Event Management

Things That Could Go Wrong At Any Event

Imagine this, you spend three months planning your biggest event yet and the day comes and things start to go wrong. If you’re an experienced event planner or event manager, then you know this is bound to happen. However, if this is your first event you might be caught off guard.

This is one of the main reasons why companies and organizations who have a reputation to keep and who are planning their events to be held in Penang, Malaysia will usually go for an experienced event company in Penang as they cannot afford to disappoint their guests or customers who will be attending.

Here’s a list of things that can and might go wrong at your event. If you know them now, it could save you a tonne of headaches and stress later!

Things That Could Go Wrong At Events

  • Weather (Rain, Flooding, Haze, etc)
  • Run out of food (the audience must have been starving or packing food back!)
  • Speaker gets stuck in traffic (when there’s not enough buffer traveling time)
  • Attendees don’t show up (if they paid
  • Not enough event space available (when it’s an open event and no crowd control)
  • Bar tab goes over budget (when the guest list are heavy drinkers)
  • Not enough seats (when invited guests brought extra folks along)
  • Too hot/cold (when the AC is not working OR it’s on full blast)
  • Theme fell flat (when no one took it seriously)
  • Speaker drops out last minute (if this was the main speaker for the event, quickly re-check with the company on whether they wish to continue or postpone the event)
  • Food doesn’t meet expectations (needs to be presentable and fresh)
  • Fire (have your fire extinguisher ready – just in case)
  • Power outage (backup generator IF it’s a BIG event)
  • Missing event items (keep an eye on expensive equipment)
  • The stage isn’t set up right (as long as it doesn’t collapse)
  • Attendees are confused (clear communication is key)
  • CEO is unhappy in general (quickly make necessary changes during the event)
  • Way too much leftover food (have food containers ready so the leftover food can be packed for guests to take back or donated to the poor and not wasted)
  • Speaker content is poor (offensive, not funny, dry, etc. – steer clear from political / religious topics)
  • Important members are late
  • AV company makes last minute changes (you need to be in control of your own AV equipment so you can test the sound and lighting and not be held ransom by a service provider)
  • Food is left out from the BEO (Banquet Event Order – clarify with the hotel during the event)
  • Scheduling is off (keep to time or pay late charges later if you’re renting the venue)
  • Transportation mishap (falls through, late, accident, etc.)
  • Forget to share documents beforehand, like powerpoints (get all the docs beforehand to run it through the computer before the event)
  • The speaker goes over time (politely request the speaker to wrap things up to keep to time)
  • Not enough break time between segments (know the condition of your audience and make necessary changes quickly)
  • Not enough water (get contacts of water supplier ready before the event in case of emergencies)
  • DJ plays a bad set (go through with the DJ on what they will be playing before the event)
  • The event is short-staffed (impression counts – double down or hire more)
  • Not enough parking (provide clear signage and info to direct people to alternate parking venues)
  • More guests arrive than RSVP’d (crowd control, check invite list before allowing folks in)
  • Parking is too far away (propose shuttle bus service before agreeing to managing the event)
  • Losing attendee attention (public speaking and keeping people’s attention is a skill which needs to be mastered)
  • Epic lines (keep it minimal, the focus is on the company, speaker or wedding couple)
  • Something in the venue breaks (pipe burst, flooding, etc. – have an alternative room or venue to move people to in case of emergencies)
  • Event manager for venue doesn’t show up (you should be the event manager that’s running the event)
  • Main event contacts don’t answer their phones or go MIA (Missing In Action)
  • Road blockage right before the venue (keep guests informed if this was a scheduled roadblock so they can use alternate routes)
  • Attendee/staff/speaker flights get delayed (got a backup video presentation of the speaker?)
  • Medical emergency (if it’s the main invited speaker or wedding couple, you’ll need to re-schedule and inform everyone. If it’s you as the event manager, you need to have someone take over your place while you recover)
  • Forget to provide dietary options for food (vegetarian / allergy, etc – please be sensitive to dietary requirements. You don’t want to be blamed as being insensitive)
  • Bathrooms out of order or not enough of them (or dirty bathrooms – inform hotel or service provider quickly to get it cleaned or sorted out)
  • Rooming issues (not enough rooms, last minute cancellations, wrong room assignments, etc. – work with the venue provider or risk getting blacklisted)

It’s a given that sometimes a lot of things are not your fault and they were also not the provider’s fault. So it’s always best to be prepared in case it does happen to minimize the damage later.

Always have a list of contingency plan ready as an event manager where you can re-check with the other providers so that you will be in the know in case of emergencies.

Seasoned event planner and management companies are always on top of things as they are proactive in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the event.

If you are looking for a professional event management company, take the time to ask them what are their contingency plans in case any of the mentioned scenarios happen.

You’ll then be able to gauge how they solve and manage these emergencies so that you don’t end up a bundle of nerves when they run the event for you.

Article by Caroline Howard which first appeared in cvent.com