The guys at Picatic are all about removing the biggest risk from your event: the risk that nobody turns up! I love the concept of crowd funding events and it takes it right back to basics. Think of the moment when one of your friends says “fancy organizing a party?” What happens next is everyone looks at each other to get an idea if they are interested in the idea: there is no point going to the effort if no one is going to come right? Well, right indeed and the Picatic guys have totally run with that idea. Let’s help EVERY event planner put the effort into events which they KNOW will be popular. But it’s not just about supporting the idea, they also have a great platform which supports the planner.

In this blog I decided to look at what we can do to support those events which have been successfully “funded”: What more can you do to limit the risks?  I’ve listed a magnificent seven practical things every event planner can do to de-risk their event. Every one should be considered for every event: no matter if it’s a new event or a re-run of a previous successful event.

Tips on removing risk from your events

The venue is likely to be the single most expensive part of your event so you really have to dedicate a lot of time to the negotiation and the contract. This serious limits the risk. So in my list the first few are dedicated to the biggest expense. I then look at the budget and then some other ways to ensure you aren’t spending what you aren’t earning.

Start small

Contract to as little as you can to secure the use of the room or the venue. At the early stage of booking a venue there is no need to sign up to AV packages, menus, staging, venue art work, etc. If you have to book, then book the lowest possible package. In almost every instance you can add this to your booking if your numbers do appear.

Go low

Almost every venue will look for as high a minimum number for your booking as possible. Even if the event has tipped you should be looking for as low a number as possible. Obviously the venue will not let you book a theater on single figure attendees but you will be surprised how much lower they are willing to go to confirm a booking. I would say that for a room for 80 – 100 the venue is likely to take 50 – 60 as a minimum and a room for 250 the venue will take 150 – 175. So go low!

Reduce the DDR rate

Ask your venue if they are willing to REDUCE the DDR rate the higher your numbers go above your minimum. This has worked for me on several occasions. For a dinner of 1200 (booked on minimum of 900) a reduction of a few pounds per person about my minimum numbers reduced the amount we spent by almost a thousand dollars.

Stay clear of fixed costs

This is possibly a bit general but I will stick by it: try to avoid fixed costs where possible. A fixed cost stays the same if you have 10 or 100 attendees so it’s best to link your expenditures to your revenue.

Have a budget

I know. Who doesn’t have a budget for their event? Well unfortunately I see it too often. You need a detailed budget that includes every conceivable expense as well as every likely income. My tip is to be realistic, not pessimistic and not optimistic. Most people advise you to err on the side of caution and I can’t quite agree with that. If you want your event to be a success you have to have enough risk in the budget to allow you to plan the event you want.

Have a contingency plan

Another budget related one is to have a contingency plan. I normally set 5% in my budget for a new event and drop down to 2.5% for a re-run (unless it has changed dramatically). Using the chart allows you to decide on the contingency and I’ve added these in to provide some guidance.

Keep your cards close to your chest

When you start advertising your event it is unlikely that you will have to tell everyone about everything that is going on. So stick to the basics and start talking about the things you are doing once you can afford them.

If you are using a crowd sourcing platform then you are probably more comfortable with a heavy dose of risk. But in saying that, every event should be properly de-risked no matter how innovative it is. At Gallus Events “risk” is not a four letter word. If you don’t have any risk in your event it isn’t likely to be particularly innovative. This is why we are running Event Tech Circus in Chicago on the Picatic platform. For an innovative event, crowd sourcing as a way to remove risk is an absolute must!


About the author


William Thomson is a conference architect and event consultant at Gallus Events. He has been managing events since 1996 and is also a recognized event industry speaker having spoken at events all around the world.

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