Challenges that Event Planners face in Project Management​​

The amount of work that goes behind a successful event is quite considerable, especially for the event planner in charge.

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Not only they need to stay on track with deadlines, but also with the budget, resources, and team members. Imagine having to do that for every upcoming concert, sporting event, industry conference or festival that is assigned in their work agenda. 

Sounds like a hard and overwhelming job for one person, right? Well, the truth is that an event planner also relies on teamwork, good communication, a budget and a whole lot of project management to make it happen.

If you think about it, all events can be seen as big (or small) projects. Projects have a starting date, an ending date and they need coordination between multiple people to achieve success… Sounds just like an event!

Certainly, event planners have managed projects all along, that’s why they’re able to simplify processes such as organizing tasks and people. But, just like project managers, they can face issues in the planning and management of events. Here’s a list of the most common challenges event planners struggle:

Challenge #1:Overspending

At some point, every event planner has faced this challenge while working at an event. It commonly happens when the “plan and spend as you go” method is used, which often leads to overspending or finding out that there isn’t enough money to finish the project. Once you get to this point, it’s too late to fix it and there’s no turning back. 

Since event expenses can add up fast, it’s critical to establish a budget and decide where and how you’ll spend the funds as soon as you start planning the project. You can do that by researching the event supplies and documenting estimated costs to have a final budget. Don’t forget to consider extra funds for any hiccups that you could encounter along the way. 

TIP: A great way to stay on track with the budget is registering all of the event expenses in an online event management tool. Not only you can keep all of the expenses aligned, but also you can simplify the processes of sourcing and handling suppliers. This will help you make accurate projections of what the actual costs look like. 

Challenge #2: Unrealistic deadlines and lack of milestones

Before starting a new project, you have to set deadlines that the team needs to hit along the way. If these deadlines and milestones aren’t properly identified, it’s very likely that they will be missed, causing serious issues. For instance, missing a deadline can make you lose the venue because the reservation payment was not made in time. 

This can make or break an event, so you can’t risk having unrealistic deadlines or milestones that you won’t be able to reach. You can tackle this is by having soft deadlines and hard deadlines. The hard deadlines bring more pressure to the table since they would heavily affect the event if not achieved. On the other hand, the soft deadlines create a gentle landing for a task, since it doesn’t have big repercussions if it’s not completed in time. 

TIP: With a task and project management solution, you can plan your project and be on top of your schedule. In Azavista, you can use a single dashboard to manage your team’s time and follow colleagues’ activities, ensuring there aren’t more delayed tasks! The tool also allows you to forecast realistic deadlines using historical data from previous events.

Challenge #3: Poor communication

An event planner usually needs to work with so many individuals during the planning and execution of an event (speakers, sponsors, vendors) that it’s easy for someone to forget a detail that was previously discussed, which creates confusion and unnecessary follow-up emails. If there isn’t a fluent communication between the team, it is likely that important details will be forgotten, causing the event to fail. 

Now you know why keeping open communication between all parties involved is fundamental for any event planner! In fact,  most project management tools come with their own built-in communication system for you to automate follow-up messages and reminders every time a deadline approaches. 

TIP: In order to streamline the entire planning process and communication, the project management solution tool that event planners use should allow them to quickly send requests for approval and follow up on the status of those requests, from the same interface. 

Challenge #4: Not being prepared for the risks

Just like project management, things can change last minute during the event execution, and everyone must adapt. From last-minute cancellations to sponsor withdrawals or financial troubles, all of them are risks inherent in any type of event. 

Related read: 9 Threats To Your Event (And How to Overcome Them)

The best course of action to deal with these issues is to create a contingency plan ahead of time, in order to predict limitations and potential risks. First, you need to identify these risks so you can later figure out how likely is to occur and how severe it could be. Then you’ll be able to prioritize them and prepare/implement strategies to manage these risks. 

TIP: It’s good to have one tool for a specific purpose, like tracking your events, setting up payments & ticketing, creating an event app, among others. However, this is time-consuming because you’re switching between tools to get everything done. With one or two integrated solutions, you can optimize your processes and save time, especially if you need to make any type of change. 

Are you an event planner and have experienced these challenges before? Share them in the comments below!

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