Hosting an event is stressful. It’s a sleepless, thankless, hair-pulling-out experience.
There are hundreds of decisions to be made, each one seemingly critical and urgent. There are dozens of stakeholders to attend to, each one fundamental – at least in their own minds – to the success of the event. Then, there are all of the things that you can’t control (thank you, Mother Nature!). And, you’re supposed to stay calm, cool, and collected through it all. It’s enough send any sane person running for the hills.
Above all else, event organizers are looking out for the well-being and happiness of the attendees. And, from time to time, the participating artists and craft vendors can become an afterthought… even at art shows!
Having set up shop at more than 75 different events of all shapes and sizes over the last two years, we have seen both really good event management and bad. So, we’ve compiled the following list of six simple steps event organizers can take to dramatically – and at little to no cost! – improve the experience of the vendors in attendance.
– Promote the event… and give them the tools to do so as well.
Everyone wins with better attendance, so do your best to promote the event. But, don’t forget vendors want to help and often have captive audiences themselves, particularly on social media. So, send them event logos, fliers, and updates which they can easily post and share with their fans.
– Assign booths spaces before the event and send them out in advance.
People like to know where they are going and what it will look like when they get there, particularly if their placement might impact how they lay out their booth. So, send them a site map with their booth location 1-2 weeks in advance so that they can plan accordingly. Include clear instructions for when and where to check in on the day of the event.
– Have a plan for entrance/setup and breakdown/exit.
Before and after an event, everyone wants the same thing – to get in and out quickly and easily. So, it’s important to have a well-thought out and well-articulated plan for both setup and breakdown. This is particularly important if your venue has access constraints. By sharing this information in advance, you can reduce a log jam and save yourself countless headaches.
– Don’t make rules you can’t or won’t enforce.
If you don’t want cars on the grass or booths with pink walls, that is your decision and entirely fair. What is less fair is to make a rule like this, but then to selectively enforce it. Be reasonable with the rules you set, but be consistent in your enforcement of them.
– Show them you care
In most cases, vendors have paid to participate in your event, traveled some distance to attend, and even pitched in to help promote it. So, when they arrive on-site, welcome them with a packet that contains basic event details and contact info. And, if you can swing it, pass on a bottle of water, a coupon for a sandwich, or a knickknack from one of your sponsors. It really doesn’t matter what it is, giving them a little something to show that you appreciate their participation really does go a long way. After all, everyone loves free stuff!
– Ask them how it went.
Sending a simple “thank you” email with a basic survey – What went well? What could be better? What is one suggestion for next year? – a day or two after an event goes a long way towards showing folks that you value their opinions… especially if you can implement 1-2 of the proposed ideas!
Have a tip that we forgot? Comment below.