Events offer a great opportunity for businesses to reach new audiences, connect with customers and accelerate revenue. But as we continue to navigate our new normal, there is an increasing strain on funding and resources and as a result, events teams are stretched far beyond their means.
To help release the pressure valve, we must scale our events and learn how to deliver more impactful (and repeatable) experiences with the fewer resources we have available. Below, we discuss how to do more with less so that you can ensure your team is as efficient as can be and that your events are back and better than ever.
Evaluate your resources
Eventbrite's Event Trends Report 2022 found that nearly 75% of global respondents feel optimistic about hosting events this year. That being said, we know that events teams are stretched and resources are still in such short supply. Your role is to first understand what resources you have available, and secondly to ensure that your team has everything they need to be able to do their jobs to the best of their ability, which will in turn help scale your programmes. There also needs to be alignment between your vision and your resources, so that you're not pushing your team too much.
Essentially, you need to make sure you have enough money and manpower to support the growth of your events. Some areas can get away with less manpower, but there are some you'll really need to focus on, such as logistics. Your logistics team needs to be a well-oiled machine that can roll out events en masse, and know exactly what's going where at what time.
For additional manpower on event day, try using volunteers. The AWS Summits often use volunteer students as wayfinders and hosts, which gives them experience and gives the events team a bit of a break! You could even use a flexible staffing option - see how Hire Space 360 can help you find the perfect extension of your team to run things on the ground. For additional financial resources, raise investment or lean on sponsorship to keep you within budget. Or, just do what you can with what you have, but make smarter choices.
Find out more about Hire Space 360.
Keep your business objectives in mind at all times
The next step in scaling your events is to have a clear and concise strategy. It's so important to understand where events fit into your overall business goals, as this will help you focus on the events that will have the most impact and enable you to effectively allocate your resources. You'll likely have specific goals for your external events, but consider why you're holding your internal events too, such as engaging your team and building morale.
When planning out your business objectives, take a blue sky approach - think about what you'd do if you had all the resources in the world, then scale that back to create realistic goals you can implement. For an integrated strategy, you can then plan out your events calendar with your team and make sure to answer these 2 questions:
- What are our events trying to achieve? Accelerate revenue? Generate new leads? Or maybe to tap into new audiences? You will only be able to deliver a successful event if you really get down to basics, define your objectives and fundamentally understand why you're holding them in the first place.
- Who is the target audience for each event?
Once you've answered these, you can then design the event in relation to your objectives. Adobe MAX is an example of an event that strongly prioritises the attendee experience over anything else, providing outstanding content for their customers year on year and ensuring brand loyalty, ultimately generating revenue. This event not only meets Adobe's business objectives but delivers a fantastic experience for their customers too.
Streamline your processes
To scale your events programme, you must first review all of your processes and work out how to maximise your team's operational efficiency. This goes for everything from budgeting to how you run your meetings, to communicating with stakeholders to internal role setting: every single team member should be able to look at a process and understand it instantly. Simplify everything! This will make it much easier to scale your event delivery in the long term.
One example is outsourcing venue and supplier sourcing. Finding the perfect venue and suitable suppliers can be a lengthy and costly process. With a little help, this is all managed for you and you won't have to spend hours trawling through endless options trying to find the right suppliers for you.
Consolidated billing is another area you can streamline to maximise your time and effort. Many large companies have a lot of hoops they have to jump through in order to onboard and pay new suppliers and partners. With Hire Space 360, we manage all the payments for you so you only have to onboard one supplier across your whole events programme - us!
Automate as much as possible
The less manual work your events team needs to do during the planning, delivery and evaluation process, the easier you'll find it to scale your events. Automating anything you can will help you save time and money by streamlining the planning process and making it more cost and time-efficient.
Map out the areas which are the most time-consuming in your current planning process and find ways to automate this using integrated platforms. You could automate website set-up, registration, ticketing, branded email confirmations, reminders and invites, floorplans, feedback... the list goes on. Once you've automated the bulk, you'll find it much quicker and easier to repeat the process for the next event by setting up templates consistent with your brand and objectives.
Document everything you do
As more people come on board and your events programme grows over time, it is essential that you document and record everything you do. Many businesses fall into the trap of keeping important information buried in people's inboxes and thus creating havoc when information is needed. Having one centralised, easy-to-access place where people can go to get visibility on every aspect of the project and share best practices will make it easier to 'copy and paste' for the next event, helping to scale the process and keep those objectives front of mind. You should be saving everything you might possibly need to refer to including risk assessments, critical paths, delegate terms and conditions, health and safety documents, and contingency plans.
Many events teams simply use Google Drive to record everything. Multiple people can access and edit documents and spreadsheets simultaneously, thus avoiding outdated documents and ensuring there is a clear record of all actions taken throughout the planning. Work management tools such as Asana are also helpful to lay out each task and assign to each team member.
Onboard trusted event partners
Finding suppliers you trust is a key cog in creating long-term events programmes. Building strong supplier relationships over time will mean you're in a better position to negotiate the best rates and get more bang for your buck. Not only can they save you money, but it can bring fresh perspectives and ideas into your planning process and help you create more rounded experiences for your audiences.
Whether you're looking for exciting catering options like Sixth Sense or Easy Gourmet, snazzy entertainment suppliers such as Stormont Entertainment, a reliable furniture partner such as City Furniture, or a stellar branding and production partner like B2 Live, there are so many suppliers out there to help you drive your events to success.
Explore our full range of trusted suppliers.
Utilise technology to maximise your success
Technology can be invaluable when it comes to scaling your events programmes. Whether you're planning a virtual event that requires an all-in-one platform, or an in-person event that requires virtual elements, there are a number of tools and platforms available that can help you manage your events more effectively and efficiently. It can be used to streamline processes internally, leverage your event impact and help you communicate more effectively with your delegates. But we are living in a saturated market, so make sure you take the time to research and find the best possible providers that would work with your budget and objectives.
Rather than using lots of platforms independently, integrate them together to build your own bespoke event tech stack instead. This can be a great option to ensure you're using the best tools on the market for the job and for creating a more rounded solution. Technology isn't just for planning either; you could take a leaf out of Samsung's book and add tech such as virtual reality or other types of gamification to really level up your attendee experience.
Analyse your data
Data is the key to understanding how successful your events have been and how successful they can be next time. When planning your events programme ensure you lay out specific SMART goals and define exactly how you're going to measure your chosen metrics. You can then analyse past data to identify mistakes, challenges and opportunities you faced with previous events, and then use this to really hone and tweak processes for the future to realign your events with your business objectives.
Sit down as a team and look at each metric one by one so you can understand what’s working and what’s not working. For example, if you got a low-profile keynote speaker in for free and people didn't interact or even attend the session, you'll know that you'll need to invest more resources to speaker sourcing or even paying for a higher-profile speaker that will draw in attendees and increase engagement next time.
If you don't feel you have the time or resources to dedicate to data analysis, consider an events management package which offers this as standard. You could even couple this with venue and supplier sourcing, consolidated billing, and flexible staffing to drive your events further and scale your programme with ease.
Growth brings risk. But ultimately, in order to grow and succeed in your events programmes, you'll need a strong event strategy and appropriately-assigned resources, as well as a system for re-evaluating past processes. With this, along with automated processes and data-driven insights, you'll be able to scale your programmes and deliver the greatest impact.
For more insights or to talk to one of our Hire Space 360 team about how we could help you with your events programmes, get in touch below.
Izzie brings a deep understanding of the events world to Hire Space, and keeps busy by writing lots of Hire Space and EventLAB content and managing the Hire Space social media presence.