10 most common event planning challenges and their solutions

Welcome to Julie Chege Insights — Every Month, we publish the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in the events industry. 

Event planning requires lots of thoughts and planning which is why reviewing these most common event planning problems and solutions will help you be more safe than sorry.

Under staffing an event is a common event problem.

Event Planners ignore the fact that when planning an event that is understaffed the outcome may not be appealing as the few staff you have on the ground will seem to rush things to meet the deadline for set up and decoration.  To avoid that an event planner should write out each desired role title or function along with a detailed description of what they’ll be responsible for. This will enable you to calculate the number of staff needed for an event success.  

Undercharging and undercutting is a dirty job

People who undercharge are lowering the bar not only for themselves but for everyone else the industry. Most of these planners usually have other jobs they earn from and event planning is maybe a 2nd in their career choice. They undercut because the event income is just a supplementary income to just pay for a few non basic expenses. When Event planning is your full-time job and your family relies on you to bring home money to feed them, you look at how much you make in a much difference manner.

What do you do when such scenarios happens in the Event industry?

“The situation is tricky and sensitive” Eddy of Homeland events lamented in an Event planners Club What app group

‘My customers care more about delivery of services, quality and convenience’ says director of Ashley’s events. “Sometimes cheap may end up being expensive”.. She continues. “Our ultimate goal in event management is building strong relationships with your customer and investing in their needs” she concluded

So! What to do when competitors cut prices and you don’t want to reduce your own:

May planners end out Matching their prices to the under cutters level in order to remain competitive? Remember this is not always a sound approach.

Other planners drop their prices below the competition and they think that customers will beat a path to their doors. This kind of approach will land you in a price war, and there are no winners in a price war — only survivors, When the battle is over there will be no business left for either parties.

The only solutions suggests that:-

  • Try shifting customer perceptions about your product  and services away from money and onto value. Whatever the price of your product and services, you must present its usefulness as exceeding the actual cost. This requires building stronger relationships with customers through effective marketing and communications, and a concerted effort to meet customer complaints — because these are what price objections actually are.
  • Improve convenience through positive online shopping experiences.
  • Provide in-depth, helpful information on products and services.
  • Build trust and customer loyalty by providing staff bios, positive reviews, and testimonials.
  • Form a reputation as a good corporate citizen through community participation.

Budget changes.

This industry has over changing trends of events products. When creating a budget for your customer makes sure that you understand the prices of items needed to execute the event. For example, The prices of flowers in the last season may not be the same prices now. If this happens you might end up approaching your client for more money. It is therefore advised not to rush to provide a quote without double checking the current market prices of items needed for the said event, otherwise you client may end up not trusting you in the future.

Bad Weather Plan for Outdoor Events

Any outdoor event organizer will know that the success of your event – be it a festival, charity fundraiser or  a wedding– is at the mercy of the elements. Extreme weather has increased in both frequency and intensity this past decade. This is why it’s good to err on the side of caution when preparing for any type of an outdoor event.

Those people who plan events during the rainy season are advised to have a plan B. This means discussing a second venue just in case the weather turns out nasty.

This would mean if you are booking an outdoor venue, make sure also the same venue offers indoor facility, This means if the weather changes you can make your set up changes without having to travel to another venue.

For those clients who want to total outdoor event without tents, advice them to consider the Tents on a standby just in case the weather turns havoc. I have also witnessed event planners who provides blankets and ponchos for the guests in case of cold weather.

The bottom line is bad weather doesn’t have to hold your event back, With a winning combination of caution, creativity and rigorous prep, you can guarantee a great day for your clients function.

Lack of hands on experience can be an event challenge.

We have seen people who have come out of colleges and universities and jumps on straight to starting an event service company.

We have also seen people who have just worked in event companies for a short period and they think that they can now run a full event service.

We are not denying that, they can start a company because every person, every professional started from that point.

But here are some ways you can figure it out this challenge :

  • You can make google as your go-to resource center and watch out for event planning news, trends in the industry. This will give you some ideas that you can use in your journey to event planning.
  • look for one or two unofficial mentors to yourself. Anyone who has event planning experience or is good at improvising solutions to problems can be very helpful when things go wrong. always look up to them for advice and guidance.
  • Spend your time when you are not busy refreshing your event planning experience by enrolling in to event certification courses

Having more guests or attendees than you planned for in an event

So your clients requested you to set up, feed and sit 300 pax for the event. The day is here , its 10 o’clock in the morning and the chairs are half full. What are some of the things you need to do to avoid such scenarios;

  • Talk to your client time to time to find out about his or her guest list, find out if the numbers are still the same as the day of booking, Talk to them about the response of invitations. If they feel that the response is good then you can discuss about additional set up and logistics for extra guests or even changing venue to accommodate the large RSVPs
  • Advice your client on the choice of venues. Some venues a known for gatecrashers. If they still want to use the venue then advice the client on crowd control options like invitation cards and gate checks and confirmations.

What if this happens during the actual event.. well I would advice the event planner to use her vendors expertise to solve a problem. Such problem solving skills differs depending on Event, location, Client etc.

example:- Some caterers would reduce the food potions others would buy more food ,Some vendors may bring in more tents and chairs for the guests. As said earlier it depends with the event and your clients . But remember you have to involve the client before you make any major decision to avoid conflicts during payments of the last deposit.

Not having a structured event management process can be a challenge.

This industry goes by the name, Event Planning or Event management. If you don’t have a streamlined workflow, centralized communication and an organized plan to execute an event then you might as well  look for another career. Event management tools are needed to maximize your productivity and the success of an event. If you have decided to venture into event marketing then there are essential tools and apps that can make your event an a success. eg

  • Event Website
  • Event Registration
  • Event Marketing
  • Attendee Engagement App
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • System Integrations
  • you can also use third party event website that you can list your events for free.

List an event for free here

Neglecting to research what other events vendors out of town charge for equipment

Once in a while you might get a client who want his or her event in another town . Many event planners opt to hire some of the bulk items from other vendors in that town.

Before you agree to sign the contract or produce you quotation always talk to a few planners in that particular town and find out the prices of hiring equipment and services. Otherwise you might end up undercharging based on the local charges and later you find out the same product goes for double the price in another town.  Once a Local service order (LSO) is out then it will be difficult to change your prices and you might need to dig in your pocket to avoid legal complications with your client for non delivery.

Forgetting to create an attendee engagement plan

For those people in exhibitions and corporate events conferences, its is always good to  create an attendee engagement plan which may consist of :-

  • Confirm you vendors 48 hours prior to the exhibitions or conference. Anything can come up with your booked exhibitors or attendees and might not turn up on the D-day.
  • Always have Content  and communication for your exhibitors , speakers, and other event activities: it can be embarrassing not have content that makes the event look organized
  • Connecting with event sponsors ahead of time to confirm the support of your event for smooth budgeting.
  • Engagement between attendees through online forums, in person networking, and community management.

Not Belonging to an Event Association

Event planners Associations are organized for benefits of its members. An Event planners club like this  typically provide their members with education/professional development. information, research, statistics. standards, codes of ethics, certification. forum (face to face or virtual) to discuss common problems and solutions facing the industry.

If you know of any Events club and Association please send us the details to be listed on this forum