Planning an event may sound easy, but believe us, it is far from it. There are so many different things to consider and a bunch more that you didn`t even know could be an issue! After managing multiple different events over the past few years, we have listed 10 of the most crucial things we found absolutely necessary to plan a successful event.
An event is not like shooting a film or a television series, you can’t yell “cut” and reset the scene. An event is unpredictable and we should never forget to account for Murphy’s Law. One of the first things you need to do is be crystal clear on how much you would like to set aside for the event. Before you begin planning, you should decide on what do you need the event to achieve. Is it raising awareness about a product/cause/service? Is it to make a profit from ticket sales? Or is it simply to have a really good time and make sure the attendees enjoy themselves? Once you have a set of objectives set in mind you would have a very clear listing of priorities for what you want to happen during your event. Do remember to include things like audio-visual equipment, transportation, insurance (for bigger events), F&B and licensing. These are just some of the few things people miss out when planning a budget for their events. Therefore, when getting the quotations from different suppliers you must remember, communication is key. Tell the suppliers exactly what you want and whether there are any conditions that you need to fulfil in order to secure all your requirements. Event managers won’t be able to guess what your budget is nor be able to read your mind. (Although sometimes we can) Make a detailed list of things you think you will need for your event and a budget you think you will be comfortable with. (Maybe we should make a sample list that we can use to get contacts for a mailing list)
TLDR: Have a concrete figure that you are willing to spend and a set of specific goals and deliverables for the event.
You can never have “too much time” to plan an event. Believe us when we say, the earlier start planning for an event, the better. Judging from experience, a good timeline for events such as Dinner & Dances, Store Launches and parties ranges from 3 to 6 months. When it comes to bigger events and especially ones involving ticket sales performances the timelines are often much longer. Although it is still possible to work with shorter timelines, we highly would not recommend it so you would not have to settle for lesser while having to pay more. You may wonder why you would require so much time in advance well the answer is simple: Failing to plan is planning to fail. Despite popular belief, planning an event is not just planning on what is going to happen during the event. Making sure that whatever is supposed to happen and how you want it to happen is what takes up the majority of time and preparation. Not forgetting that starting earlier will enable you to get a lower price as well as increasing the likelihood of getting what you want. An events agency, however, will usually have their own panel of suppliers who they will go to for the best prices so you can rest assured we got your back on this. Hence, to help your budget and to save you also of stress, we would recommend at least 3-6 months in advance for smaller events(200 – 300 people). For larger event such as festivals, we would recommend a slightly longer lead time as there are a lot more other things to factor in such as event insurance, licensing and even the wet-weather planning.
TLDR: Start planning as soon as the event is in the pipelines.
Location, Location, Location
We can’t stress enough on the importance of location. A location can either make or break your event. You should always go for a location recce before confirming your location. Make sure you know your location through and through and feel free to ask the venue owner as many questions as you can. The very first thing almost all event suppliers ask is location details, things like lift access, power points, available equipment/facilities and of course the exact address. It’s always good to have a blueprint or floor plan of your location so you are able to pass on the information to your suppliers. Furthermore, you should always keep in mind where the nearest carparks, exits, restrooms and loading bay are located.
Different locations have different electrical power capacities and many people overlook the fact that there is a limit to the amount of power a location can provide. If you are having an extensive amount of lighting, audiovisual equipment or cooking appliances do check with your location manager if it would be better to get an external generator. The last thing you want is the entire power to trip halfway during your event.
TLDR: Find the location, Learn the location, Be one with the location.
As event organisers, we all have one common goal in mind. Make your event attendees happy. First impressions are one of the most important aspects of hosting an event. It is always good to have a guest list or an estimated amount of attendees. We can’t stress the importance of knowing your attendees enough. When in doubt on how to understand and reach out to your desired audience you can always consult your marketing team or the company managing your event and they should be well equipped to consult you on an appropriate strategy. Are there any VIPs expected? Do they need security? Are the activities held at the event racial-sensitive and do they cater to an appropriate age group? Your attendees are your top priority as they are the sole reason you are hosting an event. If planning for your audience is subpar then it may result in a troublesome crowd which you still have to cater to. Under no circumstances should you use a harsh tone or coarse language on them. It’s bad for PR and it’s bad for your blood pressure.
TLDR: Be fully prepared for your attendees and whenever possible strategize on how to appropriately target that pool of people.
Here in sunny Singapore, it isn’t always sunny. Chilli and onions on a stick may not always work. If you are planning to have an outdoor event, tentages and gazebos will be your best friend. Having shelter for outdoor events is crucial in Singapore. Even if it does not rain, the chances of having a cooling and windy day are very little and we know how reluctant are Singaporeans when it comes to standing in the hot sun. Having an aircon, fans or coolers are always a plus. It is also important to stand by as much water as you can to prevent yourself, your attendees and your crew from dehydrating. The last thing you want is for anyone to be sent to the hospital for something that can be easily prevented.
