently, a colleague reported that he was still receiving the names of attendees and participant profiles with information to customize the session and special meal requests less than 2 nights before the start of a corporate meeting. The deadline for ordering special meals had long past and all printing was supposed to be submitted hours earlier. 

Fortunately, technology has helped but there is only so much one can do at the last minute. In addition to the tips I offered last time we visited this topic, here are a few other suggestions.

  1. Identify options at the start of a project.
    Whenever you find that certain information comes in at the last minute, add it to your list of information, resources, and suppliers to track down early in your process.

    Identify local caterers where from which one can order special meals at the last minute and dining venues that can fill the gap if you run of meals.

    Also, identify staffing agencies where you can get extra help at the last minute if members of your team get sick or experience significant delays in arrival due to snow storms.

    The Cvent Supplier Network can help.
  2. Identify the absolute final deadlines for all aspects of your meeting.
  3. Set the participant deadline to submit information well in advance of that deadline.
  4. Send reminders.
  5. Make it easy for participants to provide information by automating as many aspects of the registration process as possible with online solutions or apps. Resources like Cvent Online Event Registration Software and Housing and Management Tools can be of great assistance.
  6. Outsource printing to a local company that is set-up to handle it at the last minute.
    Alternatively, have members of your own team in place to handle it. I've shared this before. Printing is one of those aspects of a project that, if handled too early will definitely result in re-work. So why create the stress of re-work.
  7. Better yet, go paperless. Use apps. to deliver registration lists and participant material and eliminate the printing headaches all together.

    Leverage Cvent Mobile App. Solutions.
  8. Finally, arrive at the venue extra early, much earlier than you think you need to arrive.
    If it's a hotel or resort, get there early enough to re-charge your batteries before the inevitable last minute glitches on the final day before the event.

Bonus: When the timing is right, early in your planing cycle, share Business Meetings 411: 5 Compelling Reasons to Avoid Last-Minute Event Planning with clients and brainstorm strategies to ensure that as much of the planning as possible is completed early.

For more burnout busting tips also read Event Planning: 6 Surefire Strategies to Avoid Burnout, Corporate Event Planning: 7 Pre-Event Change Management Strategies, Event Coordinators Have the 5th Most Stressful Job in America, Stressful or 'Bestful'? Planners Say Their Jobs Are: Both and Event Planning: 10 Tips to Stop Going Home from Events Exhausted.

Photo Credit: mosaic36

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