Stop Doing These 3 Things When You Plan Events

Effective event design requires intentionality and innovation. Every event planner falls into a rut from time to time, feeling overwhelmed or uninspired even when they want to create incredible events. If you want to take your event planning to the next level, here are three things to do — or rather, three event planning mistakes to stop doing — to make sure your clients are happy and your attendees are walking into an experience they’ll love.

1. Stop planning “rinse and repeat” events.

Planning recurring events is fantastic for a few reasons. It’s great to build relationships with a specific client or organization over time. It can also seem easier to plan an event year after year, especially if it’s for the same audience or located in the same space. But this repetition can actually end up diminishing the quality of the event over time, which also decreases attendee satisfaction.

The solution? Say goodbye to the “rinse and repeat” mentality. After each event, take a look at your post-attendee survey data and comb through which aspects attendees love, which ones didn’t impress them, and (perhaps just as importantly) which things they didn’t mention at all. Use this data to consider how to improve your event for the following year, redesigning or reimagining elements to better serve your KPIs, goals, and objectives. The possibilities are endless, even if your budget remains the same. 

Shifting your mindset from, “It seems like everyone was satisfied,” to “How could I make next year even better?” requires more energy and creativity, but it also brings you more satisfaction as an event planner. There’s nothing better than blowing clients away with excellence – and changing things up is one of the best ways to do it. 

As humans, we are intrinsically wired to be delighted by surprise. Unexpected surprises actually tell our brains to pay more attention, which is great news when you’re trying to inspire brand recognition and loyalty through an event. Our brains are so easily trained to predict things. When you give your attendees exactly what they expect, you’re missing an opportunity to train, educate, impact, motivate, or celebrate them in a truly impactful way. Kick predictability to the curb, and in turn, you’ll find attendees with fully engaged brains and rave reviews. 

2. Stop signing contracts without understanding every clause.

Skimming your event venue contracts is the fastest way to go over budget without even realizing it. Contracts are often designed with clauses that are weighted in the hotel or venue’s advantage. This is normal, but remember — everything is negotiable. Read over every detail, paying special attention to minimums, cancellation policies, and tax and service charges. For a multi-day event in a hotel, your contract will include, at minimum: 

  • Which spaces are allocated to your event (and what times you can use them)
  • Check-in and check-out times
  • Your main venue contacts
  • Cancellation ramifications
  • Food and beverage minimums
  • Third party services policies 
  • Payment schedules

You can’t make a clear budget or assign your space if you don’t read each part of your contract carefully. Even more importantly, don’t let perceived ignorance stop you from getting clarification if you need it. Check your pride at the door and ask detailed questions about clauses like attrition and force majeure — these can be confusing to interpret, but they can have major ramifications if they’re invoked. Ask a peer to help you understand before signing, or attend a webinar or industry event to learn more about contract details.

3. Stop equating technology with innovation.

Technology is an incredible tool, but it’s important to remember that people are ones wired to innovate. Don’t plan your event around the latest and greatest technology. Instead, thoughtfully craft an event for people and find ways that technology can help you leverage the event to meet your main objectives. 

Technology can make our lives easier, but when it’s used thoughtlessly, it actually limits our ability to collaborate and connect. Isolation is the antithesis of your event’s goal, which is to bring people together.  Use your technology budget to inspire attendees to have meaningful conversations and interactions. 

At Redstory, we build events on the power of human connection. Everything we create is designed with two purposes in mind. First, we seek to highlight and maximize experiences. We do this so that people are activated to explore and focus on what matters most: each other. 

If you’re looking for a partner to build innovative events that are designed with intentionality and purpose, you’re in the right place. We’d love to create what matters with you. Reach out to us today – let’s build something impactful together.