5 Simple Strategies for Following Up With Event Requesters

24 April, 2019

Ask any event planner or event scheduler and they’ll tell you: the volume and complexity of events continues to rise rapidly. And, unfortunately, staffing doesn’t always follow suit. As a result, events professionals have to find ways to be more efficient as their workload grows. One area where efficiency is especially important is in communicating with event hosts about their room requests, resource needs, and other details.

Even simple meetings (and you could argue there’s no such thing anymore!) require multiple interactions, and complex events may involve dozens, if not hundreds, of details that have to be hammered out. If a host replies to a scheduler’s requests for information quickly and clearly, it makes life easier for both parties. If they don’t… well… it does not. Fortunately, there are things the event scheduler or event planner can do to set the stage for effective communication.

5 Proven Tips for Connecting with Event Hosts

The key to getting what you need from people who submit event requests is having a well-defined process for how you will connect with them. Fail to create and follow this kind of procedure and you can expect that issues will arise. First, it will cause frustration for you, your events team, external service providers, and the event host. Second, it will waste your valuable time. And finally, it can result in miscommunication that leads to an unsatisfactory event and damage to the reputations of everyone involved.

To avoid these and other negative outcomes, keep these tips in mind for your interactions with hosts or anyone who will have input on an event:

  1. Explain the importance of clear, concise, and prompt communication. Give examples of what can happen if your team and the host are not on the same page – things like catering services or equipment that can’t be provided due to lack of information.
  2. Discuss how you should contact the requester. A “meet them where they are” approach to communications tends to be the most effective. You need to know both the channels where you can reach them (phone call, text message, email, scheduling system messaging app, etc.) and the best time of day. Note that we use the word “channels,” plural. Ideally you should reach out to them in multiple ways so your communications are harder to ignore or overlook.
  3. Let them know you’ll have to be persistent about getting the information you need. Nobody likes to be annoying (or to be annoyed), but it’s part of your job.
  4. Describe the scope of your scheduling operations and your obligations to other hosts. It’s easy for requesters to feel that their event is “the only game in town” and that your events team will be able to compensate for their delayed responses with a little extra effort. Make sure they understand that that may not be the case.
  5. Record all your outreach attempts. What day and time did you try to contact the host and in what forms? Having the details is helpful in two ways. First, if you look back at your log you may be able to identify a pattern of hits and misses and adjust your strategy accordingly. Second, politely mentioning some or all of those prior attempts may prompt the host to respond.

Despite Your Best Efforts…

Of course, even if you use the tips above, you will still encounter people who don’t respond promptly or at all. It’s something that all event planners and schedulers have to deal with at times. In that case, you should continue to be polite and simply do what you can with the information provided. If that means you need to cancel a requested service or even the event itself, at least you have made an effort to meet the host’s needs, and you have the documentation to prove it.

If this is an ongoing problem, you may need to consider adding language to your reservation confirmations stating that failure to respond and subsequent cancellation of services or events can result in suspension of room booking privileges. But, hopefully by setting a positive tone regarding communication upfront you can get the timely and complete responses that lead to a positive experience for hosts, event attendees, and your staff.

Do you need help making your request process more efficient? See our free online resource, The Ultimate Guide to Taking Online Room Scheduling Requests.

Dean Evans

Dean Evans is the Founder and CEO of Mazévo. Check out his articles about event scheduling software.