TLDR: Singapore is either very hot or very wet. Don’t give your attendees reasons not to come. Provide shelter when having outdoor events and plan for all weather conditions.
After many food poisoning incidents last year, we have all learnt a valuable lesson. Screen your caterers carefully and never compromise food hygiene! If you have a guest list prepared, you should be able to know your guest’s dietary needs. Be sensitive and make sure you inform guests if your food is not catered for certain groups. If you decided on a venue with food and alcohol do remember to ask about their glassware rental or corkage fee. Most venues will allow you to bring your own alcohol but at a fee. Always remember to be respectful about food preferences and remember there can never be too much food. Always order 10% more food than your expected foot count as you never know how much food you will require.
TLDR: Watch out for food restrictions, corkage fees and hygiene standards.
Waste management can come in many different forms. It can simply be providing extra trash bags throughout the venue for your guests to dispose of waste, or it can be hiring a private rubbish truck with bins and manpower to dispose of all the waste accumulated along with the venue. Why should you consider this? In most festival licensing and location lease agreements waste management is a requirement. In other cases, the venue may charge you a penalty fee or forfeit deposit if the venue if returned with waste. A rule of thumb when it comes to venue return is that you should return a venue as it was given to you. Always double-check with your venue managers how they would like to deal with the waste and whether excess waste will cost extra or if they can assist you. This will save you a lot of headaches and money.
Most common items that cause troubles are: Food leftovers, wrappings, wastewater, broken equipment, freebies, flyers and especially overfilled rubbish bins.
TLDR: Always have a plan for managing and disposing of the rubbish during and after the event.
As an event management company, we know that entertainment is the soul of an event. When deciding on what kind of entertainment you want for your event always remember to consider your attendees. Think about what kind of entertainment they will enjoy and what will create a memorable event for them. It is always best to be up to date on what is the popular and trending that you can feature during your event. Specific performers, new technologies, unique attractions and Instagram worthy stuff are the main considerations you should have that cover the majority of the public in Singapore. We want your attendees to remember that they had the time of their lives at your event with the best music/food/DJs they have ever experienced. This will also create a good impression of your brand and allow you to have a good following if that is what you’re looking for.
TLDR: Tailoring the experience for your specific audience is the key to build a lasting impression.
Even a recurring event is a once in a lifetime occurrence. There are no two events which are 100% alike. Hence, preserving the event in different forms such as video and photos are vital. You can also use the videos and photos from your previous events to create hype for your upcoming event or your brand itself. When deciding on a videography team or photographer, do not go for the cheapest without asking for their portfolio and past work and being sure that you are satisfied with the standard. Anyone with a camera nowadays can call themselves photographers and videographers but there is so much more to the trade than fancy equipment. The types of cameras and equipment used, editing skills and how many edits you are allowed to have or photos provided is crucial and often causes conflict and disagreements. You may have an awesome event but if your cameraman does not capture the essences of your event it might all go to waste. As a rule of thumb always ask for portfolio, credentials and how many cuts you will be able to get. If you desire to have raw files you need to inform your supplier as industry practices extra charges which vary supplier to supplier.
TLDR: Never settle for cheapest, go for the lower price for the same standard. Discuss the exact deliverables with the supplier.
Licensing & Insurance
Last but not least, event licensing and insurance is something that you should always keep in mind when you have playback or any kind of music you will be playing during the event. In Singapore, you will usually need to apply for a COMPASS(hyperlink needed) license if you want to play music in a public area. COMPASS is a public, non-profit organization that licenses rights for the reproduction, broadcast, diffusion, and public performance rights of musical works and lyrics. You should prepare a list of songs with their lyrics if you would like to apply for a COMPASS music license. For larger events, you might need to go to the Singapore Police Force to ask for licensing requirements as they vary according to the event. Some licensing may require armed security to be at the premises at all times and even barricades. As an events agency, we would recommend you have event insurance for public events above $20 000 and private events above $35 000. Especially when the public is involved we would recommend that you purchase event liability insurance to protect yourself, your brand and your event. In the unlikely situation where someone gets hurt or you have to cancel your event, it is always good to know that you are covered and can recover the damages.
TLDR: Better safe than sorry. The more you spend on your event the more likely you are to require insurance. Always check with event management agencies on what licenses are required to make your event happen.
It is not uncommon to make mistakes when planning or executing your events, however, having someone trusted and experienced to guide you through the process will most definitely help you sleep more peacefully at night. Do feel free to contact the Position 5 team if you would require any assistance for your events. Remember, our motto is: We support your every need.
2 thoughts on “10 Things you’ll need to know how to run a successful event”
Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂
Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