Fyre Festival, Celebrity Booking App and other disasters

Event Planning Disaster - PartyMaker App

 

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened – new original Netflix documentary on the most infamous “festival” of the decade which is a must see for anyone involved in the events business and to a less degree tech startups.

 

Expectations: Beautiful Island on the Bahamas, Top Models and Influencers, Luxury Villas, Yachts, Epic Artists Line Up, Epic foods and drinks.

Reality: Beautiful Island on the Bahamas, Frustrated=>Angry Crowd, Soaking wet hurricane tents, Epic Cheese Sandwiches.

 

The big and ambitious vision which ended up in 6-year imprisonment for the founder, millions of dollars debts and probably the toughest PES (Post Event Syndrome) in the careers of the people involved in the organisation.

 

However, our goal is not to gloat but as passionate event profs and event tech startup to do a proper debrief of this ambitious experiential marketing campaign for the Fyre Celebrity Booking App.

 

Disclaimer: The below text is based on the author’s assumptions and the open source data available on the web and not on official reports.

 

  1. Fyre Festival Objectives and KPI’s

 

Fyre App supposed to be a mobile app through which anyone could book celebrities directly to avoid paying fees for countless agents and agents of agents 🙂  One of the founders Ja Rule finished this idea as a similar service – ICONN

 

Objectives:

 

  • To highlight the exclusivity and the luxury experience of using the app
  • To secure a festival line up of celebrities which could be booked through the platform
  • To create and sell various luxury experiences and high-end packages for the guests
  • To drive sales through a massive influencer marketing campaign

 

KPI’s

  • Sold out tickets
  • Strong Brand awareness through social media mentions
  • Pre Booking on the Fyre Platform as a result of the Festival

 

Note to start-ups:

Fyre social media campaign is a perfect example of what impact a good promo video and the experiential event could have on the launch of your product. In this case, they had an almost unlimited budget (not wisely spent though).

However, the principal is the same:

  1. Create an experience which embodies your startup
  2. Build up the hype through relevant influencers (again they shouldn’t have millions of followers, but they should be pertinent to your target audience) invest in a quality promo to show the feeling of what people get from your product
  3. Invite the opinion leaders and influencers from your industry to the event. Fyre organisers invited mainly mainstream Insta influencers (250 of them). The question is, though, why they didn’t encourage any decision makers who would be using their app to book celebrities for other festivals and events?

 

  1. Challenges with the Greatest Party That Never Happened

 

  1. Founder’s Billy McFarland reality distortion field which massively surpassed even Steve Job’s one.

Billy put together an experienced team of event planners but ignored their warnings and advice entirely.

 

  1. A very short lead-up time

 

Six months before the event – the festival idea is born

Five months before the event – public announcement

Two months – the proper planning and set-up started

(Source: Mashable UK).

 

On average you need 12 months to plan a first-time festival especially in a place with no infrastructure.

 

Note to everyone: The suppliers you work with should give you realistic timelines.

 

  1. No infrastructure

An open-air festival is one of the most challenging events from the infrastructure perspective. Both event sites (they had to change the first island) were just bare pieces of land with no electricity, water supply, roads …should we continue?

 

  1. Catering supplier cancels 28 days before the event for not being paid which led to the appearance of the Luxury Cheese Sandwich pic which blew up Twitter.

 

Note for event planners: Negotiate clear T&Cs and cancellation policy when signing the contract.

 

  1. Key Lessons Learned from the Netflix Documentary

 

  1. Reality distortion field should be managed through project planning and key milestones updates

 

  1. Don’t start planning any event apart from a Sunday Brunch only two months in advance

 

  1. Proper site visits with a thorough risk assessment and capacity evaluation are a must

 

  1. Build up a cash flow plan as well as negotiate payment terms in advance

 

  1. Don’t do shady, scammy crap 🙂

 

  1. Always take one for the team

(Source: Twitter)

 

So Dream Big but dig deep into the details and please, please, please – be transparent. It’s 2019 and days of unethical event planners with outrageous markups, hidden fees and poor delivery are long gone. Respect the craft, the industry and, most of all, your audience and it will reward you multiple times and keep your reputation afloat.

Top 5 skills for Eventprofs in 2020

Top skills for Event Managers - 2020 - PartyMaker App

Hi Eventprofs! 2020 is looking to be disruptive for a lot of industries with the ongoing integration of Ai, VR, Blockchain, evolving social media algorithms and other technologies emerging.

Considering the crazy pace we are moving at, we at PartyMaker decided to ask you guys about the vital skills for event profs in 2020. We got a lot of great feedback which we are so grateful for. So here we go

The top 5 skills for eventprofs in 2020 you highlighted

(they are not listed in order of importance) :

Top skills for Event Planners 2020

1. Stay Organized (the top choice of skills by real eventprofs)

Rosemary Watts – Event Sales Director at Legends Group points out how technology helps us to cut out the noise from the thousands of daily tasks: “Utilizing event management software is a game-changer! It helps to clearly define the needs of each client, where you are with billing, how far off you are from reaching your financial goals, etc.

