Maugie Lyons: Coming up rosy

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Event management sorts out the men from the boys, so to speak. Maugie Lyons, head of commercial operations, Royal Horticultural Halls, explains…

Why is it that so many organisers look at event management through rose tinted spectacles? Over the years that I’ve worked in the events industry, I have come across many people who think event management is simply booking a venue at the right price for the right date with suitable theming and bolt-on services – but the reality of managing any kind of event is unfortunately not so simple.

An event needs planning, preparation and scheduling right from the very beginning. And even more importantly, before planning, you need to set a budget. Every good organiser should have a decent understanding of budgets and their limitations. In my opinion, it’s the secret to a successful event and as equally important as understanding the requirements of your guests.

The best piece of advice I can give is keep a tight rein on your project – never leave anything to chance. I am absolutely staggered when I hear stories about managers demanding to know why they have to pay a separate lighting bill as they assume it’s included. Check, check and check again. Read all the clauses of your contract thoroughly. Claiming ignorance will get you nowhere! It’s often the unsuspecting add-ons like bottled water and Internet connections, which most people expect will cost nothing, that end up crippling the budget.

I know there is a certain glam-factor about working in events, but as with all professions, there are also mundane bits, which at least prevent us from becoming prima donnas! Nobody enjoys checking the small print, but doing so can help you avoid a multitude of problems.

Communication is key. If the venue you have chosen comes with a team – exploit them! They are the ones who will help you pull it off. If you have a vision, they will pull out all the stops to make sure you achieve it.

Event management isn’t all champagne, flowers and partying. But if you avoid falling into the complacency trap, the end results can be way more rewarding than all of the above.