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Rita Okoye: 6 Vendor Management Tips For Every Event Planner



As an events planner, the vendors you provide for a corporate or social event can either make or break your reputation especially if you are an upcoming business owner.

Here are tips to ensure your vendors are on the same page and deliver a fabulous event.

Understanding of Deliverables
Communication is key, and this is true with vendor relationships. It is very important to articulate your client’s requirements clearly to your vendors, especially with services that require creativity such as decoration, cake making or video coverage. It is best to go over things so that the information is understood. Always provide a written document for each vendor with terms and conditions. The vendor should also provide a check list of all the items they will supply for the event. For example make sure you know exactly what your cake vendor will provide based on the client requirements such as cake table, knife, table cloth, candles, matches etc. Do not presume. If in doubt, ask.

Time of Set Up and Departure
A vendor who turns up late for set up can actually make an event turn out disastrous. Such vendors should be struck off your list instantly, unless there is a good enough reason. Engage vendors with a track record of being trustworthy and reliable and who won’t let you down.

Beware of the time frame of hire. Some vendors have a time frame for engagement such as car hire services. Find out if they are flexible with their time because you do not want any surprises. I recall a wedding where the Limo driver was threatening to leave the venue because the contracted three hours was up.

Too many staff or too little staff can create havoc at events. There is nothing worse than seeing more vendors at your events than guests. You always need to know the number of staff that is being supplied by the vendor. Find out as much information as possible. For example, how many waiters, servers, ushers etc.

Most clients do not cater for vendor feeding. They expect that any feeding will be included in the vendor fees. So make sure this is communicated to your vendors before the event. Under no condition should a member of staff from a vendor go and help themselves to feeding that has been provided for guests. This is highly unprofessional.

Last Meeting
It is a must that you speak with vendors face to face for meetings prior to the event. Get as much detail as possible and talk through the event set up and where each vendor will be located. And remember to ask if any matters need clarification. This will shed light on any loop holes.

Rules of Engagement
It is very important to brief your vendors on the rules of engagement for your events. There is nothing worse than seeing staff provided by vendors dancing around or taking photos of the event with their phone cameras, when there are guests. This is bad manners and unprofessional. Vendors need to be informed that if any such behaviour is demonstrated, they will not be called again.

Excellent Customer Service
Remind your vendors that their staff should demonstrate excellent customer service at all times. Under no condition should they argue with your client or their guests. They should go behold the call of duty to delight the client and always be at their best

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