9 Mistakes Event Producers Overlook

People often settle for learning from their mistakes, but we believe it’s better to learn from the mistakes of others. Our team here at Sparxo understands how difficult it is to produce an event from conception to reality. There are so many intricacies and details to consider to ensure a successful event, which to us means a smooth and seamless attendee experience. So here’s a list of mistakes most event producers overlook from our founding team who has 20+ years of event experience combined: (You can thank us later!)

We’ve added a lot of meat to each section. Here’s an overview of the 9 points, feel free to skip to the section that most interests you:

  1. Lack of Marketing Expertise
  2. No Live Stream
  3. Poor Registration Process
  4. Not Planning Ahead
  5. Consciously Building Your Own Event Brand
  6. Not Thinking Through The Audience Experience
  7. Underestimating How to Structure Ticket Prices
  8. Lack of Communication Before The Event
  9. Not Having Event Insurance

(Written by: Rawia Abu Rabie)

  1. Lack Of Marketing Expertise

A successful sold out, viral event requires attention to marketing and advertising on social media platforms. It is estimated that 88% of millennials regularly use social media. You may have noticed that some events are everywhere on social media platforms and others can barely seem to be found. Great marketing and advertising for an event include knowing what content to create and when the best time is to post it.  Our research shows that you want to post on Facebook between 1 pm – 3 pm on weekdays and Saturdays. On average, the best time to post on Instagram is between 2 PM and 3 PM. Overall for Instagram, Thursday is the best day to post on Instagram not just at 3 PM, but also at 5 AM, 11 AM, and 4 PM as well.

All successful events rely on a strong word of mouth virality along with social media. Most of these events in today’s culture and with today’s technology are at everyone’s fingertips, so it makes it easier to advertise and put your event out there. Let’s take a look at Tomorrowland, one of the biggest electronic music festivals held in Belgium every summer. They do a phenomenal job in utilizing social media platforms to engage with audiences they otherwise never would have reached. Get ready for it … Each year Tomorrowland sells out on 400,000 tickets 40 minutes after they are released. To do this, Tomorrowland averages over 1.2 Billion social media engagements across Facebook, Instagram, and their Snapchat story was available in six different languages for users. One of their best strategies around digital marketing revolves around offering access to a live stream of their event to regions with strict government regulations on social media. Take notes here – if you can tap into untapped markets, you will be able to successfully ensure a sold-out event year over year by increasing your target market.

Tomorrowland is just one major example of how an international event continues to succeed and sell out their event year after year by strategically utilizing social media and digital marketing platforms. 

  2. No Live Stream

Not considering live streaming your event is one of the biggest missed opportunities event planners make. It’s a way for you to reach an audience who was thinking about coming or couldn’t come but will come next time. It’s also a way for you to have more information go viral by streaming fun content.  According to Julius Solaris, some of the best live streaming apps include Facebook, Youtube live, Periscope, Instagram Live, and Twitch. Don’t miss a chance to reach an audience who may decide to attend next time.  For example, Coachella, an annual musical festival held in California during the month of April,  its live stream reaches 41 million people.  That is the population of Australia and Cambodia combined! Moreover, the Super Bowl’s streamed event was watched across 7.5 million unique devices or the entire population of Hong Kong! One last statistic to blow your mind, the live stream of the red carpet of the Grammys has over 4.3 million views. Now, do you believe us? Live streaming of your event is a great way to engage with the otherwise missed audience and future customers. It helps create a higher demand for your next event and gives people a way to easily talk and share your event with their networks.

A successful sold out, viral event requires attention to marketing and advertising on social media platforms. It is estimated that 88% of millennials regularly use social media. You may have noticed that some events are everywhere on social media platforms and others can barely seem to be found. Great marketing and advertising for an event include knowing what content to create and when the best time is to post it.  Our research shows that you want to post on Facebook between 1 pm – 3 pm on weekdays and Saturdays. On average, the best time to post on Instagram is between 2 PM and 3 PM. Overall for Instagram, Thursday is the best day to post on Instagram not just at 3 PM, but also at 5 AM, 11 AM, and 4 PM as well.

