The event promotions industry has had its fair share of catastrophes (especially in 2020/21!) Even if you have spent months, days, plus more hours planning it, there will always be something out of the ordinary. Calamities, political conflicts, health scares, or any situations that you never even imagined happening – not in a hundred years, that would affect the whole world just like what the Covid-19 pandemic has done that affected small, medium, and large businesses all over the world. In unprecedented situations, all event planning managers are expected to have a backup plan and must be creative enough to think and act quickly in response to any unexpected situations. We may have experienced one or two disruptions in a year that are addressed by our risk management plan, but when it comes to an event that has affected everyone, the risks of failing are even higher.
What is Event Risk Management?
Event risk management is the process of ensuring an event runs smoothly with minimal disruptions towards your attendees, vendors, sponsors, and the public in general. In any event, not only proper planning is expected, but risk management must also be in place. By having a strong risk management plan, you will be able to keep your head above water when unexpected things happen.
The Importance of Event Risk Management
The majority of catastrophes can be prevented only if event managers plan ahead and are proactive. According to Doug Punt, president of marketing, Experiential Insight, event planners have numerous options for planning event risk management. The most important thing is having the knowledge of what is going around you. Knowing what your competition is doing in terms of what they do during expected or unexpected situations can help shape your plan of response. Evaluate the chance of a catastrophe happening again and plan accordingly. Never expect your plan to “break” every time a change occurs.
Addressing Event Risk Management
First, let us review what a plan can and cannot do, and then consider how event planners can prepare for potential disasters. Remember that this plan could not predict every possible risk that could strike an event. Not even close. It is just a prevention-based plan designed to mitigate the worst possible scenarios and prepare for any possible challenges. This is just temporary and should not be considered as your permanent disaster recovery plan.
1. Understand the problem
To have a grasp of the situation, the first thing you should do is to identify the events and the attendees that are directly hit by the situation and to make sure you create well-informed decisions. After identifying which events are affected, assign the level of urgency on each step you must take.
- Know what is going on internally and externally. There are certain government rules you should follow as well as company guidelines, make sure to take note of all these and observe the situation every now and then.
- Gather the planning team that would help with the decision makings.
- Review your planned events and identify which are affected.
- Create a risk assessment. Keep your team involved towards the goal of delivering the best event.
2. Review refund terms and monetary implications
Events can be costly and as soon as disaster hits it, there are financial implications. The best thing you should do is to review your company’s cancellation policies. Would you cancel or reschedule?
- Cancellation of event
The worst you could do is to completely cancel because it leaves you no choice but to go with it especially if the benefit of doing cancellation is greater than the cost of creating an alternative plan.
- Rescheduling the event
The best thing that could happen is to move an event to a different schedule which gives you ample time to review and make changes to your plans. In the event where the crisis changes or is long-lasting, you may have to check your decisions if you were not able to move the event further into the future. Postponing an event may limit your resources but remember, if the risk is too high, you may have to consider other options.
3. Plan ahead
In preparing for unexpected situations, creating a risk management plan is a must. Event planners should be able to adapt, grow as well as step up and make the necessary decisions that could impact the business even if the decision leads to cancellations. This pandemic has forced us to evolve and adapt to unexpected changes which made us better decision-makers and has enabled us to step up our game and, in the future, when we look back, offer a much better response in handling such unexpected events.
Frequently asked question: What happens if I book staff for an event, and it gets cancelled due to Covid?
We are often asked by our clients this question and we would like you to know that if a booked job gets cancelled or postponed, we will hold the funds in credit so you can put towards the event when it is postponed or if it is cancelled they can be used towards future staffing needs. So essentially you won’t lose your money it will just sit as a credit with us. This encourages our clients to book with us even though the future with Covid is uncertain.