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Room Flip: How to Make it Happen



Room Flip: How to Make it Happen

Challenge: Your event is being held at one location, but requires two different floor plans. The first, an all-day conference, concludes at 3 pm.  The second, a traditional gala, has doors set to open at 6:30 pm. The client wants two completely different stages and room setups. What do you do?

First, breathe. A room flip in three hours may not be desirable, but it is possible. It takes careful planning, strict scheduling, and a great team. The guidelines below will help you plan for the seemingly impossible.

Before the Event

They say that at events, 90% of the event will go as planned, while 10% is unexpected. Even though there will be day-of surprises, planning is key. There is no way that a large crew will be able to come together in three hours and transform the room without communication ahead of time. Before the day of the event, it’s important to do the following:

Create a Timeline

What will the day look like? For that matter, what do the days leading up to the event look like? You will need to make sure that everything is ready to go by the day of the event. Load-in and organization of sets, tables, and signage is critical. By creating a day of timeline, you’ll know what should be happening minute to minute. The timeline should start before the event and end after final load-out.

Communicate the Plan

Your team is everything. They need to know what roles they’ll be playing and what they’ll be held accountable for. Descriptions should be comprehensive, yet succinct and given before the day of the event. Briefings should be held the week leading up to the event so the information is fresh and team members have time to get answers to their questions.

Memorize the Layout

You should know the event space layout better than you know the back of your hand. Create maps and diagrams to help the team better visualize the space.

Internalize the Schedule

You won’t have much time to refer to your schedule when the room flip begins. Know the plan inside and out, that way you can focus on overseeing the team and solving on-site problems.

Identify the Leader and Team Leaders

Create a clear organizational structure. Everyone should know who to report to. Depending on the size of the staff, it’s a good idea to have one event lead and multiple team leads directing the staff.

During the Event

Keep an Eye on the Clock

But not in an obsessive, seconds passing kind of way. You’ve planned as well as you can. Watch the clock to make sure big changes are happening as needed and if they aren’t, be ready to make quick decisions. Do the doors need to open 30 minutes later than expected? It’s not ideal, but communicating the delay will effectively ensure the space is safe and guest ready. You don’t want 1,000+ guests wandering into a room that isn’t ready for them.

Trust the Team

They have been told what to do and are ready, let them do their job. No one benefits from micromanaging. Use radio communication to make sure marks are being hit at the right time. When no one is left in the dark, it’s easier to manage unforeseen issues.

After the Event

Kick Your Feet Up

You did it! The room looks amazing, the client is happy, and your planning paid off. Take a little time to appreciate what you accomplished and thank your team. They worked hard and their efforts paid off.

Analyze the Good and Bad

While the event is still fresh in your mind, review what went well and what could have gone better. Debrief with the team and discuss changes for next time that will make the process even smoother.

It takes keen management and planning to pull off a room flip in a few hours. Make sure you have the right person in charge and have a great team in place to support the effort.

Image from America’s Promise Alliance’s Recommit to Kids Summit and Promise Night. Room flip courtesy of Design Foundry.

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