Follow these 10 corporate-event planning and security tips when creating your next event.
What comes to your mind when you think of event security? Beefy guys in black t-shirts emblazoned with “SECURITY”? Women wearing suits and earpieces? Metal detectors and wands? Lockers? Secure Wi-Fi passwords? Theft?
Keeping an event secure is all of those things and more.
Over the years, I’ve had some interesting security situations come up at my events. A hospitality suite being ransacked during a tornado evacuation. Fire alarms going off at venues. Uninvited guests showing up. Over-excited crowds at celebrity appearances. And that’s just my short list. The one thing they all had in common was a positive resolution due to diligent planning and being alert.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your next event.
1. Plan ahead. Once you have established your event – what it is, who it’s for, when and where – you need to start working out the logistics. Security should be in your mind for every piece of it. Even your(food and beverage) needs must be planned with an eye toward security. Have you accounted for allergies and other dietary restrictions? Are the locations easy to get to and do they account for a safe crowd flow?
2. Familiarize yourself with the venue. Once you know where your event is going to be held, obtain layouts of the venue/rooms and maps. Will you need to post security at the entrances? What are the fire codes? Do you need to obtain barriers such as stanchion rope, gates or fencing?
3. Staff intelligently. The type of event you are doing helps you to determine your staffing need, for both number of staffers and personality. Everyone should be trained to spot potential security risks and bring them to your attention or be empowered to handle them alone. Make sure staff uniforms, including name badges and credentials, clearly communicate to attendees who should be approached for assistance.
4. Know Your Location. Before you arrive, you already have an idea of your layout, but once you’re on-site, walk it. Know meeting places and look for easily recognizable landmarks. Check that emergencies exits are where they are supposed to be and accessible. Know where the doors are. Time routes for guests and celebrity appearances. Have multiple routes.
5. Find the support staff. If you’re doing an event within an event (hospitality at a football game, for example), the venue will supply security officers, ushers and EMS/first aid stations. Make it a point to search these people out beforehand and introduce yourself. Get their cell phone numbers, if possible. If you know you have a guest coming who has severe allergies, give EMS and catering a heads up. Or if you’re bringing in a celebrity guest, touch base with security along the route so they are aware in advance. They may have suggestions for better routes or offer to hold a private elevator for you.
6. Eyes wide open. Pay attention to the details and if something seems weird or out of place, follow up and fix it. Be proactive and flexible. If someone points something out to you, look into it.
7. Hire additional security, if needed. If you’re creating your own event, you will likely need to hire outside security. If you’re doing an activation within an event, you may be tempted to rely on their security. Talk with the promoters and assess your needs, then compare to what they can offer you. If it’s an overnight, outdoor festival that’s not gated off, you may want security to come in and watch over your booth. Or you may feel you can pack and store your items securely on your own.
8. Have a crisis management plan. Crisis management plans aren’t just for PR. My colleague, Kristin recently wrote a blog article on crisis management plans and some of the tips are the same for an event crisis management plan. You can read it here. But basically, if something does happen, you and your staff need to be prepared for it.
9. Learn and evolve. After the event, you’re not done! Reach out to the event organizers, your guests and your staff and ask for input on things that were missed. You can account for them when you start planning for next time.
10. Call Vela. Thinking about keeping your event secure can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. Contact us today to review your event security plans. Or we can plan and manage your event for you!