Have you ever taken over someone else’s event and had a hard time executing it? Taking over someone else’s event can be nerve-racking. There are complications that can arise from not having all the information, to lacking experience in event execution. Professional Travel Event Directors have a wealth in experience of picking up details only a few days prior to event, and managing it well. However, not many event professionals have this type of advantage. Learning how to succeed in managing someone else’s event is a necessity in this business. Here are 10 things you need to know if you find yourself in this situation.
#1 Understand the reason why
The first step in executing someone else’s event properly, is understanding the reason why you have been asked to be in this role. Perhaps one of your colleagues fell ill, or is no longer at your organization. You might even find yourself in a situation where your colleague cannot go onsite to the event, or even their business was closed and no longer can manage existing events. In other cases, and event merely can be taken aware or re-assigned due to situations that aren’t necessarily good. Whatever the reason, accepting the responsibility should come with full awareness of to the circumstances that the other planner isn’t able to manage the event. This will help you understand your positioning moving forward.
#2 Learn more about the event
Now that you know why you have been entrusted with this event, the next step is finding out everything that you can about it. Your goal? Basically your goal is to know the event so much that you can live and breathe it. There are many ways to get the information you need. Take the reins immediately by holding transition calls with the planner or team so that you can get current on the event and where it stands today. Review current files and past history of the event that you have access to.
#3 Ask questions and gain clarity
When you take in new information, you should be able to comprehend it. If you do not understand what you are learning, then it is appropriate that you ask specific questions for clarification. Remember, reading the information is one thing, but ensuring clarity is a totally different. It is important when looking at any information and documentation, that you understand it in your own way. So don’t be shy, ask questions! Don’t get in over your head, if you do – tell a leader to get help. Gaining clarity eliminates confusion, and ensures a clear understanding as you move through the planning process.
#4 Know your contacts
Having a good understanding of the contacts associated with the event has its benefits. One benefit is knowing who to contact for any specific situation. Another benefit is ensuring accountability of specific planned items. Not only should know contact names and phone numbers of those you are working with, you might want to ensure you have emails as emergency numbers. It is always best you are prepared for any situation.
#5 Introduce yourself properly
After you become more familiar with your contact list, it is beneficial for you to call and introduce yourself. This can be simply setting up a time for introduction and a brief review on what has already been planned. If you are working with local suppliers, setup time to meetup face-to-face. Face-to-face meetings have the advantage of you seeing and understanding body language and it helps create a bond. Especially because this was another planner’s event, you want to make sure that you obtain a connection with the extended team. Making these types of connections can optimize working relationships.
#6 Visit the venue
Many times you need to create the opportunity to visit the venue that the event is going to be taking place. Some times this isn’t always possible, depending on the budget. However, if you can make a trip to see the venue prior to you being onsite for the event, do it. If you aren’t able to make that trip happen, try to arrive earlier than normal to get your lay of the land before your team arrives. This helps you to have good grasp on the event space, and be more knowledgeable to lead your team.
When you are visiting the venue, there are several areas you want to pay attention to. Meet your contact personally. Be aware of their mannerisms and if they are attentive to your group and are knowledgeable about their venue. This is important so that you gain an understanding of how you need to manage the event. Additionally, ensure you are familiar with the space as mentioned. Explore in and around the venue so that you are familiar with outlets such as gift shops, spas, and also the nearest restaurants.
#7 Proceed cautiously
When it is time to start the rest of the planning or go onsite for the event, proceed with caution. Because this event has now turned over to you, there might be some unexpected situations or tasks that may pop up. Anticipate the unexpected. Take the necessary steps that you need to do to ensure that you have everything you could possibly think of, and then proceed with caution. If an unexpected situation were to occur, quickly evaluate the situation, take care of what is needed or delegate the task, and move along. (Related post – Don’t just stand there, do something!)
#8 Don’t forget about the budget
At times the budget can be forgotten until the final bill comes through. Make sure that you are always aware of the expectations of the budget. An event can easily pickup an additional 7-10% of expenses if not watched with a hawk eye. Ensure that you know what your budgetary bandwidth is, and who is the authority for additional spend. This will ensure that the event not only goes well, but is in line with the budget that has been set with the client.
#9 Establish onsite protocol
Everybody’s version of what happens onsite is different. It is imperative for you as the event manager vocalize your expectations to the team members that we have coming on site with you. If there is a certain expectation around what to wear, what to say, emergency protocol, schedules, you should be the person to communicate this to your team.
#10 Have a pre-event meeting with venue
There is a lot of value in meeting with the hotel staff prior to the event. This can come in the form of a pre-event meeting with the venue. Open up the audience to not only your assigned contact, but try to include other parties that will have a direct handle on your event. This can include the banquet manager, your DMC, hotel front desk staff, housekeeping, bell staff or anyone else you feel would be important. Make sure to include those areas in which the persons have a significant role in your program. It is important that you put your eyes to the face, and deliver any important items yourself prior to the event.
*BONUS* Follow up after the event
Get as much feedback as you can after the event. Since this is an event that you were not the original planner, understanding if the transition was a success is important to you. Make sure to give every one that you have worked with an opportunity to express how they felt things went. Additionally, ensure you give proper feedback that will help inspire better outcomes in the future.
Have you ever taken over someone’s event? Was it tough, or was it easy? Would love to hear your stories on how it turned out for you.