Our work as event planners depends greatly on the performance and efficiency of the suppliers we work with. Building long-term relationships with vendors you trust is critical for your event’s success.
Kevin Van der Straeten, event professional and entrepreneur, notes this in his book EVENTS 2- How to organize a successful event?: “Select your suppliers and service providers with care. It always pays dividends to take the necessary time before choosing the right partners.”
The challenging part, however, is to understand which event suppliers will always deliver good results and which aren’t trustworthy. That’s why you need to scrutinize their services.
Knowing that your vendors can deliver the expected results and maintain a high level of professionalism will help you decide if you want to continue working with them. In other words, apart from measuring your event’s ROI and KPIs, you also need to evaluate your vendors’ performance.
This will save you the risk and heartache of working with a vendor that can ruin your event (which also minimizes the risk of getting a lower ROI). A bad vendor can not only ruin your event, but your reputation with your clients and attendees, so you can’t afford to ignore this task. To help you tackle this subject, we’ve put together a series of actions to take into consideration:
Action #1. Assess the quality of the services that were delivered
How do you evaluate the quality standards of different suppliers’ services? There are multiple indicators you could consider. For example, one is if the vendor(s) respected the deadlines. Cut ties with any vendor that didn’t provide the promised solutions on time or ignored the time limit. Other indicator could be attention to details. If a supplier gives you solutions to crucial questions you didn’t even ask yourself, that’s a sign that you’re working with a real professional.
Action #2. Look at the final results
The thing you care about the most is the event’s final outcome, right? Well, the same is true for collaborating with different event suppliers. Did the catering service provide the right food? Did the audiovisuals team set everything up correctly? Did the event software or app improve the event ROI, as well as cut the effort and time you put into planning and running the event? Review the end results and conclude for yourself which event vendors are worth your trust.
Action #3. Analyze the communication protocol
An important aspect to consider is the level of communication you had with the event suppliers. Were they helpful in answering your questions and addressing any concerns you had? Did they reply quickly to your emails? Were they polite and considerate (no one wants to work with a rude event vendor!)?
Was communicating with them stress-free and friendly? Did they understand your needs and deliver the correct solutions? Exclude vendors that you felt were difficult and inefficient when communicating with you. True professionals are usually good communicators, and they’ll know how to provide quality assistance.
Action #4. Observe the suppliers' actions during the event
Do you feel confident about the vendors’ abilities to solve different issues during the event? Did they easily overcome any obstacles they had? Let’s use the audiovisual team as an example. How did they react when the microphones stopped working during a roundtable talk?
Obviously, running an event is overwhelming and requires your undivided attention, so you won’t always be able to monitor your event suppliers during the event. Check in with your planning team to get their opinions on the vendors’ efficiency during the event.
Action #5. Ask for your attendees' feedback
Finally, get your attendees’ opinion about vendor services. Mention the vendors in the event survey and then assess the overall attendee satisfaction on the services provided.
And since we’re talking about evaluating the work of different event vendors, keep in mind that it’s always good to write a review about the suppliers to share your experience with others so they can get a sense of the vendor quality. Last but not least, don’t forget to thank the event suppliers for their hard work and even reward them for outstanding results.