Event planning is notoriously difficult, with hundreds of things to consider and a thousand things that could go wrong. When you add in the complexity of planning an event in another country, the challenges increase ever more.
Here are a few key tips to avoid the common event planning mistakes which can derail your event abroad.
Failing to maintain contact with your vendors and venues
One of the essential steps to ensure a successful event, either at home or abroad, is to plan early and get everything sorted and booked as soon as possible. However, a danger with this proactive approach is that communication with your suppliers can then lessen as the event approaches -- which is actually a time when you should be speaking more.
This is particularly crucial when planning an event abroad, as the chances are that your only form of communication will be over the phone or via email. When planning an event abroad, those at your venue become your eyes and ears and so it's vital that you speak to them as much as possible. Great venues will be proactive in contacting you to give you updates and assure you that everything is on track. But if you haven't heard from them, don't be afraid to call.
If decisions are made while speaking on the phone, then make sure you send a subsequent email to recap what you decided and who has agreed to do what. Not only does this help you both to remember what's been agreed, the email can also be crucial later if you need proof of a decision should anything go wrong. Knowing your local resources
Hosting a successful event means knowing the best suppliers to go to, who will provide you with the very best materials. From printers to couriers and from florists to caterers, an event typically draws in a lot of services from a range of businesses. When you don't know the country well or are planning the event from afar, having someone who is based onsite to assist you is crucial.
Event spaces, such as my venue, London's The Brewery
, the U.K.'s leading corporate event venue, provides just that. The Brewery's team of event managers can manage your entire event for you -- just tell us what you want to achieve and we will make it happen. From handling all aspects of planning to the on-the-day management, having an experienced team assisting you with your event planning is vital when hosting an event abroad. Not preparing for cultural or business differences of guests or locals
When planning an event abroad, it is crucial that you understand the rules and regulations of the country where you are going. For example, some countries have very strict dress codes with regards to women's clothing or hair, and some insist that men always wear a suit even in hot weather. To avoid any issues, it is important that those requirements are understood from the outset and then are communicated to those attending your event.
Also, consider the ways in which different countries organize their days, as they may differ from the way you currently operate. For example, you may find breakfast is served at a different time or that business ceases at a certain time of the day. Find this out early and avoid having scheduling headaches further down the line. Mistaking exchange rates
While it can seem like an obvious issue -- that the country you are visiting has a different currency --you may not realize how this can affect you. At the outset, you will need to establish with your venue what currency you will be charged in. Some venues might accept payment in your native currency or might only accept payment in their own currency.
Furthermore, you need to understand the tax regulation in the country your event will be held in and what additional costs will then be added to your bill. This could be as high as around 20 percent of the final bill, so it's essential to understand this from the beginning or all your budgeting could be out.
Finally, while you will get an initial quote for the cost of your event, you'll need to work out if that will be the final quote or if it will be subject to currency fluctuations. If you'll be invoiced at the conclusion of your event based on the current exchange rate then it is worth keeping 5 to 10 percent contingency funds available to cover any price increases. Simon Lockwood is creative director at The Brewery, a unique venue located in the heart of the city of London. With extensive experience in events, conferences, exhibitions and ceremonies it is the ideal venue for events in the U.K. Find out more today at www.thebrewery.co.uk.