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4 difficult clients every event professional will meet

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

What could be better than a job/career that makes you jump out of bed every morning? Finding meaning in what we do is what makes us one step closer to happiness. It is something that we all crave for. It’s the ideal of the modern era, one in which fulfillment is often more important than money.

people at a desk, taking notes

Event planners definitely are among those who find meaning in their careers. Bringing people together, helping them evolve and (why not?) making the world a better place makes us jump out of the bed each morning (ok, maybe not on rainy Mondays).  Although challenging, the event planning industry repays every drop of energy that we invest in.

How do you define a difficult client?

Event planners also have to deal with what most of us try to run away from: difficult clients. And when I say ‘difficult clients’ I don’t mean those who force you out of your comfort zone. Those bringing you projects so big that they keep you up at night. That want you to plan the perfect event for them. That inspire you to be better with each passing day. Those are the ones you will thank later.

No, I mean those clients that are never happy, no matter how good you deliver. But at the same time, they can never articulate their unhappiness. That, day in day out, make things more complicated than you have ever imagined they could be. Than never help, but often obstruct you. That want you to execute their ideas but at the same time never take responsibility for anything. That hope that you can read their minds (but would hate it if you could).

Difficult clients in the event management industry

There are many types of difficult clients because there are so many ways in which people can be difficult to interact with. But based on the discussions that I had with our #eventproffs friends, there are 4 types of clients that you will (probably) meet in your career

The always angry/hostile client

It is always ready to argue over anything. He/she likes to intimidate those around. Every discussion is different, but all have one thing in common: a raised voice.  

How to deal with a hostile customer?

It’s crucial to not take it personally because it really isn’t. It’s also very important to keep calm, another choleric person won’t do any good. Be polite yet firm, letting your client know that you are always in control. Show that you take him/her serious, but don’t let yourself impressed by the aggressive attitude.

There are situations when we really are responsible for our customers’ anger (but not the way they manage it), so try to see if there anything that you could do better.

The hesitating client

“In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt

There are people who just can’t make a decision. That think and overthink. That need hours to make up their minds (for any silly decision) and then just completely change it. That get cold feet in front of a decision. And, in our careers, we’ve all meet someone like this. When managing events, time is the one resource that’s always missing. And those who’ve seen how a venue looks just hours before an event know what I mean…

Listen to your client and see what makes the decision so difficult for him. Try looking from his point of view and let him know what your opinion is. Whenever you can help your client decide by providing relevant data/visual support.

The all-wise client

Have you ever met a person that knows everything there is to know? I am sure you have. The person that hires an expert and then tells him how to do his job. That doesn’t even need arguments to back-up his statements.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this is the client that’s most difficult to manage. First of all be sure that you are always well-prepared and that you have all the possible information. You will need a lot of statistics to support your ideas. You will also need a lot of tact in dealing with someone that “has all the right answers”. Don’t let your ego stand in your way, it will only make things worst.

 

The silent/apathetic client

It’s the client that shuts down communication, building a wall around him. He doesn’t like complicated situations (well, who really does?) and thinks that silence can make them go away. How to act?

First of all, “patience is a virtue”. To make your client talk you will need to ask the right questions and take the time to listen. Really listen. Encourage him to tell you what he thinks about the venue or caterer that you have selected. Praise every good idea that your client comes up with and ask for advice. Make him feel important and you will see a higher level of involvement from him. Communication is the only way to build a strong relationship with a ‘silent client’.

Difficult clients can be one’s worst nightmare, but they can also make us go the extra mile. Not every difficult client is, in fact, a difficult client. Because sometimes the problem is not with them, it’s with us.

Unfortunately, there will be times when you will just feel that things aren’t going to work for you and your client. If you ever feel that it would just be better to let your client go you should read this fabulous article first. 

How to use Facebook to promote your event management organization

“If you’re not on Facebook, you don’t exist.”

In my opinion, this is definitely false; I know many people who don’t have Facebook accounts and still have a very active social life (ok, maybe not so many, but I know quite a few). The real question is: it is possible for a business to exist without being present on Facebook? I don’t really know.

scrabble letters writing Facebook

But the fact is that Facebook can be a real game-changer, offering access to over 2 billion people around the world.

And I think it’s great if you are an event planner because it helps connect with so many potential attendees.

How to promote your event management business on Facebook? There are many ideas that could work so I am going to present you the basics of what you should do.

Create a page for your events.

Create a Facebook company page. It’s the first thing that you should do, although there are ways to promote your business on FB without actually having a page(but it will cost you). Facebook is sometimes used as a search engine so it’s in your best interest to offer relevant information for those looking. Use a relevant profile picture so people will recognize your brand and, very important, don’t let the “About” section blank.

