ARE YOU scared of China? Does the prospect of hosting an event in Shanghai excite or terrify you?
Many of our clients feel both ways, and as event planners, it is part our job to make sure that excitement wins out. However, the road to carrying off a successful event is rarely smooth. Understanding potential pitfalls in advance will spare you time, energy, effort and money.
In the Middle Kingdom, the unexpected is the first item on your event’s checklist. Do you already have a Plan B? Start working on Plan C.
A higher degree of micro-management is necessary to ensure the smooth production and execution of an event. Remember to leave room in your budget for any costs you may unexpectedly incur. Be prepared to give up your best hours of sleep to make sure all details are taken care of.
When dealing with overseas clients, the one issue you have to address immediately is the perception of China as the cheapest possible destination—it is not. When you initially take on an event, start by exploring all available options for venues, entertainment, catering, etc.
The event can always be downsized according to budget and other factors. In the end, this is how you bring value to your client, and your efforts will be well rewarded.
Finally, managing foreign clients’ expectations is a crucial part of the job. In China, this means being able to blend together world-class habits and local cultures. We often find ourselves acting as cultural mediators in addition to event planners. As a rule of thumb, never seek the contrast but rather the compromise.