band performing on stage
An event or experience with the potential to transport you from your everyday life to an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind space can be magical. As a child, birthday parties had the potential to do this, and as an adult, some of the best live events can do this as well. However, live event planning and the power to transform a space to create an unforgettable experience for attendees isn’t always easy, but it can be remarkably rewarding and, of course, memorable for your guests.

With the rise of hybrid and virtual events, live events were put on the back burner for a while. Though the event planning landscape has changed due to the pandemic, live events are being scheduled, and guests are looking for an escape now more than ever. 

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What Is Live Event Planning?

Staging a live event takes a lot of work. With countless moving parts—from event technology to food and beverage and set design—executing a live event is a full-time job. That’s why live events are typically handled by an event planning agency, especially one with planning experience on the scale you’re looking for.

As a service, live event planning can include the entire event from concept to post-event analytics. Event planners will help manage everything from your event budget and vendors to performers, speakers, entertainment, and attendee support. When it comes to performers and speakers, that also includes handling staging, lighting, and technical support. 

presenter on stage
Why Live Event Planning Experience Matters

As you can see, there are a multitude of elements to consider, and managing all of them from start to finish can quickly become overwhelming. One of the advantages of hiring an event planning company is not only the fact that they’ve done it before, but also that they’ve seen what works, what doesn’t, and (perhaps most importantly) what can go wrong. That’s why experience matters.

Not only does a creative event planning company help you refine your vision—getting as close as possible to the event experience you’re dreaming about—but they can help you connect with the vendors and venues that can make it a reality. Planners can design your event from start to finish, establishing what you’ll need and when/where you’ll need it. Additionally, they’ll provide event support from registration and beyond, ensuring your attendees are happy and have their needs met.

Finally, if you’ve ever hosted an event, then you know aspects of the event can go wrong. Often, those issues are beyond our control. Working with an event planning company experienced in live events means they’ve seen it all before, and they have a backup plan ready just in case. This peace of mind is invaluable when it comes to your business and the impression your event leaves on guests. 

Top Seven Challenges to Live Event Planning

No matter how carefully an event is planned and managed, challenges will arise, and an experienced event planner has a solution to overcome those obstacles.

1. Staffing

Even before labor shortages were created by the pandemic, finding qualified staff to work events was difficult. Whether it’s local performers, servers, or skilled technicians to assist with sound, lighting, or streaming/technology, ensuring your event is fully staffed is crucial. There are few things worse than having your guests feel like they can’t find help or having the experience diminished because you’re short-staffed.

2. Travel and Transportation

Whether you’re hosting a destination event; flying in VIPs, speakers, or performers; or simply planning an off-site element, travel and transportation logistics can be complicated. Planners have to stay within budget, handle travel delays or cancellations, manage airport transportation, and more—while on a tight schedule. One missed flight and suddenly, arrangements must be adjusted.

3. Budget

It’s easy to get carried away on a variety of live event elements from the menu to the entertainment. When you factor in technology, decor, swag, and the myriad of other elements needed for your program, staying on budget is a significant challenge. While cutting elements is certainly possible, it’s better to hire an event planner who can work with existing partners in order to leverage those connections and cut costs to create the event you envision.

4. Weather

Navigating unpredictable weather can certainly be a challenge, especially if there’s not a contingency plan. This isn’t just essential for outdoor events. Inclement weather of any kind can create issues for managing attendee travel, loading in and out for vendors, and more. For example, air travel management in a winter storm can be a huge headache, which means relying on experts can alleviate stress.

5. Agenda Development

Having structure at your event is important, but always remember to include breaks in your agenda. Leaving no time for sessions that run over, casual networking, restroom breaks, eating snacks or meals, or just relaxing can result in overwhelmed attendees and speakers. Consider staggering sessions or a variety of “session paths,” so attendees avoid schedule fatigue.

6. Communications 

This is one of the elements in which experience is extremely important because seasoned event planners have communication down to a science. Professionals know how integral communication is to event planning, whether that be internally with their team or externally with vendors. Having effective communication is essential to managing a successful live event, and when you hire an experienced event agency, they will be in constant contact to ensure they execute your event the way you envisioned. 

7. Metrics and Feedback

When planning and adjusting event logistics, attendee data matters. The same is true for post-event data captures. While you may not find it necessary for the current event, it will be for your next one. Not knowing what attendees enjoyed or wanted more of can complicate future planning and lead to lowered attendee satisfaction. Further, attendee data collected during registration can help you fill in last-minute gaps or changes in scheduling.

DJ Stands in front of sound and music equipment
Live Event Planning in 2022

As a new variant swept the world and stoked concerns about transmission and super-spreader events, 2022 began with event cancellations. However, mitigation strategies coupled with the expectation that COVID-19 may reach an endemic stage sometime in 2022 means that more events will be held in person or will at least offer an in-person option. Given these concerns, it will be more important than ever for safety and health precautions to be included in event plans for the year.

With event planning already laden with potential challenges for inexperienced event planners, hiring an event planning company for live event production planning is one of the best decisions you can make this year. Though there are challenges, live events don’t need to be any less spectacular or memorable. Contact the Bishop-McCann team today to see how we can help you return to live events safely and enjoyably. 
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