Maximising Downtime: Looking Back & Planning for Future Events

By Laura Ambrosy

People underestimate how busy the life of a meeting planner can be, often jumping from one event to the next with little time to debrief past events and get organised for future events. With so many different events, it can be challenging to remember what worked and what didn’t work for each. Many meeting planners are facing a time of uncertainty and are looking for ways to keep busy. Below is a list of suggested tasks for both users of Cvent technology as well as for planners that use other technology to organise events.

These hints and tips will not only help you reflect but also prepare you for what will likely be a chaotic transition back into our “normal” day to day lives.

Take a Step Back

the first step

Run a report in Cvent or make a list of your events that have occurred over the past few months or years. If you run a vast number of events, you can choose to focus on the most important or largest events. Once you have this list, set aside time to brainstorm, either alone or with additional team members, on your successes and areas of improvement. This is a best practice that many planners use following each event to keep a record for future events.

A 360 Degree View

One helpful way to effectively analyse your events is to start by thinking of the entire lifecycle, from the moment the event was scheduled through any post-event tasks. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Overall, how was the initial planning process? Was it difficult to find venues that fit your needs? How were you sourcing these venues?
  • When creating your registration website, what tools did you find helpful? Did your registrants have a lot of questions around your registration process?
  • How far in advance did you send out invitations? What was the acceptance rate?
  • If you launched an app, what percentage of users logged in? How engaged were they? What worked, what didn’t work? Did you use notifications? Games?
  • In terms of communications, how often did you have to update your attendees? Did you have any difficulty communicating details to different groups of people?

Once you’ve had a moment to reflect on your pre-event information, start to think about the event itself.

  • How was the catering, both from a service and cuisine standpoint? Were there any dishes your guests preferred? Note these for the future. Did you have any issues handling dietary restrictions?
  • What about the technical aspects of your event – did you have a good experience delivering content to the right resources? Would you work with your AV company again? Any “gotchas” you want to remember for the next time?
  • Think about the timing of your event – how was the check-in flow? Did sessions run as scheduled, or do you need to better prepare for future events?
  • When it comes to the content, was it well received? Were your speakers and session content highly rated? Were you able to measure the performance of your content?
  • After the event is over, did you send a feedback survey? If so, refer to these responses and identify any areas of improvement.
  • What percentage of your attendees showed up? If this number is low, how can you increase participation in the future?

Knowledge is Power

Answering questions of this nature will help you collate a document highlighting any successes and areas for improvement. If you’ve ever had to carry out a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat analysis), you’ll know that it’s these types of questions and answers that can often lead you to discover gaps in your event management and delivery process. Once uncovered, they give you a fantastic opportunity to turn a weakness into strengths and threats into opportunities.

If you are a Cvent user, you can upload this document to Cvent in the document library to ensure you can reference this information for future events. Alternatively, you could turn on documents within each event and upload there for later reference.  If you don’t use Cvent technology, it’s a great idea to ensure you have shared spaces with your internal team or stakeholders so they have to access and can review information about your past events.

Look Forward

Capture the rear view of your events

Now that you’ve reflected on past events, its time to start planning for the future. When there are circumstances beyond your control that delay your events or even cause them to be cancelled, it’s sometimes difficult to understand where to begin planning for the future. But there is a lot you can do now to prepare for what’s ahead.

If you have not done so already, you could consider turning some of your events into virtual ones. For Cvent users, that shift can be less challenging than if you are not using any event technology at all. Just like an in-person event, virtual events benefit from the use of an entire event technology platform that helps you promote, execute and manage your event.

Many of the tools like the event website, event registration and your mobile event app can be utilised for your virtual events.

How to Look Ahead

Below are a few ideas on how you can spend your free time looking forward.

  • If you have a large-scale event that is planned over many months, look back at last year’s event and come up with a deliverables schedule. Don’t forget to put this document somewhere your team can easily access/update it, such as google sheets. Nothing feels more productive than checking things off as you complete them! This could also be utilised as a general template across all your events.
  • Search for your venues now! Try exploring/favouriting venues within the Cvent Supplier Network – it’s helpful to already have something prepared to reference for future events, especially if you are planning an event with a short turnaround time. This is also an excellent activity for interns to do research and stay occupied. You can also host any documents within the document library for easy reference moving forward. Be sure to add some filters for size, cost, whether it has a private dining room, category, etc. You can also include a column for notes about past events you’ve hosted, key features you want to remember, etc.
  • Reference any internal documents that you have used for past events, such as invitee lists, vendor lists, timeline documents, graphics, etc. Create templates from these commonly used documents to use on your future events.
  • If you have not set up event templates within Cvent, use some of your past events to create templates. This will save you LOADS of time in the future!

Get Support with your Future Events

If you have one, feel free to reach out to your Cvent Account Team and Customer Care with any best practice or tactical questions. If you are not using Cvent but would like to chat about how you can use event technology to help plan and execute both your virtual and in-person events, click here to speak to one of our advisors.

While everyone’s events are different and many planners may still be busy during this time, hopefully these tips will help you to set your organisation up for the success of your future events.


Cvent

Written by Cvent

Cvent is a leading meetings, events and hospitality management technology provider with more than 4,000 employees, 27,000 customers, and 300,000 users worldwide.