In our experience working with thousands of events, we have seen the pain and heartbreak when something goes wrong for an event. It may be an event canceling problem or a minute detail that falls through. No matter the hiccup, how you handle it often speaks louder than the issue itself.
In the recent documentary “FYRE, The Greatest Party that Never Happened”, the event was promoted to be a luxury festival experience but when all the marketed promises fell through, the festival refused to change the attendees’ expectations, or worse yet, they refused to cancel the failing event altogether. Before they knew it, they had a fraudulent event on their hands that ended with one of the greatest event failures in history.
Now, of course, we have no doubt your motives are far purer, but if you don’t handle event changes well or prepare all the critical details, your event can fall down this slippery slope of failure as well.
We gathered 8 lessons you can learn from the FYRE Festival to ensure you never end up on the bad side of a Netflix documentary.
1. Lock in Your Venue
Before you ever put together a marketing plan, launch a social media strategy, or send out an email blast, lock down your venue with a contract. A change in venue is the kiss of death for an event! Don’t find yourself in this terrible bind.
2. Set Critical Details in Stone
Have every mission-critical detail solidified before you go live with ticket sales. It is crucial you leave nothing to chance or last-minute planning. In addition to the venue, lock in details like talent, speakers, vendors, sponsors, etc.
3. Set a Realistic Budget
Set a budget that you can afford. Don’t sell the potential and best case scenarios, sell what know you can deliver without a doubt. As you set in place the critical details mentioned above, this will also force you into dealing with your budget and ultimately setting the right price for your event.
4. Promote with Integrity
Don’t promote what you can’t deliver. Simply put, deception is bad. Be responsible in your marketing, and don’t promote what will not be experienced. Obviously, you want to attract attendees to your event but in doing so don’t get lost in selling an image or experience that will not be possible to attain.
5. Update, Update, Update
When things change, inform your attendees as soon as possible! The longer you wait, the bigger the mess to clean up will be. Always best to err on over-communicating!
6. Don’t Lie
It’s as simple as that. Tell the truth and be transparent at all times even if it costs you your pride. When people are deceived, they are unforgiving. Conversely, when you are honest, people are pretty reasonable.
7. Listen to Wise Counsel
Heed the advice of trusted and wise people. You might be too thick in the weeds of the event to have a clear perspective, especially if multiple people are saying the same thing. Hearing a concern over and over again probably means you should consider the advice.
8. Be Willing to Adjust
Don’t double down on mistakes. If things repeatedly are going wrong, the worst thing is to double down on your wrong decisions. Stop, adjust, and change course.
The last thing event promoter wants is for something to go wrong but when it inevitably does, have the courage to be honest, adjust the expectations of your attendees and pull off an event that attendees will love!