Choosing a date can be a real headache for event planners, regardless of the size and type of event involved. A lot of variables — both internal and external to your organisation — come into play. We have been tracking thousands of events over the past 10 years. Here, we have compiled a list of tips to help you choose the right date for your event.
- The importance of the perfect date
- How to proceed
- Some tools to help you
- Specificities of outdoor events
This may seem obvious but making a mistake by choosing the “wrong date” can have a disastrous impact on your event. For instance, an event taking place at the same time as other similar events, in the same city, with the same audience, could attract an insufficient number of participants and thus have negative consequences on its cash flow — even if the budget was created perfectly.
First, study your target audience and their habits. An event that wants to attract students must adapt to their pace of life and take place towards the end of the week, starting Thursday evening. For families, it is strongly recommended to organise weekend events only.
Then, feel free to test dates — without taking financial risks — if you organise events regularly and at several different time slots. For example, for workshops or evening classes, you can offer two different days to attract a different audience and, especially, to test the attractiveness of the date. Don’t take unnecessary risks if you think a date is not appropriate, especially if it is for a single event.
Don’t forget your common sense, it will always be your best ally. For instance, it’s a bad idea to plan an outdoor event in November – in the UK anyway. Unfortunately, there can sometimes be unpleasant surprises — such as rain in July, which is why you also have to plan for the unexpected (see last part of the article).
Keep an eye on the events that will take place around yours — on Facebook for example. Feel free to also subscribe to Facebook pages that feature news of events similar to yours. You can also contact these organisers on social media to know the dates of their upcoming events.
If you often organise events in the same city, you can take the initiative of creating a Facebook group with these organisers to centralise all the information. The objective is for all event organisers in this city to be aware of upcoming events. This is a win-win solution and prevents similar events from being held at the same time.
An increasing number of events is being organised outdoors — it is much more than a fad: open air, concerts, festivals, outdoor cinemas… All kinds of events are held outdoors, so that everyone can find a connection with nature!!
However, while this event format is popular, it is not without risks for its organisers. So always think of a backup solution:
- Postpone the date — in advance, notify guests, agree with all your providers, and plan the conditions for this change of date.
- Prepare a plan B — another venue, indoors. Be careful not to pay a deposit, however, as the backup solution should not cost you too much!
Our tip: watch the Weather Channel very often because forecasts can change at a moment’s notice. If you wish to cancel or postpone your event, be sure that this decision will not have a negative impact on your cash flow. Don’t cancel at the last minute as that may cause you problems with your service providers, who will have incurred costs such as transport, raw materials, etc.
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