When running a recurring event, you may discover that scaling is needed. Thanks to increased brand awareness and public interest, you’ll need to expand and grow your event. That’s good news, right? After all, we all want to attract more attendees and create more buzz around our event. However, you may find scaling an event challenging.
Scaling an event is like scaling a business—it requires assigning the right amount of resources and taking the right strategic approach. How you scale your event will impact both your guests’ experience and the result of future editions. If you don’t distribute your resources correctly, you’ll run the risk of scaling an event that won’t live up to your guests’ expectations.
For example, you can go for a much bigger venue or a more extensive program, yet if you don’t have an efficient team on the premises, chances are people will feel lost and unwelcome. Or maybe you’ll want to register many more attendees than during previous events but keep the same check-in procedure you use for your smaller events, leaving you with a long waiting line and plenty of frustrated guests. A smart and balanced scale is needed, which is easy to achieve in a few small steps.
Step 1. Make a difference between “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”
One of the main reasons why scaling an event may feel daunting is the lack of alignment between your event vision and your resources. Sometimes you may lack a bigger team, while other times you may lack the money to design and run a large event. Moreover, you may be investing your resources into something less important while leaving the most significant aspects of your event uncovered.
So apart from aligning your resources with the event goals and design, be aware of the differences between “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” In other words, you’ll want to invest in better AV equipment, a bigger venue, a larger planning team, etc. Then, you can look into other stuff such as additional dynamics or more coffee breaks.
Step 2. Bigger infrastructure
Larger events require a bigger infrastructure. As we previously mentioned, this involves a bigger venue, more team members, and better equipment. Let’s look at each one individually. The obvious thing is that when scaling an event, you’re aiming to attract more attendees. This means you’ll need a larger venue that provides you with all the necessary facilities.
Next, you may add more knowledge sessions or even simultaneous dynamics. You may also decide to invite international guests, which may require translation services. For this kind of event, you’ll have to pay closer attention to the available equipment and make sure it covers your new requirements.
Finally, smaller teams may be efficient when envisioning and designing your event, yet to manage and run a large event, you’ll need lots of people, including volunteers (more about that in the next step). When scaling, make sure to consider all these aspects.
Step 3. Grow your on-site team
There’s a significant difference between your in-house and on-site planning team. Your in-house event team may be as small as it was before scaling. After all, thanks to automation, they can take care of the event design, planning, and marketing.
When it comes to running the event, though, you’ll need a big on-site team, which includes security, people handling check-ins, the AV team, volunteers, etc. This means that when scaling, you’ll need to map the attendee journey from the check-in line until the last session. Then, grow your on-site team according to the number of your attendees so that each and every guest will feel accompanied through the entire event.
Step 4. Analyze previous attendee data
Paying attention to existing data is the key to making scaling truly successful. If you made a mistake during a small event, chances are you’ll repeat it and scale it with the scope of the event.
For example, you may find that attendees are bored during a keynote speech that doesn’t include any live polls or interaction. A larger event that doesn’t improve the attendee engagement dynamic will have a negative impact on your guests.
So make sure to analyze all the previous attendee data, identify the mistakes you’ve made with events in the past, and decide how you’ll avoid them during this new larger event.
Step 5. Event and marketing automation
Digitizing your logistics will save you time, effort, and money. Instead of wasting your team’s time on manual tasks, you can automate it and give people other assignments that are crucial for the event. The same goes for promoting your event—set up an automatic event campaign with a strong email sequence and predetermined actions that are aligned with your attendees’ behavior. Why waste precious time on things that can be done in just a few minutes?
Think big, act small
Scaling an event may feel overwhelming. After all, planning a small event is stressful enough. This means that managing a larger event should be even more difficult. However, this is not the case. If you’re able to come up with a strong event strategy and assign resources accordingly while automating all the logistics, you’ll end up running an impactful and positive large event. Are you ready to scale?