What do you do when an event vendor or a vendor order doesn’t show up for your event? What can you do prior to the event to ensure that the risk of this happening is minimized? How can your team be prepared to take action to correct the situation?

We all focus on results and creating the perfect event. However, things can go wrong regardless of the endless amount of time that was spent on planning – especially with vendors you don’t always control.

Here are some tips, along with some real-life event examples on how to prepare, as well as, take action if a vendor or vendor order should not make it to your event:

  • Creating a working relationship with vendors is worth your effort. We have established a strong bond with our portable toilet vendor (really, he’s great!). Not often – remember we said he’s great – toilets haven’t been placed at the correct location or by the designated delivery time. Phone calls are made and we work to correct the situation together. The key here is the strong collaborative team work that is happening between the event staff and our vendor.
  • Being creative and “thinking outside the box” is an important skill to have if orders are misplaced. Last year, we produced a kids-focused event and participant t-shirts did not arrive in time. After all efforts were exhausted, we made the decision to purchase white t-shirts, along with a good many colored sharpies and asked the participants to partake in a fun, teambuilding activity. Participants created their own t-shirts by using the supplies we provided for them and had a great deal of fun in the process. As you might think, not the original t-shirts, however, an option that demonstrated an event team thinking on its feet and a solution to provide a positive participant experience despite the circumstances. 
  • Time is your friend. The sooner you contact the vendor or place the order, the better your chances of correcting or avoiding an issue. Providing the vendor as many details as possible including dates, times, event locations & special delivery directions will make all the difference in the world. Calling and confirming these details with the vendor is a must.
  • Lastly, in the instance that a vendor or what you ordered does not show up on-event, determine the severity of doing without this vendor. In most cases you will need that vendor, so, it will be necessary to create a plan of action and implement as soon as you can:
    • Create a list of other vendors in the area that may be able to assist; Have one of your staff members begin making the calls.
    • Brainstorm with your team on how to make do without the vendor; what other options does the team have to make the situation work?
    • Keep a vendor file and make notes about any issues to either avoid a problem in the future, adjust your vendor costs or remember to find a new vendor next time.

We all want our event to go off without any bumps. Early planning is essential, however, be calm and have a plan for all circumstances. Be ready to call on your vendor to work with you and your team to correct the situation and in some cases, think outside the box to ensure a successful time for everyone.

Rene Tamayo is our Event Execution Manager and Kari Johnson is our Event Planning Support Manager at Event 360.

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