12 Contingency Plans You Should Make When You’re Event Planning

May 30, 2022 Jessica Stewart

Enter content hereHaving your event at capacity is a significant achievement. Every event planning professional wants to see their space filled with eager attendees.

Yet, we can only rate events as a success after closing their books. Events don't always pan out as planned. 

It's essential to have backup plans when organizing an event. Here are 12 contingency plans that every event planner should consider.

1. Invest in a Hybrid Event Platform

Hybrid events are no longer a transitory solution but a crucial part of event planning. These events can allow you to reach more attendees and increase conversions.

The only thing you can be sure of is change. Both your plans and the attendee's plans may change and affect the outcome of any event. 

Having a hybrid event platform as a backup can help you ensure everything goes as planned. Some attendees may not be able to attend in-person events. A hybrid event allows you to accommodate them even at the last minute. 

Besides, as a host, you know how hard it can be to predict attendances. The last-minute rush to increase event spaces can be crazy. A hybrid event allows you to capture those audiences you may struggle to accommodate at the last minute. 

Hybrid brings flexibility into the event's strategy and allows you to adapt in the shortest time. A hybrid event can allow you to switch between virtual and in-person if anything unexpected occurs. 

2. Negotiate for Flexible Booking and Ticketing

Registration and ticketing aspects can make or break your events. There's the potential of overselling or underselling that you may never foresee.

A flexible booking and ticketing system is essential for every planner. Flexibility in ticketing can give you much more control of unpredicted booking outcomes.

In the event of changes, you can have your system reflect any updates in your booking process. For instance, your system should allow an attendee to switch from a virtual to an in-person ticket. 

Consider a system that allows you to limit tickets based on your event spaces. This will enable you to control bookings without worrying about overselling. 

Your ticketing system should allow as much flexibility to allow you to focus on the event. You want to avoid the headache of micro-managing bookings. 

3. Backup Events With On-demand Staffing 

Staff shortages are a common challenge for many event managers. As an event host, you may underestimate your needs or sometimes staff may not come to work.

So having a backup of on-demand staff is essential for your event. You'll often avoid getting desperate when one of them doesn't show up. 

Backup staff can come in handy when actual bookings surpass your targets. You'll be able to reduce the distractions that often happen due to overbooking. 

Determining the best staff levels involves finding a balance between staffing and potential attendees. You don't want to have more staff and fewer attendees than expected. 

Talk to all stakeholders to know what kind of help they'll need during the event. Then create a checklist showing desired roles and their exact responsibilities. Next, you should find an event staffing agency that can help you find the right on-demand staff. 

Try to estimate the number of staff you'll need during your event and keep the rest on call. A reasonable estimate considers the potential of low and high attendance. 

Calculate the number of people you would need if only 25% of attendees show up. Repeat the calculation, but consider a potential attendance of 75% this time. The median of your answer is the approximate number of people to hold on-site. 

4. Have a Backup for Speakers

Keynote speakers may get sick or have emergencies. Having backup speakers or tech to allow them to tune in virtually can save you huge setbacks. Some speakers may also have an alternative recommendation in case they cancel. 

Also, consider a contractual clause where they have to give you a reasonable cancellation notice. You may also require them to agree to refund deposits.

If you're hosting the event during a peak season, you may not be able to find an alternative speaker in time— plan for some contingency activities in the wings. If your backup plan fails, you'll still have to keep your attendees engaged. 

Attend the next event planner's expos to build a network of event professionals. The best event planners in NY proactively pursue other professionals to grow their businesses. 

5. Backup Event Spaces in Case of Weather Changes

Extreme weather changes can ruin your event's space plan. If it rains, you need to have enough indoor spaces to accommodate all attendees. 

Backup event spaces will always be a good idea when planning your next event. It can be a way to disaster-proof your event or extra caution to contain an unexpected turnout. 

Find a venue big enough to afford you extra space. If you need more space, you would only want to move to a nearby location. 

Buy insurance, especially if the weather is very unpredictable. If you're canceling a sold-out event, attendees may expect refunds. 

6. Plan for Emergency Security Issues

Planning for effective emergency response is an integral part of proper event planning. Events can attract crowds which can quickly become targets for would-be criminals.

Crowded event spaces can quickly get out of control. Sometimes, crowding can lead to accidents.

Underestimating security needs can be a big event planning mistake. Consider a risk and safety audit to determine the kind of an emergency plan you'll need for your event. 

Develop contingency plans that will help to deal with potential emergencies. Take into account any sudden variations that may disrupt your events. These can include severe weather, staff drop-outs, or abrupt cancellation of entertainment.

Consider creating a second plan focused on severe emergencies. Some emergencies may require the help of local emergency teams. 

