13 horrifying event planning problems and solutions

Thomas Paris
February 1, 2024
13 horrifying event planning problems and solutions

In the world of event planning, unexpected issues can always arise. Sometimes, they can be big enough to give you a personal house of horrors to navigate through. In fact, a CareerCast survey shows that event planning is the sixth most stressful job in the world. 

But don’t get frightened by the haunting task of avoiding these event planning problems, because this article can help! Here, we outline 13 of the most horrifying problems people face when planning events, and offer some helpful tricks (or treats) that can be used as solutions to rescue your event from doom.

1. Overspending or not having enough money

Solution: Research to plan an accurate budget

It’s always a challenge to figure out how much your event will cost. However, without preparing a detailed budget analysis before, you can be left in a financial mess of either overspending or running out of money. It’s essential to conduct a deep dive into how much your event is expected to cost early in the planning phase, as well as keeping a running tally of how much has been used once the spending process is underway. Doing early estimates and accurate budget tracking throughout will help you make prudent financial decisions during the entire process.

2. No one shows up to the event

Solution: Clear communication and hype before

Everyone as a kid had the nightmare of nobody showing up to their birthday party. Now, imagine if that same situation happened as an adult at one of your events. It would be terrifying! Simply put: People won’t attend an event they don’t know about, so make sure to communicate with everyone invited. Give them specific details about the date, time, location, and theme. On top of using clear communication, you also have to hype up the event in order to convince people to go. Use social media and word-of-mouth techniques to get people talking about it in a positive light, and excitement will generate enough interest to make sure people show up.

3. Being understaffed 

Solution: Be prepared for a high turnout

Doing a great job hyping up your event means there’s a strong chance the turnout rate will exceed expectations. Although this is a good problem to have, it’s still quite a challenge. The safest solution is to treat each event as if a large audience could happen. Don’t overspend in your budget assuming you’re going to need more food or additional staffing, but leave some space in your finances just in case a last-minute decision to bring in more resources is needed. Promoting your event well can definitely lead to a big turnout, so simply be prepared in advance if that happens.

4. Losing the attention of guests

Solution: Keep them engaged with activities

girl taking selfie on pink background

There is no worse feeling as an event host than seeing your attendees visibly bored. Prevent any yawning or phone-staring by adding some gamification elements to the experience or dividing them into smaller groups for discussion periods. Schedule breaks into your event’s structure where people can refocus. Mix things up by planning different activities throughout your schedule, but don’t be afraid to spend more time on anything that is creating strong engagement. Bottom line: Be willing to adapt.

5. Low participation rate among attendees

Solution: Entice them with incentives

Sometimes all it takes to motivate people is an added incentive. If you want to get the most engagement from your audience, offer them some perks to participate! Gamify the experience by creating contests that require everyone to contribute during the event, and offer rewards to the people who put in the best work. Those incentives could be provided by your event sponsors (gift cards, discount deals, free products), or even your own company-related perks (office networking opportunities, bonus vacation days, corporate swag). Everyone loves friendly competition, so use that as a motivating tool to get your attendees to participate in the event.

6. Complicated catering and gifting logistics

Solution: Use Hoppier to help simplify the process

Anyone who has planned an event knows what a chaotic mess it can be to find reliable catering, and this has only gotten more challenging with the rise of virtual events. Hoppier is an easy way to simplify the difficult catering process. We can provide your attendees with virtual cards that let them order from a variety of vendors, and the items will be swiftly delivered to each person, even if they’re all in different locations. It’s also a terrific incentive to use because the customizable nature means it works well for anyone who ultimately wins the reward. Avoid the logistical nightmares of catering or gifting by trying Hoppier, and give everyone an incredible experience by letting each person pick things they want.

7. Unexpected technological issues

Solution: Test rigorously and have a backup plan

girl with halloween background looking at

As mentioned, virtual events are here to stay. But for all the convenience that comes with technology, our reliance on it can cause massive problems if something doesn’t work when needed. To avoid encountering these time-wasting issues at your events, test everything rigorously before things get underway. This preparation can help you identify and solve problems early enough to get the help needed ahead of time. And in the unfortunate situation that something goes wrong during your event, always have a backup plan prepared to keep things moving along until you can fix the issue.

