24 April 2023

Why Contingency Needs To Be Paramount In Events

We have all heard about having a contingency plan – a back-up or another option if things don’t quite go to plan. As an event professional, I always have one, but I don’t have to use it often as most things that are ambiguous or uncertain are ironed out in the preparation.

However, there are just some things that are out of the control of even the most organised event planner! Examples include, diverse weather, extra attendees that weren’t expected (it happens!), staff illness/shortage and a supplier letting you down. As I have learnt, no matter how many times you cross the Ts and dot the Is, something out of your hands can go wrong.

And this is where your contingency plan comes in. Drawing on my many years of experience, I have faced most challenges and have learnt how to deal with them along the way. And this imperative insight goes into building my contingency plan for each event. I ask the very important question, what is the worst that could happen? and try and plan for every eventuality.

Some things I always think about:

The British Weather

Arguably the most unpredictable element of an event, especially one that is outside, or has outside elements. Luckily, most venues think along the same lines and have a back-up option if the weather turns, but I ensure that I walk though plan b thoroughly to understand how that event would look and feel if we have to change last minute. I also prepare my clients for this eventuality and make sure they are on board and aware.

No Shows

I would never name names, but I have sadly experienced suppliers letting me down at the last minute, which is really stressful. Luckily, I have built up a trusted list of suppliers so that happens very rarely, but I will never forget the sick feeling in my stomach years ago when someone let me down quite badly! Life happens, and I understand that people are ill or something impacts their commitment so I now have a list of trusted people I can call on last minute if needed to deliver. These are people who have worked with me in the past, know me and we have a mutual trust.

Moving Elements

By this I mean perhaps we have planned for a certain amount of people and more / less turn up. A few is fine, and normal, and this is catered for, but when it is a considerable number this can be problematic. Of course, the issue does lie with the client for not briefing me properly and setting expectations, but in the event, we need to ensure people enjoy their experience. This is why trusted suppliers are key. Great suppliers are amazing problem solvers and often have brought surplus stock or, together, we can come up with a solution.

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