Another important thing is to share your plan with your team. Make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of emergencies. If you're hosting a high-risk event, you must discuss your plan with local security and emergency agencies. 

7. Set Aside an Emergency Fund 

Planning a successful event is expensive. You have to track every dollar you spend to control costs and improve your return on investment. 

An event budget can help you avoid any unnecessary costs. Ensuring that every expenditure adds some value to your attendees is crucial. 

And with a lot of unexpected things during event planning, it helps to set aside an emergency fund. If unexpected expenses occur, have some financial backup to save your event. 

Above that, try to keep your event expenditure modest. Try to learn from your mistakes to create a realistic event budget.

If you're a new event planner, seek help from experienced event professionals. Attend more event planner expos to improve your planning skills. 

Effective budgeting is often one of the most challenging parts of event planning. If you're not definite, you may accept requests that can affect your budget. Learn how to create and stick to event budgets to become a better event planner. 

8. Plan for Tech Fails

Whether your event is virtual, in-person, or hybrid, technology misfires are possible. Tech fails can occur anytime─ sometimes even in the middle of a presentation.

Many tech issues are easy to avoid with simple preliminary tests and equipment checks. Have seasoned technicians on-site to handle potential mishaps. 

Also, take advantage of training sessions, especially for new technology. Your tech support team needs to know everything about your event technology. This may also help you optimize the technology and get more out of it. 

9. Allow for Planning Fallacy in Your Event's Timeline

Event professionals don't always have the luxury of time. You're likely to strain during the day trying to complete many tasks within a short time.

More often, you'll run out of time. And if you don't rethink your schedule, you may get into trouble. Beyond that, take into account planning fallacies to avoid overwhelming yourself.

The planning fallacy is a bias involving underestimating the time or the risk associated with a particular task. It can cause you to make poor decisions or apportion less time to each activity. 
Add some buffer time or wiggle room between tasks to avoid under-budgeting time. And give your staff and suppliers stricter deadlines and shorter timeframes.

Give your team enough time to set up and break down before and after events. You don't want attendees to find your team in an incomplete setup. 

10. Improve Your Event Planning Skills

The truth about event management is you will not always know what to do. Every event requires a unique planning approach.

As an event manager, continuously improving your skills can save you many headaches. Upgrading your skills is what can help you manage each event better.

One of the essential learning tools is your event planning network. Connect with event planners NY who would love to help you. Build your network by attending event planner conferences. 

Use event planner expos to find two or three mentors to guide you. Mentors can be good at problem-solving, which can be handy for your business during tough times. 

Find a reliable learning resource such as a blog for event planning news, trends, and industry insights. Set notifications to avoid missing out on important event planners' conferences and updates. 

11. Have Backup Vendors

Your vendors, like everyone else, are likely to face challenges. The problem is that their failures can mess up your events. Make sure your correspondence with them about their availability is in written form. 

Vendors may let you down by failing to deliver in time or per your expectations. Have back vendors who can bail you out if you have any complications with your primary vendor.
Give all the vendors all the support they need and require them to give you a 48-hour notice if they have a problem. Pay deposits in time, reach out to them constantly and make sure they understand your event setup times. Remember to still take into account all actions that preserve professional relationships.

12. Take Into Account Event Cancellations

You may not want to anticipate total cancellations but it's a sad reality in the event planning sector. Part of event planning is ensuring you have a plan in case of calling off an event.
Proper handling of cancellations may pose your company as a credible brand. A poorly managed cancellation can ruin your reputation. 

A cancellation contingency plan can help you turn the tables in your favor. You can use the opportunity to delight your fans by showing exceptional help.

An integral part of a cancellation plan is keeping all stakeholders in the loop. Keep attendees up to date with the progress in planning your event. They should be the first people to know about cancellations.

Call or email attendees as soon as possible to ensure they're updated in time. Also, offer a refund based on the number of days canceled. If it's possible to postpone, ask attendees if they would like to transfer their slot. 

Looking to Improve Your Event Planner Skills?

A solid contingency plan is a must-have for each event. You run a risk if you're planning events without figuring out how to overcome uncertainties. Our guide here can help you future-proof your events against potential disruptions. 

Build your network and improve your skills to become a better event planner. Become an exhibitor and join hundreds of other event professionals at the 10th anniversary of the Event Planner Expo in New York City on Tuesday, Oct 11, 2022.

Previous Article
5 Benefits of Making Your Next Corporate Event Virtual
5 Benefits of Making Your Next Corporate Event Virtual

While in-person corporate events are preferred among New York event planners, today’s event planners should...

Next Article
Best Ways to Build Relationships with Event Vendors
Best Ways to Build Relationships with Event Vendors

We all know that networking is crucial, but how do you build a relationship with someone you’ve just met? H...