Planning & Promotion

Event Contingency Planning to Build a Resilient Event Strategy!

Eventually Learning Team

“One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose.”


The last couple of years have been topsy-turvy in nature and occurrence. But with the benefit of hindsight, they have effectively emphasized on the importance of contingencies and provisions. The events industry was also severely affected by the pandemic-led turmoil, as events, as we knew it, majorly happened on-the-ground and in-person.

Times have changed and the events industry has evolved thankfully but event organizers have realized the significance of having contingency plans in place for if and when things take a turn for the worse. Let’s look at how Event Contingency Planning can help you create a more buoyant event strategy!

According to the Resilience Survey Report 2020, on Event Preparedness, it was observed that 86% of event organizing teams claimed that their risk management routines were “emerging”. However, even then, only about 16.6% of teams said that they were “mission-ready” to respond effectively to any unprecedented changes or mishaps.

To integrate the element of resilience in your event strategy, it’s imperative to manifest different scenarios that help in crafting a sudden-change-proof event strategy and scenario thinking forms the heart of it!

Scenario Thinking Is the Centerpiece for Building Resilience!

Scenario thinking is basically the ability of an event organizer to envisage possible scenarios that could happen during the event and find out possible solutions for the same. Everything about scenario thinking revolves around predictably thinking about the future.

Let’s go through some examples of scenario thinking that you could possibly apply to your event when on the subject of contingency planning.
  • What if a few key employees take unplanned leaves during a critical planning phase?
  • What if logistical issues hinder the fluidity of event operations?
  • What would you do as an event organizer if the COVID situation escalates in and around your event dates?
  • What if, after a surge in cases, people are unwilling to travel out of fear or other safety-related reasons?

Where can things go wrong? 

There are various elements where things can and might go wrong during an event. Let’s look at some of them below:

In-person Attendance May Suffer a Big Blow.

The pandemic has changed how we live; people are still unsure about travelling and attending in-person events. Having a contingency solution like virtual event access solves this issue.

Event Cancellation

Event cancellations are a rarity but the possibility of that happening cannot be completely ruled out. This is because there are various factors at play that, simply put - you have absolutely no control over. Sometimes, these factors can lead to the sudden cancellation of your event.

It’s essential to make provisions if such a possibility occurs by negotiating flexible cancellation policies with the venue and vendors and planning for the contingency to swiftly shift an in-person event into a virtual one.

Speaker Cancellations

Like attendees, Speakers too can cancel, for varying reasons and sometimes right before the event! Organizers need to be well prepared for this scenario too. Have provisions in place that allow speakers to connect virtually if they opt against travelling to the event venue or have substitute speakers ready to step in when required.

Technology Failure

Today’s events are backed with event technology at every step. Most event jobs are automated and heavily influenced by technology in one way or another. However, even after putting immense effort into planning, sometimes, technology falls short or encounters problems. Now, to handle this effectively, event organizers can have skilled technicians available 24x7x365 to solve these issues if and when they come up.

Security Breach

All events have set security measures and protocols which they adhere to. However, at times, these protocols are not followed by attendees.

Gatecrashing serves as a great example. Also, what if any of the attendees couldn’t handle their liquor at the event. Briefing your security team extensively about these scenarios is an apt way to address this situation, when it arises.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practicing scenario thinking exercises is vital to enhance contingency planning and its execution. During these meetings, practice tackling a few scenarios that are the most predictable and likely to happen during your event. These exercises will help you in dealing with issues that come up during the event in real-time.

Another activity that sets you up to tackle real-time issues is gathering various stakeholders like the VR team, Operations team, Vendors etc., and brainstorming about what could go wrong at your event and discussing ideas to solve those issues.Hold Rehearsals
Rehearsals are a great way to set you up perfectly for your upcoming event. Try inviting the top brass of your event management team or even sponsors so that nobody is in their comfort zone even during the rehearsals. Get an emergency response team (ERT) team in place. Think about evacuation plans. Even covid-19 emergency quarantine measures!

Wrapping Up

Event organizers need to be prudent when looking at contingency planning. No matter how much effort and detail goes into planning an event, there’s something that inevitably goes wrong. The key is to be prepared for tackling those issues by incorporating the above mentioned elements in your event planning strategy!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the four 4 major elements of a contingency plan?

Contingency planning entails the forming of four major components:
  1. Business impact analysis
  2. Incident response plan
  3. Disaster recovery plan
  4. Business continuity plan


What are the key steps of contingency planning?

The following are the five basic steps of contingency planning:
  • Program Management – the process of managing programs mapped to business objectives that accommodate organizational contingencies
  • Planning – the process of integrating the various elements into consideration
  • Implementation – putting what is planned into action when faced with an emergency situation
  • Testing and Exercise – Analyzing implemented trails to check effectiveness and efficiency
  • Program Improvement – Working towards shortcomings that are observed and seeking further improvisations.


How important is contingency planning in the strategy evaluation?

When evaluating your business strategy, contingency plans must give your company the mobility to shift focus to different aspects of your company and change operating strategies according to market shifts. Mobility is a crucial element of contingency planning and your business strategy, at large.

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