Creating Plastic Free Events

It’s no shock to hear that plastic is not good for our environment and with the population growing that a rate of 1.5% in the past 12 months, reduction of plastic should be at the top of mind for everyone. As an event manager, you will find potentially that a large percentage of events that you create a “pop up” which would include a large volume of once off or disposable gear. So, as an event manager is there anything you can do about this…. Well the answer is YES and they might seem like small changes but these small changes can have a massive impact on our environment.

So how can you create a plastic-free event?

Often, event manager make use of plastic disposables as they are extremely convenient. Plastic cutlery, water bottles, straws, decorations, are some of the things that are used in any event. Though plastic may seem quicker and more efficiently, plastic waste is harmful to the environment.

Educate everyone!

The first and foremost step to having a plastic-free event is to educate everyone! Yes, you heard it right, ‘Everyone!’ Awareness of the harmfulness of plastic must start from home, from your family. Only then will you be able to say ‘No’ to any event organiser that makes use of plastic. If, as a person, you insist upon the ban of plastic use in your event, no matter how small or how big the event is, many will follow your lead.

Talk about why you chose not to host an event where plastic is used, talk about all the environmental pollution that plastic gives birth to, talk about the consequences of using plastic. There are so many reasons to say no to plastic, but only one reason to say yes.

  • Plastic takes centuries to decompose, and potentially leak pollutants into water and air.
  • Plastics are one of the main reasons for drain clogs, littered parks, polluted landfills, among others.
  • They are one of the main products of fracking.
  • Has a negative effect on wildlife.

Almost every person is aware of the impact of plastic, they talk about it but are they willing to take the necessary steps to eliminate the use of plastics. This is the question you need to ask.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce, reuse and recycle is the mantra upon which the environment is built. You can successfully organize a plastic-free event by following the mantra. It might be difficult to completely eliminate plastic in some events such as conferences or marketing events where name tags, pens among things are made from plastic. But you can find a suitable substitute for these items, such as the use of recyclable plastic instead of nonrecyclable ones. It is important to know that not all plastics are recyclable, and not all plastics that are recyclable are recycled. Just because the cup can be recycled you need to find out will the waste be separated and recycled.  

Communicate with the client and the guests

As an event manager, you can offer a plastic free event to your clients and reach out to a large crowd. You can set an example to others and take a step in saving the environment. If your client, as well as their guests, know that you have a serious focus on reducing plastic, they can come prepared. So, make sure you communicate your low to no-plastic commitment when offering your services.

What else can an event managers do?

An event manager has a huge role to play in ensuring that the event organized by then is free of plastics.

Tips for a plastic free event include

  • Make use of durable dishes, cutlery and glasses instead of compost or disposable ones. They not only reduce the use of plastic but also reduce compost and recyclable waste.
    • Offer filtered tap water instead of water bottles. Water bottles not only are made of plastic, but a lot of water goes to waste when people throw behind half used water bottles. Instead, set up a water bar filtration system in the venue and offer filtered tap water in durable glasses. If guests insist on compost cups, charge a fee for a compostable cup. Though compostable cups are not a great option, they are much better than plastic cups.
    • Collect the plastic badges back after the event. In many events and conferences, name tags are mostly made of plastic which is never used after the event. This name tag is thrown into the bin and becomes a part of the plastic waste that pollutes the environment. Instead, as the guests to return the plastic name tags towards the end of the event and reuse them in another event. Make sure you mention why it is being taken back.
    • Waste Management: Make use of different bins for different purposes. Every event has food, drinks, and a lot of waste is thrown around. Offer bins in every corner that is easily reachable. Use a different bin for recyclable and compost. Place another bin for plastic waste, which will help you judge if you have succeeded in organizing a plastic-free event.

You can also appeal to your guests to bring their own reusable water bottles, coffee cups, pens, among other items as a clear and conscious effort to reduce the use of plastic.

