What it takes to run a succesful event
Running an event is a big undertaking and the challenges rise exponentially with the number of visitors attending. Whether it's a corporate or entertainment event, indoors or outdoors, there are key areas you'll need to focus on to make it a success.
Getting the right venue is vital. The type of facilities you'll need will depend on the nature of the event and whether it's indoors or outdoors. You may need, for example, a venue with a technical set-up, such as Microsoft PowerPoint, a sound system, lighting and staging, all of which will need to be weather proof if it's an outdoor event such as a festival. Whatever the type of event you're planning, a floor/layout plan is vital and should be distributed to key people.
All events need staff to guide attendees, provide information, answer questions and maintain security. In many respects, you can't be over-staffed as extra staff can always act in a promotions role, give out information, programmes, maps etc. and generally promote your company in running the event. Too few staff will lead to chaos and stress and may lead, for example, to an incident or attendees leaving early and perhaps demanding a refund in frustration.
As well as paying members of the public/ticket holders/visitors, think of any special people/guests to invite for added value and enhancement of the event (e.g. for the opening ceremony or awards presentation). Contact them well in advance and make sure their diary is free!
Toilets are a minimum requirement, as are refreshments and you can either hire in toilets and caterers or use existing on-site facilities. A venue with good links to public transport and parking is vital, plus space for leaving bicycles, motorcycles and pushchairs. A cloakroom or secure storage facility (e.g. lockers) can be extremely beneficial. You'll need at least one first aid point, an information point and also a meeting point for anyone getting lost or separated from their party. Don't forget to arrange disability access and disabled facilities too.
Event organisers have a duty of care to the public so you'll need a risk assessment, identifying the key risks and putting control measures in place where necessary. If you're unsure how to do this, a health and safety professional will help and identify other specific health and safety regulations to comply with. You'll need a contingency plan (or check that the venue has one in place) for scenarios such as fire, flood and bomb threat. Check you have the correct insurance too with Insurance Brokers who specialise in event insurance and public liability cover. Finally, it's important to ensure that no one person is indispensable for running the event in case they're suddenly taken ill on or before the occasion.
You'll need to promote your event and choose the right mediums for this, such as press, internet, email, and social media. Timing will be key and you should have someone who's responsible for the admin side of your event. This can be a huge job and you shouldn't try to take everything on single-handed. You can't possibly be all things to all people in running things, or you're likely to go into meltdown!
There's a lot to do leading up to your event and planning well ahead, allowing plenty of time, is essential. Indeed, many of the biggest events plan up to 12 months ahead. This will give you time to get quotes in and choose the best options to suit your budget. The more carefully you plan, the more likely it'll be a great success you'll want repeat in the future.