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How to Effectively Mitigate 6 Common Risks in Event Planning

As an event planner or Professional Conference Organiser (PCO), you know that the ability to pivot, make quick decisions and act promptly is a vital skillset. Effective risk management in event planning can not only help you control issues that arise but also even eliminate the likelihood of an action occurring or the potential consequences.

From meeting deadlines and logistical hurdles through to correct labelling and designing for engagement, we’re here to guide you through the process of mitigating some common risks, ensuring your event day unfolds with seamless success. Here’s 6 frequent risk factors to consider and how to reduce the probability of these occurring for your next event or exhibition.

1. Don’t miss your deadlines!

Having a comprehensive project management plan, complete with key milestone dates is a must for an event planner. However, any delays in meeting the agreed deadlines can cause a domino effect of setbacks from securing your preferred furniture and equipment through to late fees and even cancellations. Check with your venue and suppliers on key information and dates you need for your plan, then input them into your preferred tool to start mapping out your deadlines. There’s a number of platforms and plan templates out there to help track progress as well as collaboration tools where teams can stay synced up with tasks, resources and receive real-time notifications. Try out dedicated solutions such as and Asana or if you’re looking for something more collaborative try out Google Docs or even the old faithful Excel still holds its place in the planning process. Whatever your preferred method, just make sure everyone can access the information and it’s kept up to date throughout the event planning process.

2. Have a contingency plan for hire stock.

You’ve curated the perfect event theme and experience now all you need to do is fill it with décor, furniture and styling elements. But what happens when they’re no longer available? If you’re keeping to your project management plan, you should be getting in touch with your suppliers up to 9 months out from your event date. When making your product hire enquiry, be sure to check out what options you can put in your contingency plan or work with your supplier to understand stock quantities and policies for holding items. You’ll want to have a clear understanding of what options you have if a decision needs to be made quickly as well as anticipating any challenges when managing stakeholder or client expectations.


3. Book your logistics and freight early

Whether you’re hiring an exhibition stand or organising a tradeshow, there’s a lot of planning that goes into getting your brand on the show floor and back again. Event logistics can include everything from event merchandise and product samples through to furniture, signage and flooring. Firstly, you need to cross-check your event venue loading dock guidelines and freight forwarding regulations as this is often overlooked in the planning process. We recommend making an inventory of all the equipment and supplies needed for the event so as you have a clear picture of quantities, size, equipment and storage requirements. Be sure to share this information with your Creative Hire Project Manager too so as we can ensure forklifts, ladders, in-built storage or even block-off walling are mapped out on the floor plan to accommodate for your storage requirements.

Knowing what’s on at the venue or in the same geographical location at the time of your event can also reduce the probability of this type of risk. Major events can impact loading dock time availability, traffic delays and even re-routing of freight due to road closures. Check with your venue and local city guides for events around town such as Sydney What’s On, Melbourne What’s On or Destination Gold Coast to avoid these times if you event schedule allows.

4. Correctly label and package your merchandise

Don’t forget to prep your materials with adequate packaging to prevent damage during transport too. The safety and security of your freight is critical from in-transit and storage through to the event day requirements. Be sure to include clear labels to avoid confusion at the time of delivery and ensure that when you get to site everything is unpacked correctly, assembled to perfection and in working order. At Creative Hire, we work with specialised partners to ensure your materials and products arrive to your event or stand on time, allowing you to set up with confidence. From guidance on what the venues can accommodate through to loading docks and lift accessibility, we’ll make sure you don’t get caught out.

5. Double check your signage and graphics

It could be a simple error that ultimately makes a huge difference on the show floor. When you receive your artwork specifications, be sure to check them, re-check and check again! It’s an unfortunate oversight that can occasionally happen, and our team work closely with brands, planners and venues  to avoid these mishaps. Ultimately, if you’re on schedule with your project plan you should be well prepared to check all your artwork is set up correctly. At Creative Hire, to ensure we have developed a hire solution that meets your bespoke requirements, we offer a full test assemble service for all exhibition builds. This extension of service provides clients with the opportunity to see their stand fully assembled prior to it being installed and/or delivered to site.

6. The future of event sponsorships – innovative revenue streams

This risk considers everything from the arrival experience and registration through to visitor flow around the hall and inside the stand or activation. For planners and show organisers, having a comprehensive list of exhibitor stand options and sponsor levels of engagement is sure to be a success and minimise the risk of negative post event feedback. At Creative Hire, we work with PCOs, planners and in-house organisers to collate a suite of options that offers sponsors everything from shell scheme through to custom hire, complete with add-ons and upgrades too. Don’t be afraid to offer more options to your exhibitors as this will create an engaging experience for your delegates and increase exposure to a wide-range of products and services that’s sure to get your audience talking on social media.

For brands and exhibitors, talk to your supplier about optimising the space you have purchased whether it be a 3×3 shell scheme booth or a custom space. There’s a range of fun ideas to try and you don’t need a big budget to get started or risk other elements of your investment.  Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box too, our team can help you create a memorable experience that attendees will love.

Ready to tackle event planning hurdles like a pro? Check out our ultimate exhibition planners guide for more planning tips to help get you started and ensure you’re well equipped before some of these common risks arise.

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