Today, I'll suggest strategies for preventing and dealing with 8 common event planning challenges.
Food and Beverage
- Hors d'oeuvres are cold.
Prevention: Schedule service start time 15 minutes into the event. Notify the banquet captain if arrivals are later than anticipated so that hors d'oeuvres aren't sitting around.
Solutions: Stagger service and slow it down if attendees are running late.
Healthy and Safety
- An event team members gets burned.
Prevention: Only use qualified staff for food and beverage service.
Solutions: A trick I picked up as a summer flight attendant is to immediately put the affected area under the cold water tap to ease the pain and reduce swelling.
- Bus is filled with litter from earlier trip and it is needed for dinner transfers.
Prevention: Schedule different vehicles for afternoon and evening transfers.
Solutions: Have a host or hostess present to collect litter before passengers leave.
- Luggage is Lost or Delayed.
Prevention: Remind passengers to label luggage and remove all old airline tags. Pack a business suit and shoes in your own carry-on.
Solutions: Keep lost baggage forms handy for passenger to complete and submit with airline luggage receipts. Pre-fill clear shipping instructions (i.e. name and address of resort and prime contact on-property).
- Flight is delayed.
Prevention: If more than one party is arriving on the same day, always arrange for 2 separate transfer vehicles. A plan to drop off one group and return to pick up the second party can be seriously derailed if there are delays.
Solutions: Avoid extra charges due to vehicles waiting around by notifying the DMC of the delay early.
- Bus transporting group for private corporate event is severely delayed due to weather.
Prevention: During the winter, always build your agenda to end after lunch on the last day. Enter into an agreement with the client to extend the meeting a few hours into the afternoon if there is a delay in arrival.
Solutions: Attendees will be tired after a long journey so flip the agenda around to ensure that more challenging content is covered after the group has had some rest.
- Unexpected hurricane or blizzard is about to hit.
For one of my client events, guests who had extended their stay were still at the resort when Hurricane Sandy's approach was announced. On 2 other occasions, blizzards that would have grounded aircraft were on their way.
Prevention: Include clauses to cover blizzards, hurricanes, and severe tropical storms in hotel and airline contracts. Head to the airport early. Some airlines let passengers fly out on earlier flights if severe weather is coming.
Solutions: Prepare a guest list including emergency contacts ready to submit to the local embassy in case evacuation is required. Let guests know their options. Ask the Tourist Board to check in on guests who have moved to other properties.
- Late arrivals are disrupting the meeting.
Here are 3 more tips to add to Cvent Event Blog's tips for managing late arrivals.
Prevention: Send push notifications or email reminders.
Solutions: Put one extra reserved table near the door over and above your attendee count. Some guests always insist on sitting near the door so also have unreserved tables to prevent early from filling up reserved late arrival space.
For more tips check back every Thursday and consult Building Flexibility into Your Meeting Design, Tips for Successful Pre-Conference (Pre-Con) Meetings, 15 Tips for Welcoming Unexpected Guests, Preparing for Unexpected Winter Weather, When Snow Hits Your Event, and 10 Tips for Recovery if You Run Out of Food.
Photo Credit: Backdoor Survival