Let’s say you plan a large annual music festival; use your logo as a profile picture, so people will associate your FB page with your festival from the first second. For the cover photo, a photo of people having fun at your events works great.

Share content

Although the number of followers that see your organic posts has declined in the last few years (so that you will need to put some money in it) it’s still important to share content on your page. Used as a search engine FB will redirect people to your page and a neglected one won’t do you any good. Create quality content for your followers but also use content created by your partners. Planning a festival? Share videos of the artist that will perform. Conference? I’m sure the main speakers would love it if you would share some of their viral posts. But remember that short posts with graphic content perform best on Facebook.

Frequency is important

As on all social media channels, FB also requires you to post with a certain frequency in order to stay “top of mind” with your followers.  But be aware that posting too often can do you more harm than good. It seems that there is a tight connection between your number of followers and how frequent you should post (once or more times a day), you can find out more about this here.

Reward your followers

A great way to show appreciation to your followers is to set up exclusive promotions,  only for them. Generate a discount code available for a certain period of time; offer free T-shirts to your most engaged followers; set up a contest with a substantial prize involved (I am not referring to the “like, share and tag” type of contests as I am not a big fan of them).

Create an event on Facebook

Another great way to create some buzz is by creating a public event on the platform. People can share public events, invite friends to attend and, most important, hit the “Interested” or “Going” buttons. This way the event will become visible to the FB friends of those that interact with it, helping you reach a greater number of possible attendees.  Offer as many information as you can, as FB has an algorithm that recommends events to users based on interests and behaviors.

Promote your event with Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are a great way to promote your events. Before starting a campaign you can select your goals for the campaign (as app installs, conversions, brand awareness, reach, traffic etc) and then the targeted audience. The really great part is that Facebook helps you define your audience by both geographical and demographical criteria. You can create your audience by location ( the city in which they live), sex, age, interest; you can choose if your Ads reach your followers and/or their friends. This is a great info that can increase your conversion rate if you use ads to sell tickets for your events (as new clients are more likely to buy tickets for events where their Facebook friends will attend).

P.s. as I said at the beginning of this article you can use Facebook without a page – with Ads that are linked directly to your website, but I think that it works better when you are present on the platform.

As said before, I don’t know if it is impossible for you to make it without being online. I really don’t. But I see on a daily basis how event management businesses use it to reach their attendees and sponsors. I see how technology offers you the chance to sell tickets all over the world and have instant access to your revenues. I see how it changes the whole world.

Use email marketing to boost your event management business

39 years ago the first mass email was sent, and the results were amazing. Starting that moment email marketing caught everyone’s attention and even though what worked a few years ago doesn’t work anymore, email is still one of the most used channels for marketing. And this article is meant to show you how a strong email marketing strategy can support your event management business and why you should use this powerful marketing tool.

email marketing BLOG

One of the main reasons for which it’s so used is that it is easily measurable: a report from MillwardBrown Digital states that marketers find email marketing as the easiest marketing channel to measure ROI for. Another significant reason is that while social media channels have 100% ownership over your followers (and your reach can be affected by an unannounced algorithm change) emails give you absolute power; those people gave you their email addresses and you can reach them as long as the internet is still out here.

But besides these two reasons, email marketing has many more advantages than you should profit from:

Helps you save time and money

Email marketing is cost-effective itself, but it can also help you reduce costs with printed materials that you now use. Ok, maybe you have some old-fashion clients that still prefer to touch their birthday cards or the discount vouchers, but for the rest of them you can use emails and reduce the printing costs. You can also automate emails so you use your time for other activities that help your business.

Another way to monetize your email influence is by offering space for companies to brand your email template. It’s an unobtrusive way to promote your partners and it’s easy to see the results of your campaigns.

Increases brand awareness

It is crucial to keep your customers engaged, and also it is crucial maintaining a strong connection with your subscribers in order to make them buy. Studies reveal that prospects need more than 4 online interactions before buying a product (or service), so you see why is crucial to have rhythmic interactions with your (future) customers.

It’s easy to educate your clients

By constant communication, you can educate your customers so they will be able to use all the benefits that you offer.Maybe you plan your annual festival but, for the first time, you will use NFC technology for cashless payments. If you have the email addresses of your customers (if you used a smart tool to sell tickets, you have them) you can educate them on how to use NFC. You can put up a trigger-based set of emails so when someone buys a ticket automatically receives a “Thank you” email, followed by another email that offers indispensable information on how NFC works.Trigger-based emails (that are automatically sent based on different actions performed by customers) have the highest open rate, so make sure that you use them.

