Time-Saving Tips for Successful Event Management

As we begin to look ahead to the fall, the busy Q3-Q4 event season is just ahead of us. These days, being able to pull off an event with new staffers, health and safety protocols, and the return of pre-pandemic level travel is quite a feat to be celebrated, but before you pop that bubbly here are some things to think about before you stage to ensure your event planning goes smoothly.

1. Lean on Your General Service Contractor

The closer you get to your event, you will want to make time to meet with your General Service Contractor (GSC) and team to go through a run-of-show. A run-of-show documents the timeline from set-up to tear-down, and forces you to think about all the things. If you are new to the events industry, lean on your general service contractor for guidance on how to expect the unexpected. A GSC will not only save you time and MONEY, they will make you look like rock-stars. By investing time on the front end, you will be set up for success when the doors close and you hand back the keys.

I hear you asking, what exactly is a General Service Contractor? and how do they differ from other types of contractors? Understanding the difference between a GSC and an Official Contractor can save you time by knowing who the players are and how they fit into the overall show production.

A General Service Contractor is hired by the trade show coordinator to handle much of the logistics, from setting up and tearing down the show to coordinating shipping and material handling. Your GSC also inspects the venue, create a show-floor layout, provides furniture, hangs welcome banners and other signs, sets up the registration table, and the list goes on. A GSC may hire

Official Contractors are suppliers and service providers who are hired by the GSC. These contractors may provide everything from floral arrangement to AV solutions. As a full-service event management company, Shepard handles most of these services in-house. (Take a peek at our trade show page to learn more. If there is a service we don’t provide in-house, we tap our network of partnerships.)

2. Know the Difference Between Registration and Attendance

Over the past few years, event professionals have learned that registration numbers for in-person events in an uncertain time haven’t always met expectations. As we venture into the new normal, new verification trends will begin to emerge. One way to stay ahead of the unknown is to review information with your transportation, housing, and registration partners frequently. 

Check the Numbers.

Starting about 15 weeks out, event managers should sync with housing partners and watch those numbers very closely in the weeks leading up to the event. The amount of hotel nights booked (or canceled) closer to the event, the more accurate your pre-registration numbers will be. 

Check the news.

Make sure you are aware of the world around you. Weather challenges and global events can impact travel and attendance, sometimes at the last minute. Assign one of your team members the responsibility of watching for certain situations like this and keep a close eye on the host city that you will be in. Make sure you know building policies and event partner stipulations should anything come up. 

3. Identify Key Decision Makers

Making decisions on the fly onsite, especially for new team members, can become stressful and chaotic. Think ahead about what needs may pop up during your event, then identify and designate a chain of command when it comes to handling communications. Include all event partners who can assist them with any urgent needs. Create a text group with appropriate people and ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities in case of an emergency or issue. Using a GSC? Talk through scenarios with your key contacts to ensure the right people who have the authority to make decisions are identified.

Final Thoughts

While no one can prepare for exactly what happens during an event, investing any amount of time to think through what might happen is a great exercise as you grow your team, and the key to successful event management overall. Cheers!

Shepard is a full-service event production company. We design, develop and manage trade shows, corporate and other events throughout the U.S.