November 13, 2019

9 Ways to Quickly Identify Complex Events


At the highest level, events can be either simple or complex. A simple event might be a person needing one room on one date to accommodate a meeting for a handful of people who don’t need any catering, A/V, or other resources. A complex event might involve multiple dates and rooms, large numbers of attendees, lots of resources, etc.

You would think it’d be easy to spot a complex event when the room request comes in. In practice, however, it’s not as simple as it seems. And it’s important to be able to identify more involved events quickly and correctly for a number of reasons, including that they:

  • Take more time to prepare for
  • Are affected by more policies (parking, security, alcohol, etc.)
  • Require more approvals
  • Involve more coordination among service providers

As events professionals know, fail to identify a complex event and you are likely to find yourself in the middle of a fire drill! And, of course, your mad scramble to deal with this event can have a negative impact on your ability to give others the attention they deserve.

Complex events may be particularly hard for new team members to spot. Fortunately, there are some telltale signs that everyone in your department can be trained to look for.

Your Complex Event Identification Checklist

When you receive a new room request, be sure to read it carefully with an eye for these attributes:

  1. Large number of attendees. What’s “large”? That depends on your facility and your staffing. Whether it’s 200 people or 20 people, just be sure you alert your team if the number is exceeded.
  2. Contracted services. Performers, speakers, a DJ… in addition to the overall event requirements, these people may have requirements of their own. For example, they might need a place to get dressed, early access to the room to prepare for their performance or presentation, or special lighting or equipment.
  3. Security. Certain types of events, like those where there is a significant amount of cash on site, will require security and that means you have to arrange for that in advance and work within the security provider’s availability.
  4. Ticketed event. Events that have restricted admission add elements like the need to lock or monitor all access points.
  5. Special A/V requirements. If all that an event requires is a microphone and stand for making a few announcements, that’s no problem. If the gathering will feature a large band with detailed lighting and audio needs, that’s another story!
  6. Elaborate catering. Here again, coffee and donuts… no problem. Plated meal or buffet with multiple stations… that’s going to require much more in terms of planning and resources.
  7. Alcohol. Whenever alcohol is served there are likely to be a number of additional considerations that have to be addressed, from approvals to release forms to possibly a security presence.
  8. Certain event types. Any event with lots of “moving parts” (concerts, dances, auctions, festivals, etc.) will probably fall into the “complex” category.
  9. Multi-day and/or multi-room events. If an event will run for multiple days, a number of issues arise. Where will valuable items (equipment, giveaways, etc.) be stored overnight? How will they be secured? If the event takes place in multiple rooms, how will people be guided to the proper locations?

These characteristics don’t have to raise anyone’s blood pressure. They just mean that the gathering will require a heightened sense of awareness and an earlier start to planning and preparation. Scheduling departments that 1) are able to spot them, and 2) develop a well-defined and documented process for handling them efficiently will have no problem at all executing flawless complex events.

To learn more about how to manage complex event requests see The Ultimate Guide to Taking Online Room Scheduling Requests.

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