You can (and must) segment your subscribers

Segmentation is a very powerful marketing tool that we strongly recommend you to use. It helps you to ensure that every one of your subscribers receives relevant information (as mentioned before if you send a lot of irrelevant emails your subscribers will start to unfollow you). Assuming that you hold a conference twice a year follow up should be segmented separately for each event; let’s call them conference A conference B. It’s unprofessional to send a thank you email for attending conference A to someone who wasn’t there. If one event is focused on medicine and the other on marketing what is relevant for a segment of your audience is irrelevant for the other segment. So make sure that you provide useful emails for your two different groups of attendees.

Maybe you hold a music festival that groups different types of music; let’s say you have an indie rock stage, an electronic stage and one for reggae. Although your attendees want to enjoy the festival experience, each one will be more interested in one type of music. Use your registration form and ask them what stage they prefer and segment your guest into 3 categories based on their music preferences. Keep them up to date with relevant info from their field of interest.

Of course, for general info regarding access and on-site activities you can use only one newsletter.

Email marketing is easily measurable

As I said before, another reason for which email marketing is so used is that it offers you easy access to data. You can see who opened your email, which links are clicked, who forwarded your mail, which emails bounced, unsubscribers and much more. This is great because it offers you a lot of hints on how to adapt your message.

Nathan Hangen, the creator of Ignitiondeck, offers a great piece of advice: “If they’re leaving after a certain autoresponder email, then re-work it. If they’re leaving after marketing messages, then re-work the way you present offers. If they’re leaving early on in your funnel, then you need to fix your original call to action so that it’s in harmony with what you’re sending.”

As you see, email marketing is a great marketing tool if used wisely. But you must keep in mind that, on a daily basis, the average office worker receives about 92 emails, 16 of which are spam (link report radicati.com). No one wakes up hoping that their day will be full of unsolicited spam messages so the first important step when creating an email marketing campaign is to obtains permission to email your future customers. The second is to provide quality information, otherwise, you will become just another unread email.

p.s.make sure that your registration form contains an email field and do ask for permission to send informative emails.

How to reduce queues during festivals

HELLO

Festivals are becoming bigger and bigger every day; some good examples are Coachella, Tomorrowland, Mawazine etc., which are hosting hundred of thousands of guests every festival. The festivals are getting upgraded while their popularity is increasing. Organizers are bringing only A list artists, increasing the number of stages, accommodating more attractions and partners; the overall experience is getting better and better every year.

Festivals are becoming bigger every year but their are also increasing their prices accordingly

Not only the festivals are getting bigger, additionally they are becoming more expansive too. Guests spend between 50 to 500 euro to attend such kind of event and their expectations have increased exponentially. Most of the crowd which is attending festivals is composed of Millennials which consider that experiences are more important than things.

In this times, when people appreciate experiences more rather than valuables, it is important to do everything possible to fulfill this need and create a flawless and remarkable experiences.

The most recurring issues that usually arises within festivals is queuing; nobody likes to waste their time waiting in line, however it always happens.

The lines can’t be 100% avoided, though, there are a few practices which will reduce them considerably.

One of the most popular practice which is becoming rapidly adopted by most of the festivals are the NFC wristbands. Through the NFC wristbands, event planners are trying to offer a higher event experience making it more convenient, secure and transparent.

Visitors can top-up money on their wristbands at any point of the event, pay without queuing in lines – everything just with a simple tap while event organizers benefit of transparency and complete control with real time reports over all sales.

The wristband is synced with a specific ticket category which allows the visitors to access all their designated areas more easily and if entitled receive perks such as T-shirts, free drinks, etc.

Additionally with the help of the NFC chip, the wristband can be used to create a new level of interactions, such as: Treasure Hunts and challenges, rate favorite products or shows, save playlists, check geolocation etc.

Since 2015 the NFC integrated wristbands started to become popular within the events’ world. If back then guests were complaining about wristbands’ failures which left them unable to buy food or drinks, today they do work smoothly and are reducing considerably the queue.

No more queue for food and drinks, but how about the registration process. When attendees arrive at the event, they need to change their ticket into the NFC wristband. Unfortunately most of the attendees are complaining having to stay a few hours in line to get their wristband; it is of course a big turn-off, when the pre-event excitement is killed by a huge waiting time.

Trying to be on-top of the situation, event planners are already finding solutions to combat this huge registration lines.

Event planners are always trying to find solutions to reduce queue

Big events(e.g., Coachella) are shipping the NFC wristband directly to guests, right after the ticket is purchased. Guests receive precise instructions which they need to follow in order to configure their wristband from home. Also when arriving at the event’s premises, it is mandatory to have it already attached around their right wrist. In this way, guests can enter directly, without having to stay in line to do their registration. This practice turned out to be successful and diminishing the lines considerably.

