Here are a few easy-to-forget items that should be on every event planner's checklist. The great news is that they are easy to implement using technology such as calendar reminders and smart phone notifications.
It is easy to be so caught up with preparations for an event that you skip reading the morning paper or watching the headlines. It is imperative that you are aware of any local or national emergencies that could impact your event or travel. Read the local headlines for the city you are producing your event in. Find out what the local buzz is and you will be a much more effective conversationalist and networker. If you are speaking, local insight will help you connect with your audience.
2. Time Zone
Thankfully we live in a time where our phones generally sync to the proper time zones as we travel. Be sure to go over your travel plans with time zone changes in mind. Also be sure you are always in tune with Daylight Savings time changes - seems simple, yet, easy to overlook when your mind is crowded with event details.
You no doubt already use a GPS or trip planning app. Be sure that you take into account rush hour and construction zones. It is wise to have two sources of directions - for our touring show we generally print a hardcopy of MapQuest or Google Maps in addition to programming our GPS in the event that one fails us. Old fashioned as it may sound, we also keep an atlas with our gear if needed. And, if we are really going overboard, we'll stop at AAA and get a Trip Tick. Apps like Waze are also helpful for rerouting around accidents or congested areas. TIP: Remind yourself to charge your devices the night before a trip if you are depending on them for directions.
Check weather conditions along your route and adjust your leaving time accordingly. You will never regret knowing yesterday that it is going to rain tomorrow. This will help you make necessary adjustments for your event such as having umbrellas on hand to escort guests to the door, or have absorbant mats put down to prevent slipping on hard flooring, or hiring a tent to cover outdoor displays, etc. It will also help you know what clothes to pack.
You were so responsible: left early, arrived on time, but alas, you cannot find a parking space! You will be so happy with yourself if you map out parking in advance. Often venues can arrange for reserved parking or will allow you to park in a loading zone area if notified ahead of time. Make sure you know if you need a special pass, code, secret handshake (ha ha) to enter. You can also check out the various parking apps that will help you compare parking costs. Wear comfortable shoes in case you have a distance to walk. If you have much to unload, be sure to bring a luggage cart or pack in cases with wheels.
6. Printed Contact List
Nothing is worse than a drained or lost cellphone that contains ALL of your event contacts. Make a list of names and phone numbers of your client(s), venue, vendors, hotel, etc. and keep it with you.
7. Early Check-in
Upon arriving at your hotel, you are told your room is not ready till 3pm and you have 2 hours to kill. No rest for the weary. Early check-in is often accommodated when requested in advance and will make all the difference in allowing you to rest and freshen up before your event.
8. Event Website
In the days leading up to your event, it is wise to periodically check your website or ticketing platform to be sure all is in working order. I recall one event that produced such high web traffic that it shut our site down without my knowing it. Now, I don't know all the technical jargon, but I have evermore been committed to logging on and making sure all is up and running.
Please feel free to share your checklist suggestions - best wishes on your next event!
Lacy Miller is an artist manager for SSL Entertainment and entertainer in The Gracie & Lacy touring show based in Charleston, SC. www.GracieAndLacy.com