Event management is one of the more stressful fields to work in – there are so many details that need to be taken care of, it’s almost guaranteed that at least a few things will go wrong and will need to be fixed quickly.

event management disastersIn fact, there’s no way to protect yourself even against significant setbacks that may ruin the entire event. The only thing you can do is to be as prepared as possible and try to solve the problem to the best of your abilities. Luckily, even in the worst event management disasters, you could imagine, there are still available strategies that you can take to help you stay ahead and ensure that the event doesn’t fall through.

Here are the top four event management disasters that you could encounter, along with a few suggestions on how you could make the best of the situation at hand.

Important figures cancel at the last second

Even if you take all the necessary precautions that are necessary for corporate event management, there’s always the small chance that a speaker or an entertainer is going to cancel at the last minute.

This can be a devastating blow to your event, especially if you lose a crucial speaker that was one of the main selling points to get attendees to come in the first place.

That’s why, if you don’t want your event to turn into failure and ruin your reputation in the industry, it’s essential that you have a solid backup in place to come in as a replacement.

It’s understandable that the backup may not have the same stature as your original choice, but you need to be able to position him in a way that puts a positive spin on the events and provide at least a couple of reasons why the new performer or speaker might be even better.

You should also inform your guests as soon as you find out that someone dropped out because the worst thing you could do is try to hide that fact and cause mass disappointment at the event itself.

Not enough attendees

Seeing empty seats at your event is not pleasant for any event planner.

What’s even worse, if you aren’t able to fill out your attendee’s lists, that can significantly hurt your reputation as a company as well.

But unfortunately, in a bustling city like London, that’s a common reality – with so many events to choose from, some of them are bound to be left empty and unsuccessful. People are just too spoiled by the world-class events that happen in the city every single week.

Luckily, if you know a few simple tactics, you can avoid this scenario and ensure that your events always have respectable attendance numbers.

For paid events, you should always keep track of how your ticket sales are going and make adjustments to your strategy and pricing to meet your goals. If you start sales early enough, you’ll have time to tweak or completely overhaul your marketing strategy so that it starts bringing results.

But if you’re running a free event, the attendance numbers can be harder to predict. Even if you have a registration system, free events will always have people that don’t come because they aren’t perceived to be as valuable, plus people haven’t made a financial commitment.

That’s why you should always account for at least 15% of people not showing up, even if you fill out your registration lists.

Too many guests

Most event managers don’t hold back when trying to get as many attendees as possible – it’s only natural to want to fill all of the seats in your event and make it the talking point in your industry for months to come.

However, that enthusiasm can turn to panic quickly once you realise that the number of attendees exceeds the capacity of the venue that you’ve booked.

That’s especially true if you don’t have a backup for your venue or find out about the exceeded limit of guests at the last second – few things are as scary for an event agency in London as seeing crowds piling up at the entrance with no space left inside.

Luckily, there are ways that you can prevent this situation or at least mitigate it if it does happen.

Today’s technology allows you to track the exact number of attendees that will show up to an event. If it’s a paid event, the easiest indicator is the number of ticket sales, but you can also use a check-in or registration system for free events to help you gauge the numbers and pick a venue that can accommodate your needs.

But if it’s too late for that and you’re at a stage where you need to scramble for a quick solution, do your best to keep it as organised and civil as possible.

Assuming that it’s a free event, place someone at the door and try set up a system for entrance based on who came there first, apologising to those who don’t make the cut.

If you can, improvise a way to create at least a bit more space inside so that you can fit more people, but make sure you consider a few factors before doing so.

First off, you need to make sure that if you allow more people in than anticipated, it won’t compromise the safety protocols in case of an emergency. Second, you need to see that the event is comfortable and enjoyable and not allow your venue to become too overcrowded.

Also, consider the amenities and bathroom numbers in the venue because if the site has a recommended number of guests, chances are that it won’t be able to hold much more people than that.

Bad weather

When you’re organising an event in England, you have to be prepared for anything when it comes to weather, especially if you’re organising outdoor team building events and your itinerary depends on being able to spend time outside.

Sometimes, even the best laid out plans will be ruined by a sudden change in weather – whether it’s a thunderstorm or strong winds, you might have to improvise if you don’Luckily, when it comes to bad weather, there are simple fixes to the problem.

For one thing, you can always have a backup indoor venue in case the outdoor activities would become impossible. Sure, it may be inconvenient to arrange for an alternative place for your event, but that’s a much better option than having to cancel altogether.

But even if you do have a contingency plan in case of bad weather, remember to be upfront about it with your attendees – let them know beforehand that if the weather goes south, the event will take place indoors.

That will not only reduce the disappointment in the sudden change of plans but also ensure that people will actually show up because if they don’t know that there’s an indoor option, many will choose to skip it altogether.


Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd – one of the leading event management companies in the UK , providing conference and incentive travel, conference venue finding services, and corporate team building services. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago; as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.