Whether it’s arranging experiential set pieces or something like sourcing the right sound system it’s easy to see how things can go south if your roadshow isn’t prepared to the letter.
The logistics of an on the road event don’t just slot into place on their own; people, equipment, locations, and vehicles must all be prepared to ensure everything reaches its target destination.
Arranging a roadshow is never an easy task to undertake. Still, it’s always essential to ensure the experience exceeds the expectations of your attendees no matter how big or small it might be, while still adhering to the goals that your business wishes to achieve.
In this piece, we’ve put together our hints and tips on how to streamline your roadshow event to create the very best chance of success.
Nobody wants to be negative, but thinking ahead about what could go wrong at your roadshow, and creating a contingency plan is a very sensible and logical step.
Think about how each element and should it go wrong, ask yourself how it could impact your event, and more importantly, how yourself or another designated member of the team can deal with.
– Have you thought about what would happen if any of your key vehicles were to break down? Alternative options should be in place before anyone sets off.
– What if your speaker or special guest is ill, stuck in traffic or unavoidably delayed? Having someone who can step up is a good idea in this scenario.
– If unforeseen weather prevents the use of your outdoor space, where will you relocate your guests? Marquees are readily available to hire and will be perfect to shield your guests from adverse weather.
– If you’re relying on a lot of different audio-visual equipment, you could avoid potential problems by having an expert install your equipment and having them wait in the wings in the case of an issue.
– What might happen if you suddenly had no access to the internet? Could you still check people in, run presentations or take payments? Portable Wi-Fi should be high on the agenda for a roadshow.
– If you have an influential person or a VIP speaking at your event, will you consider employing security?
– If key staff members are ill on the day, who else from the team could reasonably step up at short notice?
– If someone falls ill or has an accident at your event, what requirements do you have in place on location to ensure this person gets proper care?
Unfortunately, the list of things that can go wrong is virtually endless, but by ensuring you’re safeguarded from some of the most likely occurrences, in most cases, you should have no problem dealing with the issue and continuing the roadshow.
Understand the Event Value Proposition
Defining your roadshow event goals from the outset means that you know precisely what you wish to achieve. These could range from wanting to reach new territories, entice new customers, promote a new product or increase brand reach.
So, when you sit down with your team around you to determine the goals behind your event, you’re simply asking yourself, “why is this event taking place?”
Try to answer the following at this stage:
– “Why are we having this event?”
– “Why are these locations relevant to our brand?”
– “What key demographics are we trying to reach?”
– “What do we want attendees to take away from the event?”
– “How will we measure the success of this event?”
By recognising your event value proposition early on, it means that you can align your objectives with the experience, needs and interests of your attendees. This will essentially clarify the goals of those coming along to the roadshow, whether they wish to learn about a new product, network with peers or connect with your brand.
All of your choices, including logistical decisions, should revolve around these goals.
Create a Timeline
Timing is everything when planning the logistical side of a roadshow. The integrity of the event revolves around, ensuring that everything that you can control is under control—for example, selecting the right vendors, the right team members for the right task and ensuring that the location you’ve chosen has everything required to make a success of the event.
Your timeline should include essential dates, times and crucial tasks, from even the earliest planning stage. Share your schedule among the team, to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and every job that must be completed is assigned to the correct person.
Logistics vs Location
Understandably, your logistics will vary depending on your choice of event and location. For example:
Location Suitability – You may have found a perfect location to host your event, but if the local area isn’t already equipped to manage parking requirements, then it’s far from ideal. In this case, you could hire a field close to your location, and use the services of a parking management company to manage the traffic flow into the field. This will ensure cars are being parking efficiently, thus making the most of the space.
Catering – If you’re laying on food for the event, you must make sure that the caterers have adequate space to prepare, cook and serve the food if required. For example, will they prepare elsewhere and bring the food in, or do they prefer to cook onsite?
The health and safety of those preparing and eating the food is crucial, so the right surfaces and space for food heating equipment must be available to them to ensure that food can be served to conform with the Government’s Outdoor & Mobile catering guidelines.
Key Logistic Tasks
As we’ve already briefly touched on, it’s essential to assign the right task to the most capable party. Your business probably doesn’t have the specialised event staff in-house, so whether you choose to stay in-house or outsource to Versatile, it’s a case of finding the right party for the right task.
For example, if you’re looking to assign vendor management or location scouting tasks, you might choose someone who is used to working closely with others, such as account managers or client relations specialists.
Similarly, when thinking about branding, signage creation and positioning, you’d perhaps like to task this to someone within your organisation who has a keen eye for design.
