Contingency Planning in Event Management - dummies

Contingency Planning in Event Management

By Laura Capell

Part of Event Management For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

This is the ‘What if . . . ?’ scenario planning you need to carry out in event management, and it’s an opportunity to make use of any pessimistic team members you have. Put them all in a room and ask them to come up with as many what-ifs as they can.

Planning for potential risks early in the process not only gives you time for good communication with your team, but also adds potential costs into your budget.

The potential risks to consider when writing your contingency plan can be grouped as follows:

  • Physical: Any accident, fire, flood or other natural disaster that would have an impact on your equipment, buildings or stock.

  • Team: Your team is only human, so illness, grievances or industrial action may affect them.

  • Legal: What might someone sue you for is the easiest question here. Or are you confident that the competition you plan to run is legal? It’s best to not leave matters such as this down to chance.

  • Technical: Everyone relies so heavily on technology now that they often assume it will always work. Think about how you’d run a barcode registration process without a computer or barcode reader that works.

  • Political: Riots, protests, campaigning and changes in corporate policy can all affect the success of your event. If, on the day of your event promoting the launch of a new car, you read a new press release stating that the tax of that type of vehicle will increase by 25 per cent, what do you do?

Unlike risk assessments, where there’s a common approach to the layout of the form, contingency plans are less uniform. Due to the slightly more detailed nature of the potential scenarios, a contingency plan is more likely to be a discursive document than a table. As with all communication in events, though, it’s best to talk through the scenarios and not rely on your team reading a document.

Contingency plan scenarios tend to be less immediate or accident focused (like risk assessments) and more gradual, allowing slightly more time to plan the solution.