All successful events rely on a strong word of mouth virality along with social media. Most of these events in today’s culture and with today’s technology are at everyone’s fingertips, so it makes it easier to advertise and put your event out there. Let’s take a look at Tomorrowland, one of the biggest electronic music festivals held in Belgium every summer. They do a phenomenal job in utilizing social media platforms to engage with audiences they otherwise never would have reached. Get ready for it … Each year Tomorrowland sells out on 400,000 tickets 40 minutes after they are released. To do this, Tomorrowland averages over 1.2 Billion social media engagements across Facebook, Instagram, and their Snapchat story was available in six different languages for users. One of their best strategies around digital marketing revolves around offering access to a live stream of their event to regions with strict government regulations on social media. Take notes here – if you can tap into untapped markets, you will be able to successfully ensure a sold-out event year over year by increasing your target market.  

  3. Poor Registration Process

Too often event producers and planners are focused on the event itself, that they forget about the importance of the check-in experience for their attendees and how that first impression depicts how their audience perceives their brand and the rest of the event.

For example, for those massive, sold out events where you know attendees will show up an hour or more before the event doors open, you should consider planning out the wait time experience. This might include 

  • Looking at the weather forecast! If it’s forecasted to be rainy, you should set up tents. If it’s blazing hot, you might consider setting up water stations outside and utilizing the opportunity to give out branded swag like sunglasses with your logo.
  • Putting up banner stands and fliers along the line sharing your IG handle/ FB handle and “slogans” that they can easily share or post.
  • Renting port-a-potties outside to ensure that guests don’t decimate the neighborhood or venue building.
  • Placing trash bins outside to keep the neighborhood/area clean/ the venue so neighborhood welcomes you back in the future.

You should want to make the experience pleasant for people waiting in line. You might consider planning out a few surprise experiences for guests while they’re waiting in line to start their event experience off on the right foot.

  • Waiting in line, is this a pleasant experience? What if it rains? Are there tents?
  • It needs to be clear what check-in is like, is it digital or printed tickets?  Do customers need to show their ID? Is it fast?
  • Check-in staff should be aware of the use of check-in devices, scanning, internet, what to do if someone doesn’t have a ticket? Is there a box office? Is there a manager they go to for help?
  • How are security dealing with the audience? Are they greeting them? Are they being nice?

Check-in is the first step your audience interact with your event, it needs to be pleasant and fast in order to get your audience excited about what’s next. Sparxo offers a great, free check-in application that scans digital and printed tickets. You can also sell tickets on other platforms and import lists into Sparxo so you have one seamless check-in experience. Plus, we offer a free POS (point of sale) system and box office set up as well!

 

 

  4. Not Planning Ahead

Planning an event is a lot of work from financial planning, registrations to looking for space. In order to not waste all this in prior work and maintain the success of the event, you need to think about all the possibilities that might happen in the day of the event. “What can go wrong and how can I prevent it or fix it?” That is why no matter how small the event is, it needs a lot of planning ahead

Thinking through worst-case scenarios ahead of time to prepare for them.  

Some worst-case scenario examples and how to prepare for them:

  • It suddenly rains on your event date – Do you have an indoor venue as a backup location to move the audience into? Do you have cover or water resistant materials to cover the stuff that cannot get wet? Do you need to reschedule?  Is Is the audience aware of the evacuation plan? That is why communication is super important with the audience prior to the event about event updates. Many cities have unstable weather conditions that fluctuate like the city of rain, London,  how the morning can be sunny and clear/ evening can be foggy and rainy)
  • Too many staff call in sick suddenly (broken car, got sick, etc) what do you do? Do you have extra staff prepared?
  • Power outage – what do you do? (how do you communicate this to the audience for rescheduling of event and/or still have an event?)
  • Your major artist or headliner speaker missed their flight/ can’t make it, how do you deal with it?
  • Does your event overlap with a major holiday? Should you reschedule now?

With Sparxo, event producers and organizers have access to brainstorming with Sparxo’s cofounding team of industry experts – for free! Sign up and set up your paid event tickets and you will automatically receive an email from our CEO!

