Whether you’re managing an indoor or an outdoor event, a lot of work goes into the planning of it.
Generally, outdoor events tend to be a bit more complex. Often, this is due to the lack of existing infrastructure at event sites. The weather can also bring additional challenges. Nonetheless, regardless of the size and location, planning an event is not for the faint-hearted.
And because of all this hard work, you want your event to be the best! You want:
- everything to go smoothly on event day(s)
- no unexpected surprises
- to meet attendees’ expectations
So, how do you meet these KPI’s?
Well, the first thing you should do is create an Event Management Plan. But what is an EMP exactly?
What is an Event Management Plan?
An Event Management Plan is a document that describes every element of your event. In particular from an operational perspective. It provides a clear plan on how to execute the event and deliver a successful outcome.
Therefore, the aim of this plan is to prevent disasters. Both in the lead up to an event and on event day.
A good EMP will provide answers to the following questions:
- What is the event about?
- Who is in charge / what is everyone’s role?
- What will the event look like?
- What is required to run the event safely?
- How will you facilitate the requirements?
- What precautions are in place to prevent issues?
The above might not look like much. But I can tell you, there is a lot required to run an event safely! Hence, an EMP is generally quite a lengthy document.
Lack of a clear plan for your event can literally result in a disaster. Have you ever seen the documentary ‘Fyre Festival – The Greatest Party That Never Happened’? Well, those guys definitely did not have an event management plan in place! Or any other plan, for that matter…
It’s about a festival in the US which was an absolute disaster from start to finish. As an event manager I was literally sweating in my seat watching it. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend you do – it’s a great doco!
What should be included in an EMP?
The event management plans we produce for our company (3vent Productions) are always extremely extensive. We specialise in the operational side of events, and mainly outdoor events. Hence, a sound EMP is an absolute MUST in our business.
After reading our EMP, I have often heard stakeholders say. “Wow, this is the most detailed EMP I have ever seen!”. And that’s exactly what we like to hear 😊
Therefore, a good EMP should include the following topics:
- Event Overview – this is where you describe the purpose of the event. Include event details, expected event attendees, etc.;
- Responsibilities – this section should outline who is part of the organising committee. It should list everyone’s responsibility to ensure everyone is on the same page;
- Event Approvals – especially outdoor events require a lot of approvals. Whether from local councils, venues, or other bodies. Include proof of your approvals because without them you don’t have an event;
- Insurances – another important factor in hosting an event. Make sure that your event has proper insurance. You also need to check there is sufficient cover;
- Site Plan or Layout – this is a map illustrating the layout of your event. This map should be detailed and outline all the event elements;
- Event Services – what services does the event require? What event infrastructure is present at the venue? Do you need additional infrastructure/services to meet the events requirements?
- Access & Egress – this is something that’s often overlooked when planning an event. Insufficient planning in this area can lead to serious implications on event day. Especially at outdoor events. At a minimum, you’ll need to consider the following. How are attendees coming to your event? What does your parking management look like? How will you manage pedestrian flow within your event space?
- Incident Management – this is where you discuss the hazards and risks of the event. And most importantly, your strategies to minimise incidents. This section should include a Medical Plan, fire management, lost & found, and incident reporting. For outdoor events, you should really have a dedicated Risk Management Plan in place. A dedicated Emergency Management Plan is generally also required for outdoor events;
- Wet Weather – obviously this is only applicable to outdoor events. But certainly something you need to consider in-depth. What are your procedures in case of wet weather or storms? What are the cancellation procedures?
- Public Health – how will you cater to the needs of your event attendees? Have you considered temporary food stalls? Will there be service of alcohol at your event? What amenities are provided? Will there be live animals at your event? Are there provisions for hydration, shelter/shade, noise management? A dedicated Noise Management Plan could also be a good addition to your planning. Especially, for larger-scale outdoor events;
- Waste Management – how will you manage the waste generated at your event? What existing waste management infrastructure is in place? Are you bringing in additional waste or skip bins? A dedicated Waste Management Plan could be handy. Especially, for larger-scale outdoor events;
- Event Safety – a hugely important element to an event, this requires some serious planning. Here, you should describe the procedures in place to manage accessibility. A security plan and crowd control management should also be discussed.
- Promotion & Marketing – without it, your event will probably lack attendance. Who is organizing the marketing? What promotions are you planning? Where will it be advertised?
- Entertainment – in this section you should write a basic overview of all the entertainment at your event. Entertainment can include live music (stage) and shows. It can also include kids’ activities, inflatables, interactive activities, meet & greets, etc.
Some event managers also like to include budgets in their event management plan. You can choose to include whatever you wish. However, at 3vent we have always kept budgets separate from the EMP. We believe the event budget is something between the client and the event organizer only. General event stakeholders do not need to know the event costs.
The focus of an EMP should be on the operational delivery of the event. This is what will prevent disasters. If the event operations are solid, disasters should be few and far between.
5 reasons why you should have an EMP?
I’m pretty sure that by now you’re aware of the importance of an EMP. But just in case. Let’s discuss some of the main benefits of an EMP in your event planning.
- Build Confidence
Firstly, a good EMP will give your client, boss and/or stakeholders confidence in your event management skills. Ultimately, they are the ones paying for the event. Therefore, they would want to know their investment is in good hands.
Secondly, having an EMP will boost your own confidence. It’ll give you peace of mind that everything is sorted. You’ll probably sleep better for it too. Because we all know events can cause many sleepless nights!
2. Get Approvals Sooner
As mentioned, you need a lot of approvals to host an event. Especially for outdoor events.
Getting approval to run your event can occasionally be a lengthy process. This depends on the complexity of the event. Including a detailed EMP within your event application will benefit the approval process. In some cases, it can even speed the process up.
3. Find Loopholes
Writing an EMP will force you to think about every element of your event. As a result, you will find any loopholes (if any) in your planning. You’ll also come across things you have not thought of before.
Discovering any flaws in the planning stage will enable you to rectify them before the big day. In turn, this will result in fewer operational issues on event day.
4. Cross your T’s and Dot your I’s
This follows on from point 3. Going through your event with a fine-tooth comb will make sure you have your T’s crossed and I’s dotted.
By creating your EMP you would have:
- analysed what infrastructure/services are needed;
- thought about any issues or hazards that could arise;
- implemented preventive measures to minimize risks.
Of course, there can be challenges that pop-up throughout the event. But as with anything, preparation is key. And if your preparation is done properly, your chances of success will skyrocket.
5. Central Documentation
Lastly, having everything documented in one place simply makes things easy.
Of course, you will probably require additional plans to run an event. But the basics should all be included within your EMP.
This should, at a minimum, also include copies of your:
- Site plan
- Approval letters
- Insurance certificates
- Traffic management plan (if any)
- Stallholder list
Need some help with your EMP? Why not start with our Event Management Plan Template!