I had twin girls in October 2014. I have no idea what the world will look like for them in 20 years. When I expressed that to my parents they looked at me like “of course you know what the world will look like” and I said “did you see the internet coming?” Point made.
As event professionals we don’t always see things coming. Ten years ago we weren’t adding mobile apps into our job descriptions and now we’re either managing the app or trying to figure out if we need one. A bigger discussion is how are we going to build the hours we need for all the new technologies and services into our days. Apparently even with all the changes to the world there are still only 24 hours in a day. And I’d like to spend some of them with those previously mentioned twin girls.
I’m in the great position of being an independent event professional so I can take work in pieces and I’m finding that I can be of most help to other event professionals when I can take pieces of work off their plates. Taking a piece of your project and letting someone else manage the details can eliminate a lot of stress…especially if you hand it off to another event planner who understands all of what you are trying to manage.
I once had a client ask me if I could take over their whole conference if required. The answer was yes and I was immediately told “good, because if we win the lottery we are out of here”. So there’s that aspect as well. It’s great risk management planning to have another event planner onsite who could step in and take over the whole shebang if required. The lottery win might be far off but food poisoning could be a reality.
What are some things you could outsource to help you find that balance again?
- Event Production. Let someone else manage your plenary sessions and the audio visual component. This is especially helpful if you aren’t strong in this area and don’t know much about audio visual. An event professional who is strong in this area might save you tens of thousands of dollars just by knowing how to negotiate with the suppliers. You want someone who will run a tight ship in your event space and cue the AV team appropriately. This person could also assist in writing scripts, run rehearsals and create content for you. The best part? You don’t have to worry about that room and can make sure your breakout speakers are arriving, the kitchen is prepared for the five new dietary allergies that were told to you at registration and that your best sponsor is arriving in the midst of the afternoon.
- Mobile Apps. You know the saying that we only use 10% of what Microsoft Word or Excel can actually do? The same might be true for your mobile app. Especially if you are creating the content for it but not managing all it can do. Generally event planners don’t have the time to create and manage the app, especially onsite. I’m sure more planners would incorporate gamification if they just had the time to develop a strategy and implement it. Consider outsourcing this. Let another event professional take on your app.
- Digital Event Strategies. It is not recommended that event professionals try to manage a live event and the digital audience at the same time. So hire someone who can help you with your digital strategy.
- Site Selection. I’m including this because it’s probably the number one thing already outsourced. There are a number of site selection companies out there, many of whom receive commissions from the hotel property that gets selected. Other options include hiring a planner who gets paid for their time instead of by commission. Or to utilize the services of a destination marketing organization, such as Tourism Toronto or Meetings Conventions Calgary. Their services are free and save any planner a lot of time just by aggregating quotes from the venues in their city. Plus if you go through the DMO you can access attendance building services and all their local expertise.
What are some tips to finding event professionals to outsource to? Ask around, ask your suppliers for independent meeting professionals who might be able to take some of your tasks off your hands. Meet other planners at MPI, PCMA, ISES, CSAE. Google is another great option. Who out there is talking about what you are needing?
You can also do a request for proposals. What will the event planner bring to the table? Remember, their services might be like buying shoes. You get what you pay for sometimes. You don’t want to buy the cheapest pair and deal with blisters all day onsite. Make sure you know what they will do for you and how much their services will cost.
And of course contact Details if we can help take something off your plate.