Sync with the caterers

Disposable boxes, spoons, cups are some of the things that are a huge contributor to plastic pollution. Catering is a concern for an event manager if it has to be plastic-free. Most of the disposable catering items are made from plastic. To make sure that the event s plastic-free, it is vital to ensure that the caterers are aware of the cause and are fully on board with your no-plastic event. Imagine an event where you talk about an effort to reduce the use of plastic and hand over single-use food plates and cutlery provided by your caterer to your guests. Wouldn’t that spoil the whole idea of a no-plastic event? So, make sure that you communicate with the caterer before the event.

Giveaways and gifts

Giveaways and gifts are a part of almost every event, from networking events to conferences. Make sure that the giveaways bags are not made from plastic. The hard part is to make sure that the giveaway and return gift themselves are non-plastic items. Most times, in conferences, the contents of the giveaways feature plastic, such as a pen, USB flash drives, fridge magnets, among others. The first and foremost thing to investigate is the ultimate need of the giveaway and gifts. Make sure to concentrate on quality and sustainability than quantity. Remember, you can get one good item that is used several times instead of several small plastic items that may or may not be used.

Your responsibility starts with your home

You do not have to be an event manager to reduce the use of plastic, or an environmentalist to advertise its adverse effects. Your responsibility starts at your home. You can start by reducing the use of plastic at home. How can you contribute?

  • Make use of stainless steel or glass instead of plastic boxes.
  • Carry your own bag instead of asking the vendor for a plastic bag. Cloth bags are reusable and better than paper bags.
  • Celebrate plastic-free birthday parties and festivals and set an example to others.
  • If you are organizing an outdoor event, ask your guests to carry their own water bottles, cups, and cutlery.
  • Educate your children of the adverse effects of using plastic and the consequences that many have suffered.
  • Follow the mantra, reduce, reuse, recycle!

Whilst some of the suggestions might seem simple, you would be surprised how often you see elements of plastic usage at events that would be so easy to remove or replace with a more environmentally friendly option. So, the question you need to ask yourself is are you ready to make a positive impact on the environment?

David Yakas
Managing Director
Wrapped Creations

Event Trends You Need To Know About For 2020

As the end of the year draws upon us, it’s an exciting time for event managers to start planning their mind-blowing events for 2020. Knowing what the future trends are going to be is so important, as you need to ensure that you’re keeping your head above the trend line.

2019 saw some really exciting improvements to the events industry and what’s ahead in 2020 will keep your clients wanting more and more. Here are some exciting event trends for you’ll see in 2020:

Create a Unique Venue

Clients today are looking for that unique venue and no longer looking to book a traditional ballroom or venue to host their event. They want their event to be social media worthy and have their event sell-out within days! The pro to this that it gives the event manager the creative license to hunt down that amazing space however the con can be cost.

Creating a pop-up event space for a one of event can attract a lot of logistics expenses including kitchen, toilets, fencing, lighting etc… The cost of these spaces can grow quickly and it is important to understand the full build cost of the event space before committing. Nothing worse than getting the client sold on the space only to find out that you have blown the budget!

Just be sure when choosing an exciting new location that it matches your brand, event goals, and overall event mood. These pop up venues can be wonderful and allow for a truly custom event design but might require a bit more legwork to get there but it’s so worth it in the end! 

Event Sustainability

Now I am a massive fan of this and getting excited to see the client demand for tis increasing too. Event sustainability can seem scary however if you reflect on the impact you have created on the environment at the end of delivering a 2,000-person event you’ll understand why it is not important.

So what is event sustainability? It’s making small steps to reduce the damage and impact you create on the environment. It’s banning the use of single use plastics, educating our guests on the correct disposal of the waste and also seeking out more local and plant-based catering options.

Simple changes you can make includes:

– Use online surveys instead of paper-based forms at your conferences;

– Create edible centrepieces for your gala dinners but serving your entrees as share plates on stunning tiered platters and save those floral and plastic centrepiece arrangements;

– Insist on venues not offering single use plastic products;

– Offer and educate your guests on the correct disposal of waste at your event

These small steps will propel the industry forward towards reducing our carbon footprint and impact on the earth. 

