Planning an event presents several challenges. Finding the right vendors, booking music talent, and arranging transportation for guests are just a few of the many tasks that an event planner must undergo, prior to marketing an event. While this may seem like common sense to an experienced planner, sometimes planners completely drop the ball and provide us with prime examples of how things can go wrong when planning is not done properly. Just a few weeks ago, the Fyre Festival disaster made this incredibly apparent.
According to Rolling Stone, prior to this music showcase in the Bahamas, festival-goers paid $250,000 for tickets that were meant to include villa packages and gourmet meals. But instead, due to premature marketing and very little research or planning, festival attendees received tents, shark-infested waters, and cheese sandwiches in Styrofoam containers. Needless to say, attendees were upset with the conditions and in response to these and several other disasters, the event concluded with angry attendees, employees, investors—and a $100 million class-action lawsuit.
The unfortunate part of the Fyre Festival disaster is that while it did fail, the idea behind the event was unique. In fact, with some planning and the proper strategies put into action beforehand, this festival could have been the first in a series of successful events, leading to increased ticket sales in following years.
Even business events can have the same challenges as a music festival. If you are planning an event, here are some steps to take to prevent it from becoming a Fyre Festival style disaster:
- Account for overage, and build it into your planning.
While it is certainly desirable to have a popular business event with high attendance, sometimes capping the number of guests is more important than overbooking and failing to make ends meet. Either way, accounting for overage on the final headcount is always important, especially to ensure that resources aren’t exhausted prior to the event’s final day.
- Confirm the vendors, and meet with them prior to the event taking place.
Promising gourmet food but providing carnival snacks is one of the main areas where the Fyre Festival went wrong, among several other disastrous mishaps. According to Telegraph, some festival goers even Tweeted about the poor quality of the food during the festival and how it did not match the gourmet food that was promised. The same article includes complaints from several Fyre Festival attendees who posted that they were locked indoors for hours with barely any food or water. While this may be a worst-case scenario, it is a clear example of what can go wrong with little or no planning. Speaking with your vendors prior to the event and ensuring that details are locked down is imperative.
- Ensure that the marketing materials reflect what is actually being delivered.
This should go without saying, but ensuring that your marketing materials or social media posts reflect what is actually being provided during an event is crucial to your event’s success. Making empty promises without having the resources to follow through on them was the main reason the Fyre Festival failed and should serve as a lesson to event planners everywhere. Taking the time to book vendors, talent, transportation, etc., ahead of schedule—and prior to marketing materials being released—is crucial to ensuring a successful event.
- Anticipate and have a plan B
While this option may not always seem feasible, it’s really a necessity. Event management must identify any potential issues that may arise during the event and plan for that what if scenario.. Especially for an event such as Fyre Festival, planning ahead and having a backup plan will ensure that all promises will be fulfilled.