Sustainability Steps For Event Professionals During COVID-19 Pandemic
It’s safe to say that sustainability is at the top of mind for all event professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially given that many clients are pressing pause on events for the immediate future. We’re all looking to stay afloat, and setting up your business to weather the storm has never been a bigger priority.
As we use this time to evaluate internal systems and processes, it’s crucial that we also strengthen our event business’s foundation as well to ensure that we can stick around for the long run.
Event planning checklist tips for long-term stability
Right now, we’re seeing event planning companies tighten up when it comes to their finances and seeking out resources to help them make it out to the other side. However, this is a great opportunity to think one step further and think about where you can be making adjustments that will benefit you in the years to come.
Trimming down your budget to strictly cover essentials is the perfect place to start if you haven’t already done so. “I’m focused on cutting expenses and making sure any services or products I consume right now are truly beneficial. Our team is focused on marketing and PR to make sure we are being seen in the marketplace and staying in contact with our clients and other best referral sources so we are top of mind for any leads that are coming in,” says Wendy Kidd of Each and Every Detail.
On the other side of the coin, understand that everyone else is trying to do the same, so pushing sales during this time can hurt you rather than helping you. Aleya Harris, owner of Flourish Marketing notes, “It may be many people’s first reaction during a time of crisis to press the hard sell. I get it – you are panicking and are looking for ways to support your business through uncertainty. I encourage you to have your emotional response, then take a deep breath.
Right now is the time to focus on the top and middle of your marketing funnel, not the bottom. That means you should be giving away helpful information in exchange for email addresses to build your email list and building relationships with your current audience.”
Extending helpful resources without profit in mind will show that you’re an invaluable asset, and you’ll build a reputation for yourself as someone that’s calm and knowledgeable under pressure. This is exactly the type of person that will continue to attract business.
What you should be focusing on now
It’s never too early to map out a recovery plan, especially with longevity in mind. There are plenty of actionable things you can be doing right now to put your best foot forward, whether you’re seasoned event planning veterans or newer event management companies in the industry.
Take a look at how clients and colleagues might view your event business. Are you making sure that your website and social media are updated? Is your support team easily accessible to help navigate a postponed event?
Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates says that they’ve put extra effort into these tasks. “We’re taking this time to update our website, our social media coverage, and strategies, and also reaching out to all of our clients to offer as much help as possible. Our ultimate strategy right now is to maintain and grow relationships and be as supportive as possible.”
Continuing education is equally essential when it comes to setting yourself and your business up for success. Better yet, you’ll be well-equipped in the event that a similar crisis ever arises again. Maddox continues: “Keep yourself busy and learning during this time, find ways to improve your craft, learn new talents. When we are all let out of the gates again how will you have used this time to improve your business and your customer experience?”
Why communication is key
Perhaps the most notable quality of a resilient event professional is one that’s present and communicative, especially during times of high stress. We’re all navigating this time together, and it’s make-or-break for many of us.
In the midst of postponed or cancelled events, clients will be looking to you to help them move forward and come to a solution. How you handle these exchanges can greatly shift their opinion of you and your business, so it’s best to handle every conversation with patience and grace.
Additionally, our friends and fellow industry pros need any support they can get. Lisa Anhaiser of LBL Event Rentals advises, “The best thing we can do to move forward is to maintain open communication and remain vigilant and adaptable as the world changes. When we begin hosting, planning and supplying events, the world will be a different place and there is no guarantee that this will be the last time. This will be a test for all small businesses and the ability to survive this will mean a stronger future in the face of crises.”
Every move that you make now will impact your future, and these steps to sustainability will pay off ten-fold.
Meghan Ely is the owner of the wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.