Business events generate revenue and raise awareness, but mistakes and delays risk negative public perception. Event planning is a fine art. Not only does it require a degree of creative problem solving, good people skills and excellent multi-tasking abilities – it also must involve the facilities management team.
The perils of poor planning
The most common event planning mistake, according to the Institute of Event Management, is failure to have the right people in place with the right skills. The FM team often gets overlooked as they are not part of the event front line, but hold considerable responsibility for its smooth running. This is especially true for out-of-hours events, where requirements deviate from the usual building procedure. For example, in large public spaces like galleries or museums, lighting is often controlled via timers to suit operational requirements and provide energy savings. Overlooking this factor could plunge an event into darkness and cause chaos.
CAFM (computer-aided facilities management) software can be used to co-ordinate all event activities, whatever the scale. Requests can be made via the help desk or directly via a self-service screen, which gives an event planner ring-fenced access to the CAFM system, allowing access to certain functions and keeping other information secure and off limits. Through self-service, resources like catering or porterage can be booked, providing the option to specify exact requirements such as timing, dietary requirements and location. The system can also accommodate cost codes and cross charging where budgets are allocated by department. A confirmation email is automatically sent to provide a record of the bookings to avoid any confusion.
Once the event plans are in place, the CAFM system will ensure that operatives are allocated appropriately. For example, a lift engineer or security guard required at an event can be marked as busy in the resource calendar for the duration of the event, preventing them from being called to other jobs. CAFM can also streamline visitor management by providing self-service check-in functionality. Check-in screens loaded onto computers or tablets at the reception area allow guests to find their own name quickly and easily to mark themselves present. This reduces the need for additional staffing, reduces queues and bottlenecks as multiple guests can check-in at the same time, and as this information is stored on a central database (as opposed to paper registrations), reports can be easily produced for security or health and safety reasons.
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