The conference and event planning industry has witnessed dramatic changes in the last three years, and it's easy to see why.
There is a lack of available workforce, a shortage of adequate equipment due to supply chain issues, and an increase in inflation and the cost of items. This means companies have less bandwidth and fewer resources available when planning events with short notice.
The biggest impact of these limitations is simply the lack of time for organizers. Events can continue to run efficiently and smoothly with these constraints; however, conference teams need to be prepared to ensure they have the required resources when they’re needed and within the budget.
But what happens if you're experiencing these issues? If you’re planning a conference coming up in the next few months, check out these six tips to help make the best use of the coming weeks.
A New Era with an Age-Old Problem
The issue of putting off planning until the eleventh hour is not a new one. It’s a problem that existed three years ago and decades before that. The difference lies in the challenges of today.
Because of the relatively new limitations that are a part of the process now, it’s far more challenging to meet urgent deadlines than in the past.
For instance, the labor crisis has severely struck the audiovisual (AV) industry. Following the cessation of live events in 2020, many workers left the industry for new jobs. Avixa estimates that 38 percent of the industry hasn't fully recovered. In addition to the shrinking workforce, we're seeing double the number of live performances in 2023 than in 2019.
As live performances increase, people, businesses, and even equipment are in short supply. Resources are strained, which means lowered availability and increased costs as you approach the event.
Planning a Business Conference on a Limited Timeline: Tips and Advice
To put together the most successful event possible with the time you have, it’s crucial to provide your AV company with enough information to perform their job properly and efficiently.
Even if they can handle it, a reputable audiovisual firm will not want to produce your event again in the future if it comes at the cost of the company’s health, the satisfaction of their other clients, or the retention of the few staff members they have been fighting to keep.
When planning a business conference within a tight timeframe, these six tips will help make the most of the limited time:
Discuss Budget and Design - Get in touch with an AV provider to talk about the design ideas and project budget. The earlier this conversation begins, the greater the probability they will be able to provide inventive options that align with your price range and suit your requirements.
Send Over Your Production Packet Before Completion - Give a copy of your production packet to your AV provider when you reach the halfway point in the planning process. Even partial information is of tremendous use to your AV team. If you insist on specific equipment brands, however, you may have limited options, which could significantly increase the cost.
Arrange Travel Itineraries and Call Times - Considering your team's call times and transit needs in advance will help you organize the proper accommodations for them. Make sure that you schedule transportation or flights with enough buffer time to get to the destination and settle in without any hassle and consider the possibility of delays on airlines. Determine the best way to arrange transportation so that everyone can get enough rest before the big event.
Take Care of Your Crew - Make an effort to take care of the crew so they can perform at their best during the event and will want to work with you again. Schedule adequate time for them to eat and consider offering meals during the shift. Think about having the team’s accommodations at or near the event venue. In a strained labor market, crews have a choice in the work they take. Some may not work a specific recurrent event because of excess hours or the lack of meals.
Connect Your Event Leads as Soon as Possible - As soon as you sign the contract, put your audiovisual collaboration partner in touch with all the event leads (venue, client, production, talent, etc.). It’s important to ensure the right people are communicating with each other as early as possible to avoid issues that arise from a lack of transparency.
Recognize That Last-Minute Planning Requires Compromises - If you have a significant amount of lead time, there is a good chance you will receive whatever you want in the exact manner you want it. If you're working with a tight timeline, you should be aware that you might not have your first choice of personnel or equipment. It will be more complicated and likely more expensive, to be particular.
Plan Your Corporate Conference In Advance
When preparing to host a business meeting, last-minute planning for you is even more last minute for your supplier. Therefore, rather than waiting to book an AV partner once plans are finalized, book them at the beginning of the process. A significant amount of notice helps create a strong working relationship that can be carried forward in future events and save you from shelling out extra money for short notice reservations.