When it comes to liaising with guest speakers and representatives for the local areas that the event will be taken to, those used to dealing with and solving queries such as customer services employees would be perfect for this job.
Clarify Logistical Expectations
Every location will have its own logistic challenges. These might include specific parking and loading and unloading times, or adhering to local law and legislation in regards to how, where and when you can begin to set up your roadshow.
Once you’re aware of the regional challenges and expectations, this must be passed along to your staff and any vendors you’ve chosen to appear at the event.
On the subject of vendors, you must research them in detail before any decision is taken. Take a look at their Google My Business, Yelp, TrustPilot and any other kind of metric that you think might be important – again this is something we can help you with here at Versatile.
When researching your vendor, take the following steps:
– Check how many reviews they have; the more they have, the more information you’ll be able to glean from them.
– Check a number of different sites; you’ll begin to notice a pattern of positive or negative reviews.
– For large organisations, employee reviews from Indeed, LinkedIn and Glassdoor can highlight any internal problems.
Take the time to read the reviews, the stars are obviously important, but they will only offer a small section of the whole picture. You may be able to pick out some snippets of information that are important to you if you read the reviews in full.
If you’re planning to host your roadshow somewhere that you’ve never done so before, yourself, or a team member from Versatile, should take the time to get to know the area, to ensure that all elements of guesswork are removed from the process.
Things to keep an eye out for, include:
– Disability compliance – as the event organiser, you must ensure that everyone is made to feel welcome and their needs catered for.
– Is the area suitable to meet the goals that you set out at the beginning?
– Ensuring there any local laws surrounding events and roadshows are understood – particularly important if you’re visiting a foreign country.
– If delegates will be logging on to external Wi-Fi through their mobile devices at your location, cybersecurity solutions must be a top priority, so it’s certainly worth consulting a local professional on this.
Formulate an On the Day Communication Plan
This must be clearly outlined, or everything will be up in the air on the day, which would be absolute chaos. Determine a clear chain of command among the team; defining the sorts of problems that can be dealt with lower down and those which need to escalate to the event management personnel.
Implement multiple communication standards, such as walkie-talkies, phones, tablets and even hand signals. In fact, it’s a good idea to explore a few different options in case one form of communication fails.
On the Day
Overlap Vendor Arrivals
Be efficient with the team’s time by overlapping vendor arrival times. Each team member involved must be sure they’ve communicated the best routes to the location to ensure an orderly transition.
Ensuring each vendor arrives as the previous one leaves, does require a strict schedule, but it’s a far less stressful approach than waiting hours between vendors.
Give Yourself Time For a “Rehearsal”
It’s all too easy to let something important slip through the cracks on the day, which is why it’s so important to include something of a rehearsal, a few hours before people begin to arrive at the roadshow.
A few things to check are:
– Audio-visual equipment, is it working correctly?
– Wi-Fi and mobile phone service, is everything operating effectively?
– Sight and sound – ensure that everyone is able to see and hear any speakers or demonstrations.
– Trip and fire hazards – take a walk to ensure that any electrical cords are taped down and all electrical procedures for outdoor use are adhered to.
Make Sure Your Team Are Recognisable
Your entire team should be visible and recognisable to your attendees. Your branding and logos should be incorporated to ensure that you and the team stand out and are seen instantly – this is especially important if you’re organising a roadshow where multiple businesses may be in attendance.
If you require help with staffing, Versatile are more than happy to help.
Most vendors will have other events to get to, so they’re not going to want to waste any time. But they’ll need to give each other space to pack up and leave the location safely. By finding out in advance how long each vendor will need to pack up, you can ensure that everyone is aware of each other’s schedule.
It’s tempting to jump into planning the next roadshow feet first, especially if the last was well attended. But it’s essential to take a little time to discuss the why’s and wherefores of the previous event with the team while everything is still fresh in mind.
Post-roadshow pulse surveys offer a decent overview of how your guests interacted with your business. You’ll be especially interested in where your event succeeded and where it fell short.
Good questions to ask are:
– “Did you enjoy the roadshow?”
– “Did it meet your expectations?”
– “Did you learn something that will stick with you?”
– “Was there anything that you didn’t enjoy?”
By using a combination of post-roadshow debriefs and surveys, you’ll be able to highlight areas which may not have met your expectations.
If you’re looking for any more advice on your next roadshow, then why not speak to us at Versatile? We partner with many specialist businesses to offer complete solutions for roadshows to shoulder the hard work, so you can enjoy your day. Whether you’re looking for help with events or exhibitions, contact us now to find out more.