7 Considerations For Your Trade Show Risk Management Report

When I’m in the midst of planning an event I have to confess that creating a risk management report is not high on my list of exciting things to do.

Shocking, I know.

But what if I told you that creating a risk management report for your show could actually increase efficiency and improve ROI?

Think of it as having your own set of shortcuts to being able to recognize the risks inherently involved in planning a large event and prescribing a specific plan to mitigate them.

Starting to sound a little better?

I’m going to outline some common circumstances (think risks), the impact those can have on your show, and ways to mitigate them.

Here are seven things to consider…

Poor Turnout

Poor event turnout is not acceptable but is sadly a very possible reality if you don’t do everything you can to keep that from happening.

Check out my recent blog post about what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

Why does this happen? It could be due to unfavorable weather conditions, a bad marketing campaign, or not connecting with the right market (just to name a few).

What is the impact of poor turnout? Junk ROI, few sales leads, and a sullied reputation.

Some ways to mitigate poor turnout is by vetting the venue, attendees, and the host city. Be smart with marketing research by knowing who your target audience is. Make sure your sales pitch is relevant and wide-reaching.

Lackluster ROI

If your ROI falls flat, it could be due to a number of reasons, such as not pursuing the right leads or marketing that misses the mark.

The impact of a lackluster ROI can be felt in many ways. Exhibitors and sponsors may be less inclined to associate with events you have in the future. A smaller revenue often means you have to cut back on spending for future events.

To help mitigate poor ROI, it’s critical that you create goals by defining each and every objective. Outline the steps you need to take to reach your goals and have a strategy. Prioritize everything on your list and triple-check it.

Don’t be afraid to take your time. I would rather use up a few extra hours during the day getting things right than rushing through it and paying for it later.

Ho-Hum Foot Traffic

When I hear complaints of a lack of foot traffic a few conditions come to mind such as a bad booth location, poor floor planning, and flow.

Some ways to mitigate these issues is to create a floor plan that keeps ease of traffic flow in mind with easy access to exhibitor booths. It should be an immersive environment that won’t be confusing to attendees. It also helps to have staff on hand to direct guests should they need help finding something.

Budget Woes

A limited budget can put the kibosh on the scope and size of your event.

This isn’t necessarily a problem but sometimes the constraints can be felt if your plan isn’t executed well and problems take away funds that were allocated elsewhere.

This can lead to a smaller ROI and an overall reduction in attendance and sales.

To help mitigate this, consider partnering with someone who can help support the event financially and strategically. Sponsorships are also a great way to take your budget from zero to hero.

Staffing Conundrums

Having staffing woes is really common but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

Complaints range from being understaffed for the day of the event to having not enough members on your sales/marketing team leading to poor sales and an event that doesn’t encourage repeat attendance.

I can’t stress enough the importance of choosing a team of people who have a solid track record of reliability and can wear more than one hat. When your budget is limited, some members may need to take on extra responsibilities until you can hire more help.

Technical Hiccups

Let’s be real. We rely on so much tech nowadays that it can be tricky to assess each risk.

Some of the most common ones we identify are display failures, syncing issues with live/social feeds, and errors with demos or lights/sound during keynotes.

Much of the time this is what is called user error and is the result of a failure to properly test everything out in advance therefore not leaving plenty of time to fix issues before attendees arrive.

It can also boil down to the AV team being inexperienced and not prepared.

It’s critical to do dry runs of everything and test every piece of equipment and carefully vet AV technicians before you hire them. If you must use the AV on staff at the venue, don’t be afraid to test them on their knowledge and bring in someone from the outside that you trust that can verify what they are telling you.

Natural Disasters

Unfortunately, weather calamities can take us by surprise so it’s critical to have a plan B for when disaster strikes.

I cover what to do when a natural disaster strikes because it’s a threat that should always be something that a Show Manager should plan for. 

Your response will be different depending on the type of threat, whether that be a tornado, fire, or torrential downpour.

The takeaway is this: the biggest risk is to your guests, while the rest is secondary. Have a safety first contingency plan for each natural disaster threat and always have insurance.

Never Fail Policy

Ben Franklin sums this up best when he said “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Each show comes with its own set of unique risks and challenges but if you resolve to have solution-based policies then you are setting your event up for success.

Creating a risk management report sounds like a slog, but I promise you it’s a game-changer.

Time to go put on your game face and get started.