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Preparing for Success: 7 Event Planning Pitfalls to Avoid

A stressed event planner biting a pencil and looking at her computer

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When it comes to event planning, a failure to plan is a plan to fail. However, you can circumvent having an epic event fail if you know what pitfalls to be aware of. Having a solid plan is a large part of successful events, whether it is a networking event or conference. Though event production companies are aware that the unexpected can occur, thorough planning and preparation can still put you ahead.

Here, we will discuss seven pitfalls or traps to avoid so that you can be as prepared as possible.

A calculator and pen on top of a budget

1. Wasting or Not Properly Allocating Resources

Success in the planning phase of an event largely centers around a comprehensive budget. This is due to the fact that having a thorough and planned budget will help event planners allocate funds properly and eliminate any unnecessary or wasteful spending. In essence, it gives crucial insight into what is feasible and what is not.

When each resource has been carefully allocated, an event planner may refer back to the budget for easy reference. For example, they may make sure that everything is covered, from proper event staffing and signage to any technology expenditures or on-site expenses.

2. Not Using Key Performance Indicators

Another pitfall to avoid is not using KPIs (key performance indicators). For example, whether you are in the planning phase, execution phase, or post-event evaluation phase, event planners need KPIs to help them determine the success of an event. This is true whether the event is small or large, simple or complex.

The purpose of KPIs is to inform marketing and event performance, and they include the following:

  • Number of registrations

  • Number of sales by marketing source

  • Rate of website conversions

  • Any sponsor partnerships

  • Event check-in process

  • Engagement level of the attendees or audience

  • Total cost for each acquisition gained

  • Overall response indicated on attendee satisfaction surveys

  • Gross revenue acquired from the event

Since there are many different types of events, a combination of these KPIs may be used. This is dependent on the type of event it is, as well as what the event’s goals were. The feedback provided from these key metrics can then be used to improve the next event and set even higher milestones.

3. Failing to Provide Strategic Value to the Attendees

With a plethora of events to choose from, attendees are often selective of what they choose to go to. In order to promote event engagement and increase its attendance, corporate event service providers must find and leverage the unique selling point, or USP, of an event. Luckily, there are key strategies for this, such as providing strategic value via the use of innovative technology.

For example, event planners may wish to tailor a mobile app that attendees can take advantage of. More specifically, the app may be conducive to providing each attendee with networking opportunities, an interactive program schedule, and access to a discussion forum. This interactive experience helps attendees feel more involved. It creates a sense of community and further engages them.

A keynote speaker sitting on a stage giving a seminar

4. Poorly Managing Vendors

Though there are many types of events, each will require vendors. In turn, vendor management requires multiple elements, such as sourcing, securing, and coordinating the right individuals who can offer the best products and services for the event. High quality is an important aspect to remember when choosing vendors, and it is best to pick those who are also highly recommended.

Since there will likely be multiple vendors, poorly managing them can be a pitfall. To avoid this, staying organized and receiving written confirmation of important details is crucial. This includes the specific date, time, personnel, and collateral involved. To help mitigate any unforeseen occurrences, touch base with your vendors a few days prior to the event to confirm everything.

Rainy day at an outdoor concert

5. Not Having a Contingency Plan in Place

Even the best event planners know there is always the possibility that something will not go as planned. Not having a contingency plan in place can contribute to an epic event failure. Thus, an event planner should always perform an event risk assessment. The contingency plan will be formed around the results from this assessment and further equip the event management team to address any situations that may arise.

6. Not Delegating Responsibilities

Event planning is a team effort and requires the delegation of responsibilities. Refusal or failure to delegate can cripple the event planning process and effectively lead to an epic event disaster. Event planners can, and should, delegate tasks to team members, such as communication with vendors, customer service, and post-event responsibilities.

Clients and event planner discussing an event

7. Failure to Follow-Up After the Event

A lot of time and energy goes into the planning phase of an event but following up afterward is equally important. After all, post-event evaluations not only inform you of the event’s success but also help you know how to improve the next event. Being proactive and seeking feedback after the event will help you prepare for the next one. You can also take the time to thank attendees and tell them about other upcoming events to generate interest and receive fresh leads.

In addition to interacting with attendees, it is also important to communicate with vendors after the event. Thanking them for their work and effort will help you connect with them, solidify your relationship, and pave the way for future networking opportunities.

Key Takeaway

Meticulous planning is a primary key to avoiding these seven pitfalls of event planning. Though mistakes may occur, careful planning can help sidestep many of them and prevent epic event failures. If you are looking for a professional audiovisual provider to help you in the event planning process, Channel Audio will help you take your events to the next level! Simply give us a call at 615-669-2126 or send an email to for more details!


Sound board/mixer at front of house at a live concert


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