By David Koslovsky 

The event landscape has changed in many ways over the last couple of years. One area that has felt this change more than most is purchasing goods and services. For almost everything, prices have increased and availability has decreased. Here are some best practices for ensuring your event has everything you need:  

Book Early 

Vendor calendars are filling up quickly, so if you wait until a month before your event to reach out and book your primary vendors (tents, audio, course managers, etc.) you may find it very difficult to secure the inventory or services you need. Even if your event concept is still evolving, secure the basics of your infrastructure needs 3–4 months out. You can always adjust your orders as your event changes, but if you wait too long, you may spend a lot of time searching for your equipment and be stuck with what remains of a vendor’s inventory instead of getting the items that you requested. Booking early will also help you avoid additional labor charges. 

Know Your Venue 

Understanding which elements your event location can provide and which you will need to secure separately can help save you time. Many parks provide power, toilets, trash removal, and security services. Make sure to ask your site contact about all the elements available at your event location so you can be knowledgeable about what you’ll need from outside vendors. Knowing all the details about your event site also provides the ability to better communicate with your vendors about how the event set-up will go. 

Build Relationships 

With such a wide array of vendors to work with (especially for a company like Event 360, that produces events across the country), finding vendors you trust is incredibly important. We rarely get the chance to meet with vendors face-to-face, so establishing these connections happen mostly over the phone and email. The end goal in these relationships isn’t to become best friends with the person on the other end of the line, but like with most relationships, transparency helps build trust. If there is a change in the scope of services needed or a delay in contract processing/payment, keeping the vendor in the loop as much as you can helps build that communication and makes sure you’re on the same page. 

Additionally, being prepared with as much information as possible regarding the order you’d like to place will help streamline things with the vendor when you do place the order. If you’re able to provide detailed specs and tell them what the equipment is being used for, they will be better able to provide alternatives if they are out of a certain model. 

What tips have you found helpful navigating purchasing for your own events? Let us know!  

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