Last week’s snow closure was a great “what-if” scenario for event planners. If you had an event scheduled for that week, what would you have done? How would you have communicated your changes, and who gets to make the decision to alter your event? Don’t wait for these things to happen – create your mental checklist now to be prepared. This week, I’m sharing my tips that have saved me in the past.
Have a backup of your materials
The weather has gone to hell and you know you need to make changes. The problem is you don’t have your caterer’s phone number. Avoid this common scenario by making backup copies of your important event information that you and your co-workers can access in multiple ways. Make it a habit to:
· Store files on hard drives and cloud servers
· Program important phone numbers in your cell during the planning stages, not the day before the event
· Email yourself copies of files to access on any computer
· Print out your essential planning documents
Know your key decision makers
If you do need to cancel or change event plans, who are the people you absolutely need to check with? Determining these folks early can save you precious time later when you need a decision quickly.
You can help these decision makers by checking with your stakeholders (vendors, venue, and any guests of honor) before approaching them. Prior to asking your decision makers if they want to cancel, you should be able to tell them:
· Alternative venue dates and times
· Catering and floral cost losses, if any
· Weather report for the next three days
· What’s at stake when you hold or cancel the event
The last point can be subjective, but it’s your job as an event planner to help paint the picture when it comes to guest attendance and reception of the event.
All the planning in the world will not help you if you cannot be flexible. The best option is a combination of solutions, so be willing to think differently and go with the flow. Being flexible is what being an event planner is all about.