Here's my suggested checklist. My comments are based on
- lengthy experience of what's involved with organising major events and how long it takes / how much it involves and what it takes to make events a success
- real life examples of shows which friends of mine and I have experienced. Some might call them 'horror stories'!
|1. Does the event have a history?||A long standing event has a committed following of people who will turn out every year. |
A brand new event has to build all that from scratch - so needs to have:
|2. Who's organising the event?||An event which is organised by people who know how to do it properly can be a real pleasure to attend. By way of contrast, events organised by amateurs can be a total nightmare for all concerned|
An event which is being organised by people with no track record always triggers alarm bells for me. Organising major events is something some people spend their whole lives doing. They have very complicated logistics and there are all sorts of rules and regulations which they need to comply with. Large events do not tend to be something which amateurs do well. Check out the name of the organisation and their background details. Check out whether they are who they say they are
|3. Does it have any sponsors?||Major names sponsoring an event always brings a degree of comfort to portential exhibitors|
The absence of sponsors for brand new events can mean that it could have organisers who don't understand how to organise events - and very probably don't have the bank balance either
|4. What names are being quoted as having signed up to have a stand?||Experienced organisers will always indicate who has signed up in advance. That's partly because they're signing up people for stands in the following year while this year's event is on the ground. That means they start to pitch to new people having banked a 'list' of regulars exhibitors who have already nabbed all the prime sites!|
New organisers often have nobody signed up when they start to pitch
Beware the event which indicates that a list of exihibitors will be published later/nearer the date of the event. That means there are no or very few pre-sales prior to pitching to new exhibitors
|5. How is the event being marketed?||What does it say about the target audience - and are they likely to be people who will be interested in your art or particular genre? |
Does the organisation have a trade pack/information which indicates how the event will be marketed to its target audience - in the long, medium and short term?
Professionals know they must attract the right people for the event to be a success and to get repeat business the next year. They also know that you need to build awareness and then convert interest into actual attendance - and they also know how to do this
Amateurs don't have clue about who to market to, how to reach them and how to persuade people that this is an event which will bring benefits. If they can't provide any details they probably haven't even given it a thought as yet!
|6. Check the share price of the organisation organising the event.||Share prices are very good indicators of how robust an organisation is. Even long-running events can run into financial trouble - and if investors get any whiff of this you can be certain it'll get reflected in the share price|
|7. What sort of stand is on offer?||Is the event indoor or outdoor? Are the stands a flexible size? Do you have the kit to make the most of the stands of offer? Do you have to rent the stand kit from the event organiser or can you bring your own?|
|8. What rates are being offered?||It's always good to know how rates for stands compare between different events.|
Always check to see if there is a discount for booking in advance. Don't forget the opportunity cost of capital if you pay a long time in advance
|9. What's the total cost of the package?||Professionals provide you with a form which enables you to itemise all the expenses you'll be incurring|
Amateurs keep informing you about costs as you go - it can get quite shocking when you realise you're going to lose a lot of money to pull out and spend a lot of money to carry on
Don't forget you'll always be incurring costs which are nothing to with the event organiser and these also need to be factored in
|10. Is there a detailed timetable of what happens when - between now and the date of the event?||People who plan events for a living can tell you exactly what happens when - because they've had it all planned out for the last two years!|
Amateurs very often don't have a clue and very often don't schedule requirements for an event in the right order - or at all.
There's obviously a lot more questions which you can ask.
Do you have any extra questions you ask yourself which you think should be included in a checklist?