  5. Consciously Building Your Own Event Brand

This is important to your success and future events. Often event organizers think only about the current event and its success, but don’t keep in mind how to use this event to launch future events. For example, electronic dance music events are well known for having memorable and sticky names such as (EDC) Electric Daisy Carnival or Coachella. Even major mainstream events have memorable, easy names such as the Super Bowl, the Grammy’s, the Oscars, and the Emmy’s to name a few.

How will your event brand be remembered?

The best event producers brand their event so that they can reproduce with ease. Or, an alternative to building an event-specific brand, is to brand your event production company and reinforce your company’s name throughout your marketing.

A specific way to brand your event or company includes having your own website such as www.yournameherepresents.com. Website template companies make is easy, fast, and cheap to have a beautiful, mobile-optimized website in no time. Our team particularly recommends Square Space.  It is considered a low expense and well priced as it is only a base of $12 per month billed annually. Having your own branded website, allows your audience to know where to go for future events and

gives them the idea that you produce multiple events. With this in mind, it is not in your best interest to put a link to buy tickets or register for your event on your website if it redirects your audience from your website to a different website such as Eventbrite or Brown Paper Tickets.


Don’t kill your brand. Instead of making yourself dependent on these third-party ticketing companies, we urge and encourage you to leverage them instead. If you find that you need help with marketing and promotions to sell extra tickets. Why not post your event on their platforms anyway just to see if anyone new finds you through them? The goal then is not to promote their ticketing link, but to convert anyone who finds you from those sites into fans of your own website and brand.  You can do this by sending them an email recap after the event thanking them for their support and to check out your website for future events.

This is why our founders are pretty awesome. They designed Sparxo to allow you to post your event and sell tickets for your event anywhere you’d like. Sparxo has an easy to use way to import your guest lists and sales lists from other systems into Sparxo. This way you can aggregate all of your customer data for data analytics like identifying repeat attendees and have one seamless check-in system. Plus, our platform really does let you integrate it directly into your website with no redirects – all for free. You keep 100% of your ticket price!  

  6. Not Thinking Through The Audience Experience

Picking a venue, hiring a DJ and getting people to your event is not enough to make your event a success. Too many event producers forget to think about the details in the experience of their audience and how important their experience at the event is for the future of their other events. (We know this sounds a lot like something we mentioned above, but it’s not. We promise.)

A majority of the negative experiences attendees experience can be mitigated by simply having a training conversation with all of your event staff before the event begins.

For example,  here are some questions our team encourages you to think through before the event:

  • What is the experience like when the customer first enters the event? Are they greeted by rude security guards? Or do they enter an event with awesome lighting, music, and clearly marked bars to buy alcohol?
  • What is the experience like at the bar? Are your bartenders slow? Are they bias or not treating everyone equally? Is your event wheelchair accessible?
  • Security – what actions are and aren’t allowed in scenarios like people who are throwing up? There need to be clear instructions on how security can deal with situations.
  • How are staff interacting with the audience, do they greet? Are they nice? Do they smile?
  • Are bathrooms constantly cleaned? Are cleaning staff regularly checking them? Are trash bins regularly emptied?

These examples support the fact that there needs to be an outline of how to think through working with your onsite event staff prior to the event. Training and foresight in preparing your event staff on how to handle situations and have clear guidelines on what to do is a huge part of deciding your success.

With Sparxo, event producers and organizers have access to brainstorming with Sparxo’s cofounding team of industry experts – for free! Sign up and set up your paid event tickets and you will automatically receive an email from our CEO!

  7. Underestimating How to Structure Ticket Prices

Most of the time event producers don’t put too much effort into thinking about their ticket pricing structures. It is important to always keep in consideration that you will need to offer discount pricing and VIP or other complimentary tickets. It’s just part of generating support and advocates or promoters of your event. It’s important that they feel taken care of. Every complimentary ticket or discount ticket offered takes away from the total event capacity and the ability to sell full priced tickets. All of this needs to be taken into consideration when thinking about reaching your target revenue.

