28 Jan 2019

Choosing Your Event Manager

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Event Managers ….. there are a lot of them in the marketplace. But do you really know what (and who) you’re getting when you take on an individual or company to manage your event?

One of the skills at the top of the list is “selling the magic”. Our role is to make your event shine, run like clockwork and leave you as a client with a feeling that you’ve shown yourselves to be market leaders, knowledgeable, the fun people – whatever it is you set out to achieve when you put the event onto the market. If we’re selling the magic FOR you, we are also selling it TO you.

We will put our best foot forward in our proposal, on our websites and when we are pitching to you at that networking function. (Everyone does)

But………. did you check that your event manager is financially stable? Do they pay their suppliers in a timely fashion? Do they have a reputation for being honourable in business? There are many event companies out there who sell themselves as market leaders, the best in town, “affordable” – but they aren’t paying suppliers promptly and sometimes not at all.

Have you confirmed that their awesome website really does represent what they do? I can tell you I’ve worked on the biggest concert tour in history (and I did) but my role might have been to sit at a desk and take phone calls. Nothing wrong with that, but its not exactly Tour Manager for the Rolling Stones is it? How many people do you know who came home after the Sydney Olympics and put on their resume that they were on the gig and in fact they were a vollie at the swimming directing people to their seats.

Were the events they managed, worked on, produced successful? Have you checked with the client who booked the event to see if they were happy with the company they used? We all ask for referrals and check them when we employ people – why not for an event that you’re handing over sometimes large amounts of money for?

Is your event manager appropriately insured? Do they have great risk management practises and policies? If they have a team working on your event, are they experienced or are they work experience students and interns. Interns and volunteers are a vital part of the events industry and they can gain valuable experience on your event – but when you’re asking for quotes, make sure you’re comparing apples for apples.

Does your event management company use quality suppliers? Sure, you can get a really cheap quote for your community concert, but if the production company has been in business for a week and they are using second hand gear operated by unqualified or inexperienced staff, you will usually get what you pay for.

If you’re attending a course on how to run events, who is delivering the course material. I’m seeing a lot of “tips and tricks to running successful events” seminars out there being run by people with little experience and a load of good intentions.

Next time you’re asking for a quote or listening to a pitch, please ask some really pointed questions. There are many many great operators both large and small companies and individuals who bring in resources when they are needed (so don’t discount sole operators!) but there are also a growing group of inexperienced, financially compromised and less than reputable people out there calling themselves event professionals.

On a final note, please don’t think events are easy to manage. They are stressful, have pitfalls and traps at every turn and at the end of the day, a pretty thankless task. We don’t do it for the thanks, we do it because we love our industry and love seeing the event come together successfully for the client. So let your team member get on with what they do for their day job. Form a committee for your charity, NFP group, business or social club so you can scope out what you need. Then call an event manager, a conference organiser or other professional who will guide you safely, efficiently and fiscally through the maze.

Cassandra Brennan runs Monarch Events in Perth Western Australia. With 30 years experience in the industry, she has advised government departments, run large and small events and is the immediate past president of the local events industry body.