8. Bad weather or venue problems

Solution: Prepare for the worst-case scenario

Now that we’re emerging on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events are finally making a comeback. Having a specific location for an event can cause unexpected complications that are simply out of your control, like bad weather or problems with the venue. In case the weather is brutal on the day of your outdoor event, plan a place with the option to pivot indoors. And if something goes wrong with the venue and your location needs to change, always have a backup option in mind for a sudden late change. There is never a perfect solution to these issues, but preparing for a worst-case scenario ahead of time can significantly help you avoid a nightmarish outcome.

9. Last-minute speaker cancellations

Solution: Be ready with backup speakers or extra discussion topics

Finding a compelling list of speakers is one of the most important elements to any event. But what happens when one of them cancels on you at the last-minute? It’s incredibly frustrating to deal with a speaker bailing at any time, but particularly when it’s right before your event. Always be ready with a backup guest or two that you know will be able to swoop in at a moment’s notice in case of an emergency. And if none of your fallback speakers are available, be prepared with extra panel discussion topics that can help fill the time with genuinely interesting dialogue as opposed to filler conversation.

10. Struggling to find sponsors

Solution: Proactively seek sponsors with a big list of options

If you want or need sponsors for your event, be proactive in locking them down early. Waiting too long to find sponsors can cripple your event. Focusing on sponsors early can help alleviate the pressure later on, and allows you to go through all your options in a timely manner. You should also draft a big list of potential partners and discuss the benefits of each with your team, because you may need to go through several options before finally coming to an agreement.

11. Not leaving wiggle room in your timeline

Solution: Create a flexible schedule

man in halloween costume staring at screen on yellow background

No matter how hard you try to have a perfect plan for your event, there’s always something that doesn’t follow the anticipated timeline. Here’s an important piece of advice: Be flexible when it comes to making your schedule. Perhaps one of your activities runs longer than planned, or maybe you don’t want to stop a particular component because it’s generating great engagement with the attendees. Having a detailed plan is necessary to keep things moving at a steady rhythm, but you can’t become committed to following each element exactly as scheduled. A willingness to adjust your plan creates the wiggle room needed to provide the most captivating event possible for everyone in attendance.

12. Ignoring the little things

Solution: Ask people to learn what they want

As important as it is to have your own vision, you must also listen carefully to what the people attending it are hoping for. Try asking your guests what they want ahead of time, which can be done statistically through a survey or casually through simple conversations. If the audience responds unenthusiastically to any of your suggestions, ask them what they’d prefer instead (more networking opportunities, different themes, shorter event time, among other possibilities). You can’t act on every recommendation, but it’s a good idea to follow through on any common requests that will elevate your event into a memorable and enjoyable experience.

13. Feeling overwhelmed to plan it all yourself

Solution: Ask for help

If you start feeling overwhelmed by how much work needs to be done, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Telling this to your superiors or co-workers often results in extra people coming in to support you, like a team of associates or even a professional event planner. In fact, new people might energize the organizing phase with great ideas of their own. Asking for help can make your planning much more productive, which in turn can transform your event into its best possible version.

Hoppier: a helpful tool to solve your event catering concerns

Even the scariest horror movies sometimes pale in comparison to the stress that comes from event catering. But now you can simplify those agonizing situations by using Hoppier. We provide you and your guests with a creative catering experience by using virtual cards, which can be used to order food or drinks from various vendors.

hoppier screen shot for event planning problems solutions

All you have to do is create an account, and then you can customize your card however you’d like. Set a spending balance that works for your particular event, and let the guests order whatever items they like from a long list of vendors available. Not only does our program eliminate the hassle of catering your event, but you can even use extra cards as added incentives for your attendees.

How to solve your event planning problems

If we had to name one common theme for all 13 of these event problems and solutions, it’s that preparation is key. You can never predict which issues will unfold, but being ready for anything through diligent planning is the safest way to deal with whatever challenges are thrown your way.

For more tips about event planning, check out our webinar on the top tools for creating memorable virtual events, or read our book of virtual event ideas for managers and event planners that will create engaging experiences.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
arrow point to CTA

Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
arrow point to CTA

Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
arrow point to CTA

Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
arrow point to CTA

Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo


Start sending lunches, gifts, and more to your employees and clients in 60+ countries!

Related content

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today


Our team will support you, to make your programs a success

Amazing customer service

Average 4 minute response times

International coverage