You may think that the budget is what determines the success of an event. Or maybe it’s the amount of production value (decor, catering, entertainment, bar, etc). In reality though, you can have an event that costs $200 to produce be far more successful than one that holds a price tag over $1 million. How is that the case?
Well, that’s because the real barometer for success of any event—social, corporate, nonprofit or association—is in the guest experience. You may now be saying, “Well sure, Channing, but all those production details tie into the guest experience.” To which I will respond, you are correct. However, the size of your production is not what will really determine the guest experience. It’s failing to do one simple thing. You can have all the guest engagement elements, open bars, top-notch catering and headlining entertainment you want, but without this one thing, your event cannot be considered a success. (At least not by your peers and probably not by your guests either.)
The last thing you want people saying about your event is “It was fine,” or “The [insert one element of the entire event] was good.” The latter of course is a direct reference to the fact that your guests could only come up with one thing that deserved a positive note.
However, that can all be avoided and you can get rave reviews all the way around, no matter your budget. How? Simple: consistent communication across ALL personnel working your event.
Yes, it may seem too easy and a given, but the number of events I’ve attended where guests were confused, lost and/or frustrated is too many to count. The most important thing is your guests’ experience.
Tips on how to avoid this common blunder:
- Host multiple staff meetings to review the event specifics the week of your event, then again onsite.
- If your event covers multiple rooms and/or venues, then make sure EVERYONE on staff can direct them to what is happening in each and that each staffer gives the same directions. Providing a printed layout of the event to each person is a great way to drive this home.
- All staff should also all know the run of show. This is particularly important if it’s a progress event and guests will be moving locations throughout the day or evening.
- Clear signage. Again, this sound simple but it comes back to consistent communication. This includes directions to restrooms, themed or separate spaces of your event, or even a run of show, depending on the size of your event.
- Pay attention to social media. When people are upset, they often share that experience in real time. Designate someone on your staff to monitor the event hashtag as well as the accounts of any key media or influencers in attendance. If an issue arises, deal with it immediately! Then ask them kindly to remove the negative post and/or post again that the issue has been rectified.
The Bottom Line
Over communication is better than confusion. Don’t “think” your staff knows everything need to know, ensure they do by repeating it over and over again prior to the event, onsite and then providing it in written form.
**NOTE: Photo is not representative of the event issue. Simply a good picture.