Immersive Live Entertainment

Now I know as an event manager you will already be including live entertainment in the planning of your event however your guests in 2020 will be looking for more. That are wanting that experience that will immerse them into the event and create that connection.

You can capture the imagination of your attendees with unique performers, fun activities and unique experiences to create a buzz around your event and not to mention those instagrammable social media moments. And it’s not just those key entertainment moments you need to consider, Think about every possible interaction moment your guests might have for the event and consider how you might be able to entertain them. Do they arrive and wait in a queue, then how can you entertain them while they wait, what unique moment can your chef create while your guests wait for their meals.

The more creative you can get the better. 

AR and VR Demand Will Continue

Since the introduction of AR and VR to the public, several event managers have started to dabble in with the inclusion of AR and VR within their events. In 2020 as AR and VR is ready for mass adoption within mainstream events and with the significant growth seen in these technologies in 2019, they have become even more affordable. A great example of a cost effective solution is the Google Cardboard which allows attendees to get a virtual experience on a tiny budget

With the help of these technologies, event managers will be able to create immersive experiences for their guests. At the same time, they will attract sponsorships, as brands can use AR and VR to gain exposure for their products and services.

Bleisure (business + leisure) events Will Take Centre Stage

There has been a massive increase in the interest of bleisure events over the past 5 years and 2020 looks set to be the year where guests will be seeking out bleisure events. So what exactly are they are they and what are people looking for? Simply put a bleisure event is a destination event where the guests travel for a conference, workshop, awards evening however they extend their stay and take the opportunity to explore the town where the event is being hosted.

So if you’re planning a bleisure event, what are you going to need to be considering to win you’re your guests in 2020? You need to look for destinations that not only meets the needs for your event and fits into your budget but will also be attractive to attendees. It’s essential that the city has an interesting downtown, with a great food and cultural / entertainment offering. Also consider locations near beaches, or a mountain destination.

Bleisure travelers generally extend their stays for days, not weeks, so they want fun, fast activities that will keep them entertained. Consider putting together two- to four-day post-conference or meeting programs that incorporate sightseeing, meals, and athletic activities such as hikes, bicycling, and water sports.

If you are planning an event with bleisure as a consideration, it’s important that you promote these opportunities as part of your registration marketing!

These trends will certainly see some exciting improvements to the events space and potentially a greater ROI to clients. As an event manager it’s your job to think outside the box and create those breath-taking moments for your clients and their guests. 2020 is the year to make this happen!

David Yakas
Managing Director
Wrapped Creations

Security Risks To Consider When Planning An Event

When organizing an event of any size, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. You must worry about the permits and vendors while taking care of every other thing which comes in your way.

One important aspect of event management is security. You certainly want everyone to have an excellent time without having to worry about facing any problems. Whether it’s a special guest for the conference or the attendees, anyone who comes should be safe and secure.

There are a lot of factors which can determine the outcome of your event. A negative experience for your attendees or guests will leave the wrong impression.

The first step in security is to understand the risk factors so that you can take the necessary measures to overcome them. Given below are some of the elements you need to consider, for the safety of your guests and attendees:

Data leak

These days, the event management industry uses technology for a variety of purposes. There is a myriad of tools, which make your life easier. For example, there are online forms which allow you to collect data from your attendees through social media. You can use billing systems, which sends invoices to the vendors.

There is the option of an online ticketing system, which reduces your workload significantly. However, the biggest problem with technology and social media is that you need to collect sensitive data. For example, an online ticketing system will require payment from an attendee’s credit or debit card.

There are also other types of information that make your events a great target for cybercriminals. Unauthorized access to this data creates a lot of problems, which puts your conference or networking event in a negative light.

The best solution would be to follow state-of-the-art online security practices to improve the safety of the data. Should anything go wrong, you need to make sure you have an emergency plan in place so that you can handle the situation the right way.

