Executive Vice President of Event Services at Convention Data Services, has over 30 years of experience in the tradeshow industry. ConventionDataServices.com
6 Tips to Keep an Event Functioning in Times of Crisis
In the fast-paced environment of planning and executing an event, any number of crises can arise, from a natural disaster to equipment failure or an interruption in internet connectivity.
With B2B exhibitions representing 39.2 percent of B2B marketing budgets in 2011,* the largest amount of any other marketing channel, the need to secure an event and the event’s data for your attendees is crucial. (*Source: CEIR: The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit Into The Overall Marketing Budget.)
Here are 6 steps you can take to minimize the risk at your next event:
1. Secure the Event Data
ü Choose a reliable registration company that incorporates data security into all applications and web site development to ensure that vulnerabilities don’t exist that would allow unauthorized access to the system.
2. Secure the Event Funds
Use CAPTCHA technology on all registration payment pages to secure and protect credit card numbers.
Use a company that is PCI Compliant to process your event funds — one that provides a secure credit card payment environment to avoid fraud and security threats to your event funds.
Also ensure that the company is SSAE16 Certificated, which is an in-depth, internationally recognized third-party auditing standard.
3. Supplement Data and Equipment for Increased Reliability
Perform nightly back-ups to avoid losing any critical data.
Build in contingencies to prepare and plan for deficiencies in onsite infrastructure.
Create multiple registration databases under one data management system.
4. Create and Implement Flexible Recovery Plans
Work with your registration company to create encrypted USB flash drives that hold the event databases with functioning onsite web pages. If there is no connectivity, the event is still operational.
Use tablets and smart phones as back-up devices. If computers are delayed in shipping, these mobile devices keep the show running.
5. Staffing Contingency Plans
Cross-train onsite staff, especially for specialized technical tasks. Cross-training allows staff to be deployed to areas that are busier, such as event set-up.
Train staff to identify, assess and solve an issue.
6. Communicate Often with Attendees
Rehearse questions that might arise and know the answers before they are asked.
Leverage technology, such as text messaging tools, to communicate important alerts to your attendees.
Work with the media; don’t hide.
It’s ok to say “I don’t know” as long as you follow up with the statement that you are researching the answer and give a timeframe for that answer.
Additionally, it is important to work with a registration company that has a strong relationship with the venues and decorators. In the event of a crisis, these resources can help with your plan to keep the event functioning.
Until recently, the opportunity to have a celebrity attend an event, attach themselves to a name-brand or endorse a certain product or idea was untouchable. The thought of paying a person to promote a product was seen as something only Fortune 500 companies could afford. Social media has changed all that with brands and businesses utilizing celebrity influencers to connect directly with their demographics and increase sales and profits.