The industry standards often require you to give out complimentary tickets to special and influential people like media or influencers or sponsors for event partners. Discounts are often needed to give to event partners, friends, and family to incentivize them to buy tickets and come and “make them feel special.” Taking these complementary and discount tickets into consideration affects the price of the actual marketed price of the ticket.

Here’s an example:

Event expenses: $10,000

Target Profit: $10,000

The goal in sales: $20,000

Venue capacity: 500

An inexperienced event planner might think they should sell 500 tickets at $40 each. ($20,000 divided by 500 capacity = $40 per person ticket) This is not accurate.

To take into consideration what it takes to sell 500 tickets, you also need to consider offering ticket sale tiers, presale tickets as well as complimentary tickets and discounts.

To break this down, it might look like:

Two months of ticket sales and marketing

Presale Tier 1 for the first month of sales: $20 with a maximum of 50 tickets (goal is to generate word of mouth in selling out the first tier quickly)

Presale Tier 2: $30 with a maximum of 100 tickets

Presale Tier 3: $35 with a maximum of 100 tickets

Presale Tier 4: $40 with a maximum of 100 tickets

General Admission: $60 at the door

Offering complimentary tickets to 50 people

        And a 20% discount to friends and family off of the GA price.

With Sparxo, event producers and organizers have access to brainstorming with Sparxo’s cofounding team of industry experts – for free! Sign up and set up your paid event tickets and you will automatically receive an email from our CEO!

  8. Lack of Communication Before The Event

Event producers should always communicate with their audience about logistics for the event prior to the event. This contains information about the times in which doors open and directions within the venue.

It is always useful for your guests to know how to move around throughout the event. Can you imagine not knowing where the exit is during a time of an unexpected emergency? Thus, you should always Include the following:

  • Location of  parking garages in the area
  • Spots that have access to public transportation
  • Bathroom locations
  • The check-in station
  • Menu for food and drinks
  • Payment methods
  • ATM locations
  • Emergency exits

Moreover, making clear for staff if they have access to outlet sources to plug devices in or if they need to bring extra power packs and cables on hand to keep devices charged. Having all this clear prior to the event is highly efficient and effective.

Event producers should assure that everything is clear for their audience prior to the event because miscommunication can lead to some memorable hiccups in the experience your audience has with your brand and event.  For example, if your audience isn’t aware of the limited number of parking garages, they may not find parking or wait in long lines to park their cars, causing them to miss the opening of the show. While parking isn’t your responsibility, it is in your best interest your audience has the smoothest experience possible associated with your event and brand.  Another example would be making sure all audience are aware of the dress attire, so no one comes for a business event in a flip flop for example. Having great communication with the audience prior to the event makes your audience’s experience much better and easier. This will reflect terribly on the company’s reputation resulting in a decrease in sales for future events.

The great thing about Sparxo is that you can set up automatic messages to specific ticket holders beforehand using their Custom Email Confirmation section and/or their Email Message Specific to the Purchase of a specific ticket levelSign up for a free, no-obligation account today!

  9. Not Having Event Insurance

Many event producers make the common mistake of not having event insurance. And, trust us, event insurance won’t break your bank. It could, however, save you from going bankrupt! We recommend checking out Event Helper, a 10 years old event insurance company. We did the work and checked pricing for you. For a thousand person event, event insurance through Event Helper would cost less than $200.

For large events, event insurance is a must. It protects you from all sorts of liabilities you wouldn’t have ever thought could happen at your event such bodily injury to attendees or property damages to the venue. Event insurance generally also covers any third party damage including the venue or vehicles rented especially for the event or for catering. And if you’re selling alcohol, liquor liability is something to think about for attendees who night overdose or be so intoxicated they require EMTs.

Some other examples of why you should consider event insurance might include if you are hosting an event in the inner city and a car crashes through your event, disturbing your entire event experience and shutting it down early.  Do you refund all guests? Who covers the cost of your staff and expenses? Or, perhaps, you’re hosting a concert with thousands of people and it happens to be incredibly hot that day or the air conditioning in the venue breaks down. What do you do when someone faints of dehydration?