August 6, 2018

Event Strategies

Event Logistics: The Importance of an Event Contingency Plan


Corrine Stratton

Field marketers should expect the unexpected when planning a field marketing event. A contingency plan is a necessary step in the event planning process.


This article was updated in July 2022.

Field marketing events are a growing marketing and sales tool that bring customers and prospects together in a creative way at reasonable costs. Bizzabo found that 80% of event organizers believe that live events are crucial to their organization’s success. At Banzai we have seen this trend firsthand by supporting our customers with more than 50 B2B events a week. The increase in the value of event marketing shows the importance of each event’s success. Now when something goes wrong, there are more people watching and more at stake for the business.

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What Can Go Wrong?

In one word, everything. From weather issues to power outages and technology failures, it is important to expect and plan for the unexpected. Most of what might go wrong is beyond your control, but by having detailed event logistics, a thoughtful and easily executed plan B, and strong communication with your team, speakers, and attendees, most problems can be fixed with little impact to your event experience and your company’s bottom line.

Put Together Event Planning Logistics

Scott Givens, President of Five Currents, begins production for each event by completing a full risk assessment with his team. Together they look at possible problems and develop the necessary solutions. Here are a few risks and potential solutions to consider when putting together the event logistics for your next event:

Speaker cancellation or no show

Life happens, which can take a toll on your event’s agenda. Best case scenario is that your speaker gives you a few days notice when they cancel. This situation highlights the need to have your own backup speaker list. Is there a customer in the region that has a story to tell? Is there a speaker from a past event available to cover? Knowing your options can turn a major headache like a speaker cancelation, into a situation with an easy resolution.

Unfortunately, not all speakers are able to give 24+ hours notice when they have to cancel. Delayed planes, sick family members, and last-minute business meetings happen. In this situation, it might be necessary to rethink your event logistics. Instead of your planned speaker, can you:

  • Host a small panel with a few of your attendees as participants?
  • Is there a member of your team that can lead the discussion or speaks to a business problem your product solves?

The goal is to provide attendees with relevant content they can put into action. By having an agreed-upon backup speaker plan, you can immediately implement your solution and continue to provide your guests with outstanding event experience.

Technical issues

Experiencing technical glitches means thinking on your feet. Well-thought out event logistics can help event management teams react quickly and effectively. Technical issues can include:

  • WIFI going out
  • Slides not working
  • Videos not playing
  • Audio issues
  • Power outage
  • Heat/air issues

Have a clear understanding on who is the point person for all things technical. It is a good idea to share contact information to make it easy to get ahold of one another and solve problems as efficiently as possible.

Venue cancellation

A venue cancellation can really throw a wrench into event planning logistics. It impacts your food and beverage, the type of meeting space needed for an effective event, your attendee's availability to make it, and more. This problem is never easy, but one way to ease the stress (even just a bit), is to keep a list of similar venues in the area.

You can save yourselves time and stress by having 3-5 venue options including meeting space overview, costs, and contact information as part of your event planning. Additionally, you can ensure that your chosen venue has its own contingency plan. Ask this upfront when booking your venue and utilize your contact to make sure they are prepared to support you if any issue comes up.

Mother nature

One of the most unpredictable event stressors is the one thing that is the most out of our control, the weather. Be proactive with your event planning and avoid areas and times of the year where severe weather is likely to happen. Think through what you will do if your event’s forecast takes an unexpected turn. Can you move your event inside? Can your event go virtual? How will you keep your attendees informed? How often will you reach out?  Most importantly, when will you and your team determine if the event should continue as planned. Your safety and the safety of your team and guests should always be the top priority.

There will always be things that are out of your control and that you cannot anticipate when event planning. When something does not go according to plan, remember to remain as calm as possible. This is why you have event planning checklists and a backup plan. Your preparedness will ensure that you and your B2B events are set up for success.

Start producing engaging, fun events that drive ROI. Get the Ultimate Event Marketing Toolkit.
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