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What to Do When Your Event’s Gone Wrong

We like the event industry because you’re unlikely to find two identical events, and there is always something new to discover. But sometimes this “new” becomes a real challenge when event planning goes wrong. No one, not even the most experienced organiser, can predict that.

However, facing an embarrassing situation at an event may turn out to be the best possible way for a professional planner to learn how to take risks for an event and succeed, no matter what happens.

Top 10 ways an event can go wrong

Failures are inevitable, even for the most experienced people. Our team also faces issues from time to time. There are numerous cases showing how we managed to cope with failures that taught us priceless event management lessons.

Indeed, there are both funny and dangerous event risks examples that should be considered by event planners when organising events because they may greatly affect the event’s success and the whole campaign ROI.

Participant dropouts

Sometimes people don’t attend an event because it is poorly or incorrectly promoted. The point is that you need more than high-quality content and excellent organisation to get people to come to your event. How do you convince them that it will be worth their time to come? Put as much effort into marketing as possible so that the company gets the audience it deserves.

The lesson is this: If you don’t have enough time to promote an event, consider not taking it on at all or be ready to face another event risks example.

Poorly organised entertainment

So your event is going smoothly, the program is perfect, but you notice your attendees are bored with the entertainment, which has turned out to be less than enticing. Don’t panic, as you can always improvise and make changes to suit the situation. Discover some great ideas on how to make an event more fun and ramp up your event.

The lesson is this: As you can’t predict what type of entertainment people will like, you should always have a Plan B ready for rapid implementation.

Venue cancellation

This is something that can occur if you don’t choose your venue promptly. Fortunately, if you manage to establish all your contacts in advance, the risk of this happening is low.  If you have a few options to fall back on, a venue cancellation catastrophe may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

The lesson is this: Always have several places to choose from or keep useful contacts, and consider using non-traditional event venues (shared workspaces, exhibition halls, concert halls, outdoor spaces, etc.).

Security risk

Successful security at public events depends on careful preparation and well-planned and coordinated actions of the organisers and security officers. Any large-scale event can become a target for those with criminal intent. To prevent a security failure if there are threats for an event, always have both people and equipment in reserve to react in an emergency situation.

The lesson is this: In order to avoid trouble when organising events with a large number of people, make sure there are plans in place to ensure public order and security. Make a contingency plan for events part of your organising process.

Technical issues

Just like with the previous issue, technical problems are always a potential risk. But if you have separate Wi-Fi lines for guests and participants, hire professional lighting technicians, and use new hardware and software for speedy event check-in, you will reduce your chances of failure to nearly zero. Nevertheless, take serious precautions just as you would for security issues.

GEVME cloud faced serious technical problem during TNP New Face 2018 for Singapore Press Holdings, when the registration went down. The gateway on GEVME was  not forwarding ports to the processing servers. Consequently, new orders were stuck in the queue without processing, as the queue dispatcher could not reach the processors.

We’ve managed to cut the delay of confirmation emails, display the registration data in the admin module correctly and reduce the queue during the check-in processing after our qualified engineering team rebuilt and reinstated the correct configuration for the ip tables and allowed the ports to be forwarded again. What’s the most significant is that they’ve managed to resolve the issue within 56 mins only.

The lesson is this: Don’t panic. Have both people and equipment in reserve to use in emergency situations. Hire only highly qualified services and providers like we do. Develop a contingency plan for events.

Unexpected weather

Bad weather can ruin your event no matter where it’s being held. Even if you’re arranging the largest vintage festival in Britain that takes place at an indoor racetrack, bad weather is still your enemy because people may simply decide to stay home.

Only strict budget control will help to cover losses if fewer guests come than expected, even with outstanding event promotion. Twitter and other social media and instant messengers can help greatly in attracting new visitors throughout the year, even in poor weather conditions.

The lesson is this: People will still come, regardless of the weather, if you use tools of fast reaction, like social media, instant digital channels, and other marketing plus a clear budget that contains contingencies for risks for an event.

Unclear budget

Effective promotion, good event logistics, and strict budget control will help to cover losses if fewer guests come than expected or not at all. To organise each event even better than the previous one, as well as extend your knowledge, also contact international companies of professionals if you’re feeling you are not keen on something and cannot stay within your budget on your own.

The lesson is this: You cannot possibly start planning without a clearly defined budget and trained staff, because when event planning goes wrong, it’s most likely due to budget gaps.

Poor time management

Even if the budget, programme, entertainment, logistics, and promotion are all in place, bad timing and poor time management can spoil everything at the eleventh hour.

The lesson is this: Use professional event management systems, create and manage an attendees list, delegate roles, and hire the staff you need to ensure effective time management of your event.


Many times when you hear about events gone wrong, it starts in the same way: too many people arriving and getting stuck at the entrance. You might not think this is the worst thing that can happen to an event manager, but it can be. Use technologies that prevent the build-up of queues, such as online check-in, RFID, etc.

The lesson is this: At least you can count how many people attended your event while they’re in the lines. The number of guests is one thing, but the way in which you guarantee this number is quite another. So be smart and use advanced software and hardware.

How to prepare for problems

No matter the issue, to make sure you’re ready when an event goes wrong:

  • Prepare for the worst.
  • Test equipment twice.
  • Have a clear Plan B.
  • Hire the right staff and train your staff for unexpected conditions.
  • Get everything down in writing.

Always remember that it’s normal for problems to occur, and sometimes they’re not even anyone’s fault.

What to do when an event goes wrong

Always have a contingency plan for events. Consider all possible threats for an event or possible risks in advance. Include them in your event budget. Insurance, useful contacts in local security, municipal administrations, and other support will also be useful.

Finally, listen to advice, pay attention to the comments of customers, and always be prepared to adapt to the situation. You must be flexible and ready to deal with unexpected situations. Be careful, but don’t fall into set patterns and stereotypes.

What not to do when an event goes wrong

You must not panic, use alcohol or drugs to relieve stress, give up your manager role, or delegate problems when you find yourself in a situation of events gone wrong. A hysterical organiser is a bad organiser and makes trouble for the whole team. Do not scold your colleagues, let alone shout at them when a problem hits. If you cannot react calmly, then it’s time to learn. Resolve misunderstandings through calm discussion, no matter the issue and regardless of whether it’s your team or other people involved.


Event organisers are responsible for observing events to ensure the personal safety of participants and spectators and creating and conducting safe and high-quality events. They’re also responsible for health care, trade, communications, transport, consumer services, and mass media.

Various public organisations may also be involved, which, in accordance with the current legislation, are responsible for other aspects of the event.

When event planning goes wrong at large-scale events, local governments can create organisational committees to coordinate and control the activities of organisations that are involved in the preparation and operation of the event. Event planners should be aware of such committees, should contact them if necessary, and should stay abreast of local regulations.


For more useful information, please Contact us, and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.

GEVME is the fully integrated platform that makes your event lifecycle happy. With advanced apps for each event management process, the platform helps you craft a custom event toolkit. Request a DEMO to experience the automation of website development, online registration, onsite check-in and related services.

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