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New Year resolutions for event managers

John Fisher shows how to save money and keep your cool

It’s the time of year when hope springs eternal and everyone vows to do things better, quicker and more interestingly than in previous years. So here are my New Year’s event resolutions for 2017.

• Always check the diary for local national holidays before proposing event dates…it saves embarrassment later on
• Never give delegates ground programme entry tickets for activities...they are bound to lose them and you will end up having to buy them again.
• Avoid organising welcome dinners on the first night for international events… a large national group will always arrive late
• Stop worrying about Brexit, Trump and the US dollar and concentrate on whether your conference chair has written their opening address
• Keep a track on bar costs…it’s the part of the budget that always goes up
• Don’t assume delegates will read the joining instructions...after all, they are only written for amusement purposes
• Remember the group air travel mantra; if there is going to be an air traffic control strike, it will always happen on the day your group is due to depart
• Visas are not an optional extra which you can sort out when you get to the destination
• Provide V paper stickers for vegetarians to attach to their foreheads…it’s the only way to get it right
• Check venue contracts right to the bitter end…air for delegates to breathe may not be included
• Make a written record that the HR Director cancelled the wine for the gala dinner in a bid to save money on the budget
• Set the departure time at least an hour earlier than necessary on the day the group flies home…you’ll be glad you did
• Always assume that the Smiths, Brauns and Patels will get mixed up and be prepared to switch their room allocations at some stage
• If the venue can do your event without checking their reservations diary, be afraid, be very afraid
• Delegate registration systems only work if you are prepared to think the event through in logistical detail beforehand
• Always provide a hosts sign off procedure for the ‘open bar’…you’d be surprised how many people drink champagne as standard
• At least 3% of all delegates will be too ill to travel anywhere the morning after the gala dinner…it’s a fact
• 90% of conference delegates value the ability to network with peers more than they value what the main speakers have to say
• Add another 15 minutes to the estimated time you think it will take to get delegates back in the plenary session after any kind of break
• Always start on time, even if some delegates are missing…you cannot afford to finish late and mess up travel connections for those trying to get home
• Production is a fixed cost, so having a shorter conference does not save the budget-holder expense
• The data projector is going to break down, so always have a spare one standing by, even if it costs more money
• Post event surveys always show that delegates would have preferred more content… but in fact they would really have preferred more food and drink
• The most popular type of conference speaker is the finance person…NOT!

And remember, everyone you meet is an events expert because 10 years ago they organised their sister’s wedding, so stay humble and always carry a spare credit card.

President Trump has given organisers an extra head...
Where ignorance is not bliss


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