The Top 10 Event Planning Challenges and How to Overcome Them

September 12, 2019

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As an event planner, you’re a natural problem solver. But when you’re knee-deep in the planning process, problem on top of problem is just plain unpleasant. To help you be as prepared as possible, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten event challenges planners face today, along with tips on how to overcome them.

1. Running out of Budget

As an event planner, you daydream about a smooth-running, engaging and memorable experience for your attendees, colleagues and clients. Unfortunately, most of the time, we’re working under major budget constraints that can make it difficult to turn dreams into reality.

Solution: Map out your budget line by line, and include a cushion! Inevitably, some costs will change and there will be unexpected add-ons. For peace of mind, a cushion is critical. And when you’re planning, get crafty and creative when it comes to resourcing and re-purposing. Remember, everything is negotiable. For more about how to make the most out of your budget, read more tips here.

2. Growing your attendee marketing

Hopefully you can already expect loyal and eager attendees from events past. However, reaching new attendees can be difficult.

Solution: Make the most out of your social marketing. It plays a big part in getting the word out and connecting to your potential guests. Check out our 7 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Next Event. Of course, email is as effective as ever, so take the time to sharpen your email marketing.

3. Keeping up with all the latest tech

In the event world, it’s important to stay up-to-speed on event tech. Your clients and your attendees expect current, efficient and engaging apps and other technology to be used pre-event, during and post-event. This takes an investment of time, effort and money on the part of the planner.

Solution: Create a realistic budget line for your technology updates. Research your options, especially for your registration and event app. Be sure to work with a vendor who will walk you through the process and educate you on how to use the technology.

4. Creating an engaging experience

Attendee engagement is one of the most important goals of every event. With varying interests, fatigue and distractions working against you, how do you create an engaging and memorable event?

Solution: Create an engagement strategy for pre-event, the event itself and post-event. We’ve already got you covered on some of the specifics. Check out our three part series, beginning with how to boost engagement before your event, here.

5. Running out of time

With so many moving pieces and the event date quickly approaching, it’s easy to start spinning your wheels, waste time and sometimes feel hopeless.

Solution: Create a timeline months in advance, and make sure that every item assigns a responsible party and has a deadline. Go over the timeline with your team as well as your client/partner’s team. Again, build-in a bit of cushion time and create check-in dates throughout to make sure that everything is on track or so that adjustments can be made.

6. Choosing the right vendors

Vendors are a necessary factor to almost every event. Everything from food and beverage to social activities to the latest tech features are usually outsourced. How do you find the most reliable and fitting vendors for your event?

Solution: Conduct your own research and also ask your trusted network of colleagues and business partners for referrals. As you start scouting, initiate an open and sincere dialogue. Be upfront about your needs and your budget to determine if there is a good match. If you need a little guidance on choosing a tech vendor, read our Guide to Working with Event Tech Providers.

7. Buy-in from execs/management/clients

We all know how great it feels to get the green light from upper management. On the other hand, we all know how it feels to be waiting to get the green light from upper management or worse, to have our ideas rejected or dismissed.

Solution: Put yourself in their shoes. Remember that most often, the execs biggest concern is budget and ROI. If you come prepared with a budget breakdown and projected value in your back pocket you’ll be one step closer to making your vision a reality. Don’t forget to pull up helpful stats on previous events.

8. Tracking process/progress

Checking off your tasks feels fantastic. However, with multiple team members working on your event, keeping track of everything can get a little messy.

Solution: This is where your timeline will come in handy. Make sure that all parties have the timeline and that it’s updated accordingly. Your clients, vendors and upper management should respect an established “chain of command.” For example, make your Account Manager the single point of contact for all vendors. Don’t forget to make helpful notes for next year’s event.

9. Legal regulations and restrictions

For better or for worse, there are local, state and national laws that may prevent your best idea from taking shape.

Solution: Do your homework and make sure you know the local, state and national laws and regulations. Be sure to set expectations with your client, especially if they’re out of state or international and may have a different set of allowances in mind.

10. Making everything environmentally friendly

We’ve said it before: sustainable event planning is a win-win-win. It’s great for our Earth, it boosts your brand and it can even help you cut costs. If going green is new to you, it may feel a little daunting.

Solution: There is a lot of opportunity to make your event more sustainable. Everything from ditching your printed materials to eco-friendly giveaways can help. Read more of our suggested tips on making your event sustainable, here.

How Can Stova Help?

Whether your event is for your own organization or on behalf of a client; whether you’re a novice or seasoned planner, we all face similar challenges. Use these tips for less stress and more success. For more tips and insights for planners, subscribe to the Stova Blog and get regular updates!

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