The NFC wristbands represent an important milestone in the process of reducing queues within festivals

What are the biggest benefits when using the NFC wristbands?

  • Visitors tend to spend 15-30%more
  • Speeds up purchases & reduces queues
  • Minimize cash handling
  • Captures all sales and audience insights
  • Control and transparency
  • More interaction within the event

It is interesting how in a short period of time so many uses have been found for the NFC chips. With the use of a simple chip, attendees can do almost everything with it. Their Social Media profile can be synchronized and all their data stored and access after the event. An NFC wristband is the only thing you need in order to attend a festival. No need to worry for your wallet, money or mobile phone, you only need to be worried of not having enough fun.

5 events that gathered more people than expected

5 events tblog2

“Be careful what you wish for”, states an old saying. That’s probably because we have a habit of not preparing for what we wish for, but this is just my opinion. After taking a good look at the event management scene I observed that #eventprofs tend to wish some things more than others. Of course, every event is unique, but there are some frequent desires that you can’t overlook.

One of these wishes is to create a meaningful event that will enrich the lives of those taking part. Another desire is that people actually take part in the events, and it’s perfectly normal; you want people to enjoy something that involved commitment and hard work (this is why we wanted to help and published an article about how you can use Snapchat and Instagram to promote your event).

The question that inspired this piece is “are there ever too many people at an event?” (and I wasn’t considering political or religious events). Then I started documenting sports and entertainment events where the crowds exceeded expectations. There are many events that gathered enormous crowds and unfortunately not all of there are “happy-ending stories”. Today I want to share with you 5 of them that caught my attention (I really can’t tell why these ones and not others, and I hope you will find these cases as interesting as I did).

Be prepared. Attendance can exceed the expectations

1994, Rio de Janeiro. Officials from Rio wanted a big event that would help tourism re-flourish. Rod Stewart’s new year’s eve concert and the midnight fireworks gathered over 4.000.000 people on the famous Copacabana Beach (according to Guinness World Records; others say that there were about 3.500.000 people on the beach, but it’s hard to have an exact number in these circumstances). Just think that Croatia ( a Central European country) has a little over 4.000.000 citizens and you will truly understand the size of that crowd. I think it’s safe to say that the crowd exceeded the organizer’s expectations.

1988, East Berlin. It seems that only half of the nearly 300.000 people that gathered for Bruce Springsteen’s concert actually bought a ticket. Millions watched it on public television. Authorities understood that it was almost impossible to stop over a quarter of a million people that were storming the gates so everyone had the chance to see the live performance (ticket or no ticket). There’s a myth that every east-german between the ages of 18 and 45 saw the concert – live or on TV. What would you have done in a similar situation?

1950, Rio de Janeiro. 173,850 spectators paid to see Brazil against Uruguay in the World Cup’s Final, but rumors are that almost 210.000 people crammed into Maracana on that day of July. It was the first World Cup event after 1938 (the Second World War canceled the 1942 and 1946 editions). Everyone was so sure that Brazil will win that they even composed a new song…”Brasil Os Vencedores” (Brazil the Winner), ready to be played right after the final whistle. Brazil lost 2-1 that day and that great crowd was reduced to silence.  Alcides Ghiggia, the scorer of Uruguay’s winning goal, once said: “Only three people silenced Maracana: the Pope, Frank Sinatra and me”.

1979, Great Britain. The Knebworth Festival brought Led Zeppelin back in England after 4 years and also brought a large number of people to the venue situated near the village of Knebworth. There was a dispute about the number of attendees and the two involved parties came out with two different opinions: 104.000 (tickets sold) vs over 200.000 (attendees). This is how I found out that at a concert an acre accommodates about 3000 people (a useful information for someone involved in the event management business). Today an RFID wristband would count every single attendee while you take a nap.

2013, Russia. Rock on Volga festival gathered almost 700.000 in 2013 when the German band Rammstein was the main headliner. Known as one of the largest one-day festivals in the world, Rock on Volga stunned everyone by (almost) doubling its size from one year to another. A rise in attendance numbers was expected but the crowd gathered to see Rammstein was beyond anyone’s imagination (I noticed that Russians tend to enjoy rock concerts more than others, there are a few concerts that gathered really spectacular crowds).   

The world changes, and although technology makes it easier for us manage big events, it’s becoming harder and harder to gather such large crowds (although not impossible). There is a little bit of romance in this stories, but there are also many security issues. Unfortunate history taught us that accidents may occur and that large crowds are hard to manage so if you are planning a big event, learn from the past and prepare for the unexpected. Great crowds are a bliss, but you have to be ready to manage them.