Can you book sunshine?

An affectionate look at last year’s event problems given the current pandemic and tips for 2021 event professionals.

The fear of torrential rain in the height of summer has always been one of the top major issues for any large scale, outdoor event. I have sat in numerous meetings with client’s who can nimbly quote record ticket sales on a glorious sunny day versus a rainy one!  Of course, most agricultural types are not averse to a little rain in June and July, but it can have a devastating impact on the event set up and break down – relating to health and safety issues on site.

I’ve also attended more bridal fairs than I care to remember whilst working in Publishing and I’ve spent hours discussing the merits of a spring wedding over a summer wedding with brides and how the humidity will ruin their hair; make her make-up melt, cause her to squint in pictures or give them undesirable sweat patches!

I have spent hours to the minute monitoring the weather forecast before an Awards ceremony and requesting the diligent staff at Carden Park to set up the champagne reception on the sunny terrace…only to retract back to the bar as a dirty cloud makes a rude appearance, before committing to the terrace again just as guests arrive.

Over the last decade I can recall several large-scale events getting pulled due to rain and floods. Of course, nothing could have prepared the Events Community for the devasting impact of a pandemic. Over the course of a few weeks the entire 2020 events season has cancelled and for many their livelihoods, and hard work have been ground to a sharp halt. I for one have felt the grief associated with the loss of the work I love and the fear of the unknown.  We are all coming to terms with a vastly different way of living and I hope we can embrace some of the changes this circumstance has enforced. However, I cannot help but pang for a conversation about whether I can book the sunshine for an event again soon. 😊

Of course, the weather is not the only problem event planners face – albeit important. There are millions of elements which make up a successful event. During my career I have identified some common problems; ones I hear on a regular basis, they include:

How do I keep within my event budget?

How can we generate more revenue?

Can we develop new sponsorship opportunities?

How can we sell more tickets?

How can we gain more publicity and kudos for our event?

How can we sell more sponsorship and retain current sponsors?

How do we engage with a wider and relevant audience?

How can we offer more value and enrich the experience of attendees?

Should you wish to tackle your 2021 event problem head on here is a handy checklist to refer to:

Tackling your 2021 Event Problems

Produce an accurate P and L. Source competitive suppliers. Review all current/proposed spending and income streams to maximize revenue potential.

Research the market and find out about your competitors and what you can emulate and improve on. Don’t forget to consider the right timings for your event in line with your business; competitor events, holidays, climate etc.

Have a dedicated sponsorship sales manager who understands your product and the market (incentivize well!)

Create attractive sponsorship packages and produce professional pitch packs

Produce great creative for the event for your website, social content, adverts, invites, flyers, tickets, banners etc. Also look at refreshing copy to attract new sponsors/visitors/exhibitors/customers.

Plan and prepare engaging social content to engage with a new and existing audience.

Collabs – source like-minded brands to increase the visibility of the event. Essential partnerships will also strengthen the events positioning within the marketplace and give your event stand out. Synergy with quality brands will increase brand/event loyalty and help you to engage with a new and relevant audience.

Advertising – get the most from your advertising budget. Ensure you combine off and online advertising with paid for and editorial coverage. Get the best rates from media.

Media partnerships – secure partnerships with relevant media which offer value to both parties. The partnership should provide you with a large reach beyond your database. The partnership should also offer an aspirational/credible/relevant association.  The media partnership needs to facilitate a relationship with their readers/listeners and your brand. It should also offer readers/listeners added value and create audience engagement, provide captured data and increase social followers etc. as a return.

Communicate with your past attendees via e newsletters to keep them engaged in your event and to presell tickets.

Identify and create PR opportunities to promote your event/brand and communicate to your target customer effectively. Investigate celebrity endorsement.

Should you need any help with any elements of event planning and management I am available on a consultancy basis and as a free-lance event manager. *Disclaimer I cannot always book sunshine 😊

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