We totally agree on this one as it’s fascinating how many organizations still use emails and notepads for project management for example

The level of self-organization directly links to how much attention we pay to details. Here is what Melissa Park – Global Event Producer, thinks on this matter:

While it may sound boring, I can guarantee you, attention to detail is the one skill that separates the good from the extraordinary. There are sooo many moving parts in events, no matter how large or small. Every, and I mean every single touchpoint whether it be with a vendor, attendee, sponsor, speaker, event feature, piece of signage or document needs to serve a purpose, be accurate, be on-brand, and communicate your message and/or goal efficiently and effectively

Another amazing tip on organizational matter by Kelsey Munday – Event Manager at George P. Johnson UK : “For me my most important thing is to set your goal for the day. We overwhelm ourselves with our to do lists and can get carried away. Each day you should set yourself a goal, work or personal, to achieve”

 

Top skills for Event Planners 2020 - PartyMaker App

 

2. Stay on top of the Trends

Rosemary Watts: “It’s also important to keep up with event trends and assure your clients that you’re providing them with a service that comes with not only years of know how, but also the latest and greatest in the industry.”

Alicia MacNeill – Director of Special Events: “I would say the skills that hold the most value for now and years to come is staying on top of current trends, and always thinking outside the box

What media outlets do you follow for the latest news and trends in the events industry? Please share in the comments below 🙂

Elina Jutelyte – Event Consultant : “Thinking Green – producing an event without assuming the responsibility of the ecological impact is no longer cool. Event planner of the future influence suppliers, providers, venue, destination into adhering to green practices and minimising waste at the event.”

Another trend which Elina emphases is the Tech Savviness. “Event planners 2020 know that event technology is not AV, in-build projector and screen. Data and technology is not something that scares them. They know how marketing and enterprise automation systems communicate and what is important for the c-suite decision making. They know how to set requirements for data, how to collect it and how technology can assist in event analysis and analytics.”

 

Top skills for Event Managers 2020 - PartyMaker App

 

3. Communication

Here comes the part when tech causes some confusion. Emails, Chats, Messengers, PM tools, Collaboration tools – all these communication channels might actually cause some of the conversations to get lost which causes delays in production, budgeting gaps and so on.

Teresa Lambert – Freelance Event Manager:”Learn to communicate your ideas, your direction, your requests Make people understand what you are actually asking Don’t ever suppose that everybody knows what you’re talking about! Also, don’t think you know it all … learn to listen to your team”

Karl Schussig – Event Director :”Communication – clean, clear, concise communication with all event stakeholders. As well as the ability to connect with all types of people from business executives, colleagues, partners, suppliers, vendors, staff.”

 

Top skills for Event Agencies 2020 - PartyMaker App

4. Resilience

Although this skill is important in almost any profession nowadays it is vital in events. This advice might be especially valuable for those of you who just started or even are graduating next year.

Melissa Park : “I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this business is tough! Between shrinking budgets and expanding competition, the struggle to hit targets – both sponsorship and attendee – is real my friend. This combination can lead to client or management if you’re in-house stress, and we all know that not everyone handles stress well. Now I don’t want to scare you, but if you’re going to prosper, it’s going to be a lot easier with callus-level thick skin (an awful visual I know). Want a pro-tip? Unless you’re not doing your job well, projected stress is not usually personal. The faster you’re able to identify that the stress being directed your way actually has nothing to do with you, the quicker you’ll be able to get your Taylor Swift on “shake it off, shake it off” and then, continue planning.

Teresa Lambert : “Don’t grumble it’s a hard profession with stupid hours and people who are challenging don’t be the person on the team who is always complaining you will bring the team down.

 

4. Resilience Although this skill is important in almost any profession nowadays it is vital in events. This advice might be especially valuable for those of you who just started or even are graduating next year. Melissa Park : "I'm not going to sugarcoat it, this business is tough! Between shrinking budgets and expanding competition, the struggle to hit targets - both sponsorship and attendee - is real my friend. This combination can lead to client or management if you're in-house stress, and we all know that not everyone handles stress well. Now I don't want to scare you, but if you're going to prosper, it's going to be a lot easier with callus-level thick skin (an awful visual I know). Want a pro-tip? Unless you're not doing your job well, projected stress is not usually personal. The faster you're able to identify that the stress being directed your way actually has nothing to do with you, the quicker you’ll be able to get your Taylor Swift on “shake it off, shake it off” and then, continue planning." Teresa Lambert : "Don’t grumble it’s a hard profession with stupid hours and people who are challenging don’t be the person on the team who is always complaining you will bring the team down."

5. Sales

Although, you as an event manager don’t sell anything directly – every day you have to sell your ideas, vision, get suppliers, internal and external stakeholders to  say “YES”. So you are a salesperson in a way which means a couple of books, courses, training on selling and negotiations would not hurt anyone.

When it comes to account management/client-facing roles you don’t only represent your company but your personal brand as well. People buy from people this is not a new line. As you progress in your career the skill to bring new clients on board would make you and invaluable top of the rank employee in any agency/venue/supplier. The sales/personal branding/consultative skills combined with networking would bring results in long term and if you haven’t thought about it – 2020 is a great year to start… actually tomorrow is a great day to start 🙂

These are the Top 5 skills for Event Managers in 2020 , let us know what would you add to the above or which other skills you think would play a big role next year in the events industry!