Personal property theft

When there is a huge gathering at events, unfortunately thieves can see it as a tremendous opportunity to steal private property. Due to a large crowd, they can commit a variety of criminal acts, which remain unnoticed.

On top of that, there can be a lot of expensive gadgets at events.

The problem with personal property theft is that it is quite hard to prevent them from occurring. However, you can take the necessary steps to bring down this security risk significantly.

For starters, make sure you hire enough security staff to monitor the event. If you are using expensive equipment, make sure only a limited number of people have access to it. Ask these members to report unauthorized people immediately.

Make sure there are adequate security cameras throughout the venue, to deter people from committing personal property theft. Also, ensure people know about them so that they know it will be easy to identify them if they are guilty of carrying out criminal activities.

Unruly guests

If you are going to be serving alcohol in your events, it can increase the security risk. Even the most docile people tend to become hostile when they consume large amounts of liquor. As a result, there is a high chance a small situation can go out of control quickly.

You need to make sure you have extra security members at the place where you serve alcohol. Ask them to remain extra vigilant, so that they can control any situation before it goes out of hand. Also, you can ask the servers to keep track of the attendees who consume large amounts. They can inform the security officials about these people and ensure they don’t cause any problems. Also remember that bar staff need to have the appropriate training and qualifications for service.

Natural Disasters

Even though the chances of facing natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes, and storms are quite low, you cannot rule them out. Whether it is human-made or natural, they cause significant damage. While you have no control over these types of problems, you can still do a lot to ensure your guests and attendees are safe.

For starters, you can have several strategies in place, which helps you deal with a variety of situations appropriately. One tactic would be to create a fact sheet during your marketing, informing the guests and attendees what they need to do when facing such issues. Being prepared is the only way you can mitigate the damage of these events.

Violent crimes

The chances of violent crimes are quite small at events, however you still need to make sure it doesn’t take place in your events. When you have high-profile or special guests attending your event, you need to take extra measures to protect them. There are going to be people who wish to harm these individuals due to various personal reasons.

Another example of a potential violent crime is a terrorist attack, which can cause significant damage. Again, there isn’t any particular reason why these groups would target your event. However, you can’t rule it out, because it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can deter violent crimes from taking place in your events. For starters, having ample amounts of surveillance equipment will force people to think twice, before performing any illegal activities. Make sure you let the people know that they are security cameras all over the venue.

You should hire enough personnel who are in charge of keeping the guests and attendees safe at all times. Ensure they are visible to everyone so that people are aware of the presence of security members.

If you are going to be hiring new members to help out with the events, you need to make sure you perform background checks on them. With this strategy, you can eliminate the chances of your staff from committing crimes.

Tips for handling security in event

When you are organizing events, you want to make sure you avoid the above security risks. Given below are my three tips which will help you ensure everyone is safe and secure:

Ask professionals for help

If security is number one on your list, due to high-profile guests, then you should leave it to the professionals. They have the expertise to keep any situation under control. Also, you can take it easy, knowing that the security is under the best hands.

Make sure you ask them for advice, once you hire them. They will identify loopholes in the venue and suggest strategies to enhance security. You also have the option of asking the local police department to help you out.

Ensure the venue has excellent lighting

When the lighting is poor at the venue, it encourages criminals to carry out their activities. You need to make sure that all places have an adequate number of lights. For example, the walkways should have excellent lighting so that people feel safe and secure.

In case there is a power failure, you need to have emergency lighting in place. Ask professionals to help you out in this area to avoid lighting issues.

Have an emergency plan in place

If you face a security threat at your event, you need to know what you should be doing to handle it effectively. Make a draft, which will ensure everyone in your team knows what to do during a disaster. For example, the exits the guests and attendees must take, to evacuate the venue as soon as possible.

You are better to be planned, ready for action than to try and figure out how to manage it once it occurs.

While you can’t guarantee zero security problems in your events, the above measures will help bring down the risk. The key is to take adequate measures, which will discourage criminals from causing problems!

David Yakas
Managing Director
Wrapped Creations