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Critical Mistakes That Will Kill Your Event


Without even realizing it, many of us are committing crimes against organization and planning. When things get busy, it’s tempting to cut a few corners or let details slip through the cracks, but there are some vices we just shouldn’t indulge when it comes to event planning. 


Instead of giving into our most fundamental vices and character failures, avoid these 7 Deadly Sins when planning your next event.

1. Disorganization

There are hundreds of moving parts involved in organizing an event. The quickest way to let everything spiral into chaos is failing to plan or to keep track of progress. How do you stay on the rails?


It all starts with a clear timeline and checklist. Not sure where to start? Download our event planning checklist, then just customize the details for your event’s specific needs. 


You should also create a budget for your event, so you can manage the finances and prioritize how to spend your resources. 


Don’t forget to plan for the unexpected, too. Create contingency plans for unforeseen circumstances, so you can quickly adapt if a vendor falls through or when weather doesn't cooperate.

2. Inadequate Communication

Failing to keep all stakeholders, including your team, vendors, participants, and attendees, informed is a sure way to create frustration for everyone involved. If volunteers aren’t sure when to arrive or where to meet up, for example, it can cause confusion and delays. 


Another common pitfall is mis-communicating your event details, such as the time, location, or activities, to your attendees. Information can change, and that’s ok, but failing to tell your guests is a quick path to negative reviews. 


You can solve this problem by establishing clear communication channels up front. Create one channel for your direct support staff, one for vendors or other participants (such as entertainers or performers), and one for your attendees. Then, send regular updates that are relevant to each group. If your event details change, be sure to update the information anywhere you’ve published it. That might include your website, social media channels, or in email blasts. 


Finally, make sure to publish clear and accessible contact information for support.


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3. Ignoring Audience Needs and Preferences

Not understanding the interests and expectations of your target audience will lead to disappointment and negative experiences. Even worse, failing to understand your audience can cause you to provide irrelevant or unengaging content and activities at your event. You’ll lose out on future revenue if guests don’t enjoy themselves. 


Don’t try to guess what your audience wants; ask them! Engaging in conversations on social media and sending out email surveys can be a good start. If you’ve hosted a similar event in the past, follow up with the guests who attended and ask for their honest feedback. You’ll gain valuable insights to make the next one even better. 


If this is your first event, the possibilities are endless. Ask potential attendees what they’d like to see at your event, from the food to the entertainment and even the location. Attend other events in your area and engage people in conversations: what do they like about that event? What could be better?


Don’t forget about accessibility or inclusivity considerations, either!

4. Technical Failures

We’ve all been to an event where someone steps up to the microphone and absolutely no sound comes out. Insufficient testing of audio-visual equipment and technology is a quick way to turn the vibe from festive to flop. 


Lack of reliable internet connectivity or technical support can also lead to disasters for you and your guests. How are they supposed to share photos and videos on social media if they can’t get a proper signal?


Head this issue off at the pass by testing your equipment before your event begins, and be sure to leave enough time to manage any technical issues (don’t schedule your sound check five minutes before the doors open, for example). Make sure to stock backup batteries and chargers, and double check things like wifi and cell signal from different areas of your venue. Remember, the more people at your event, the more bandwidth they’ll use, so purchase more or faster internet than you think you’ll need. 

5. Choosing the Wrong Venue

A venue that’s too small for the number of guests will obviously create safety hazards. But a venue that’s too large can put a damper on your event, too. It will feel empty, and guests may feel awkward moving around the space. 


How can you avoid choosing an inappropriate venue? Start by considering the format and length of your event. A networking conference has very different needs than a music festival or a fundraising gala. Think about whether you’ll need multiple rooms or one big open space. And don’t forget about other aspects of your venue like restroom facilities or concessions.


It’s a terrible sin to overlook parking, but a lot of event organizers make this mistake. Learn how to determine exactly how much parking you need in our handy guide. 


Neglecting to secure necessary permits and comply with regulations is another quick way to kill your event. Avoid getting crushed by fines or having your event shut down by filing the paperwork well in advance. 

6. Poor Time Management

Scheduling conflicts and timing issues within your event agenda can significantly hinder the overall success and guest experience. Planning inadequate time for setup and breakdown, or running over or under the allotted time for activities, are both recipes for disaster. 


If there are multiple events or activities happening simultaneously, your guests will have to choose between overlapping sessions, leading to potential conflicts. Similarly, a relentless schedule without sufficient breaks can lead to attendee fatigue, reducing their receptiveness and engagement. 


Address these challenges in advance with careful planning and collaboration among participants. If possible, do a dress rehearsal or dry run so you can accurately calculate how long things will take, and experience your event from the guest’s perspective. 

7. Neglecting Marketing and Promotion

This is a sure way to leave your event DOA. You plan everything perfectly, create a fun event with activities relevant to your audience, and then…no one shows up. What happened?


Ineffective marketing strategies lead to low attendance. But marketing is too-often an afterthought for event organizers. They only post a few times on social media, and only on their own channels. They don’t engage or follow up with potential attendees. They don’t leverage digital marketing tools. 


Don’t be like those folks: including marketing and promotions in your event plan and budget right from the beginning. Make sure you think through special offers that might increase ticket sales, like BOGOs or student discounts. 


If you’re using Passage, you can take some of the legwork off your plate by using our Promote Your Event feature


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Final Thoughts

Avoiding these critical mistakes will create happier guests, a less-stressed out team, and ultimately a more successful event. When you’re ready to set up tickets for your event, Passage can help you avoid common pitfalls while increasing revenue opportunities. Start setting up your event today, or schedule a call with our team - we’ll set everything up for you!


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