What we’ve learned from organising overseas events
It can be challenging enough to organise an event in a location you are familiar with, the challenges of running an overseas event are on another level.
Here at Completely Events, we’ve now been running events across Europe for four years, and we’d like to share some of the lessons we’ve learnt along the way.
Most of the time travel is not an issue, but all it takes is one piece of bad luck, and your travel plans can collapse.
Take the time to consider the possibility of travel disruptions and how this could impact your plans, both for your team and any equipment you need to transport.
To avoid the worst-case scenario of every member of your team becoming stuck in delay hell split your travel plans up, take separate flights with different airlines or fly from different airports.
Depending on the location of your overseas event and how much (if any) equipment or materials you need to transport you might want to send a team member by train, car, or van instead of flying everyone out there. It can take longer but who doesn’t love a road trip?
If budget allows sending some of your team out a day or two earlier can both help avoid travel risks and give you plenty of time to do last minute checks on the venue. Even better if your team member is capable of running your social accounts, they can get started on building buzz around the event with an Instagram story tour of the area around the venue.
When it comes to the initial planning, you need to nail your financial research. You need to get to grips with the tax policy of the country your event is taking place in, or you could end up with a nasty surprise that wrecks your budget. VAT rates can vary depending on the service, for example, food & beverages might be 6% whereas venue hire is 21%.
Our society has been embracing cashless transactions at an outstanding rate, but can you be sure you won’t face card issues while abroad? We recommend making sure all of your team carry some emergency cash (in the local currency of course) this can help stop a minor problem blossoming in a full-blown crisis.
Odds are if you are running an overseas event the country you’ll be visiting won’t have English as their national language. While it is true English is considered the language of business you can’t guarantee local suppliers are going to understand everything you say. If they aren’t a native English speaker, it would be unreasonable to expect them to understand 100% what you are saying.
So always follow up any phone conversations with an email and avoid idioms or ambiguous statements. You want to make sure everyone is on the same page; even simple concepts and instructions can get lost in translation.
Always double check anything critical to the running of your event and don’t ever assume everything is fine after one phone call.
Nothing beats a personal recommendation, and when you are trying to organise an event in another country with local suppliers, you’re placing a lot of trust in them. A personal recommendation from someone you trust is always the best way to find suppliers who will deliver and help you create an outstanding event.
Of course, it isn’t always possible to get a personal recommendation, and you’ll find yourself Googling various suppliers around your chosen venue. In this situation follow the rule of threes, try and find three suppliers and ask each for three testimonials alongside a quote from each. Then contact those previous clients and ask nicely for their feedback, while you’re asking for their feedback you can also check if the supplier adds on any extra surprises to the standard quote.
You need to ensure you can 1000% rely on the suppliers you chose; there won’t be time to find another at the last minute should anything go wrong.
The above only briefly touches on the things you will need to take into account when holding an event abroad; there is so much more to consider.
If your business is contemplating hosting an event in a different country get in touch with our talented team who can take away all the stress of the planning and ensure there aren’t any ‘uh-oh’ moments!