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What must an event organizer benchmark against?

The nature of the event industry is such that there is no fixed recipe for success, variables are many and, if not careful, a single blow could knock you out of the game. So the question remains- What must an event agency benchmark against? We rounded up some experts to hear it from them.

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Event planning can be tricky business. Starting from having enough people and resources, to planning, to execution- agencies have to manage people, time, tasks, budgets, vendors, registrations, attendance, profitability, customer, client retentions, the list is endless. Above all comes the responsibility of delivering an innovative and engaging experience to the client and the attendees.

Some events have got the model right but they are yet to see avalanche of profits one would expect. Look at Bacardi NH7 Weekender. The cost of getting the right talent along with overheads is seemingly high, as a result of which their turnover may be sizable but profit margins are very low. But participation at the fest is high therefore attendance overrules profitability for the organizer. The domestic T20 of England is another example of the debate between profitability versus the long-sightedness of the popular sporting event. 

Here are some expert pointers for organizers to keep in mind while defining goals.

Team size

Sharing his views on team size, Siddharth Ganeriwala, Director & CEO, Aura Integrated Solutions banks on on 'Intrapreneurship' type responsibility for his key business personnel. This gives them freedom to forge ahead on their own steam rather than constantly looking to him for guidance and the way forward. He states, “Once they believe that they 'own' their patch of businesses, their commitment is akin to an owner himself. They transform into "owner-managers", if I may borrow the term. The second is empowerment at every level. Once an employee is empowered to take decisions on an individual level, again, there is no shifting of blame or responsibility - the two demons that plague slow moving businesses. Instead, it frees them up to take control of situations as they think best and act accordingly. I have always found that it works amazingly well in all situations."

Adding to this Navneeth Mohan, Founder and CEO, Laqshya Live Experiences states, “The decision on the team size is a very strategic and should be taken keeping in mind your long-term vision. First, create and analyze your growth path and then invest in the team. Sporadic hiring can hamper your entire business. The team is your long-term investment. It should be very well aligned with your long-term vision. A lot of businesses’ have failed as a result of a short- term hiring plans, so one has to be very careful.”

Ashu Garg, Founder, Good Times Concepts Events says, “I feel that an agency can focus on increasing the team size as per the requirement. Departmentalize the work and delegate the authorities according the present scenario. Tenting, venue décor, finishing, catering, flooring, chandeliers, soft work, flowers, etc. need a proper supervision.

Full service industry versus having a niche

Mohan says, “When it comes to expansion into full services versus focus only on one vertical, both of them have their own pros and cons. Expansion into different verticals diversifies the risk and balance can be made. At the same time having a niche helps with the positioning of the brand as an expert, but it limits the scope and expansion plans. My suggestion will be if you are planning to have a niche for yourself better be the top and best in that particular domain!

To this Garg adds, “I feel an agency should be a full service agency. It does justice to the event agency. If you are handling just one vertical, then you should be fully focused on that. Apart from that event management is basically vendor management. Its main work is managing the vendors.

Client Retention

Mohan says, “I have always believed and followed the sales fundamental, ‘80% of your business revenue come from 20% of your existing clients,’ and this goes for every business. Briefing, presentation, pitching, etc. take a lot of efforts and have a cost attached to the process. Retention is everything as the cost of acquiring new clients/business is always high.”

Garg adds, “Focus on client retention has to be there on a regular basis. Their feedbacks should be taken periodically so that you can design and execute better. Strategies should be maintained and should be followed vigorously. As always said, ‘the easiest way to grow your customers is not to lose them.’ Maintaining a healthy relationship with your customers must be the first priority of seeking every healthy opportunity. If you deliver good and go beyond expectations of client, your clients will automatically be retained. At the end of the day, it’s the goodwill of the company in a business that defines the clients you have retained.”

Profitability versus turnover

On discussions on profitability versus turnover, Mohan says, “To sustain in long-term profitability should increase year after year. It has to be a strategic combination of the both. During the initial years when you have to create your brand and credibility more focus on turnover is fine, but it is not a sustainable model for long-term. Profitability is a major parameter for valuation of your company which will attract investors so it should never be out of our focus.”

Garg says, “Profitability is like the bread and butter and the turnover acts like the goodwill. We always have to strike a balance between two according to the situation. For us, satisfying customers by new innovative products and services has always been the keen interest”.

Hence, for every agency, the benchmarking criterion can be very different. However these 5 C’s are pretty standard: Conceptualization, Costing, Canvassing, Customization and Carrying out the event.


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