Some people really don’t care about you. They care about facts and figures. How many people, how much money, what does the budget look like? What do other similar events produce and what’s your plan to do the same or exceed it?
This is where doing your research pays off. It also helps to be aware of failures, to be able to say why those things don’t work. Some land managers in this arena may have seen it done badly.
Principals will generally want to know the following upon meeting you:
- What is your basic plan? (Mission statement)
- What is the date you’re looking at?
- Who will you try to attract, and how many people is that? (Demographics)
- How would you describe your event? (Most people know what a 5k run is, but if your concept is a downhill bike or adventure race – they won’t.)
- How do you want to use my land?
- Have you done this before?
Like any good job interview, you should have questions:
- Outline the area you’d like to use and ask if it’s possible.
- Explain any specific needs like water, power, course or obstacle build outs, and parking.
- Learn if the venue has done anything similar.
- Inquire what the process for permitting is.
- Ask how the venue prices permits and what is/isn’t included in that.
- Find out what will it take to get permission to hold the event, even if the permit hasn’t been formally issued.
- Get to grips with how long it will take to build the event out and how much time to take it down.
These are key to your success and energy levels.
If they don’t have experience in your event, some venues may need time to figure out some of the finer points. Depending on the scale of your event and the land agency involved, this process may take a while to dial in.
Here is what you should come away with:
- The venue fits your needs.
- You know what you have to do to secure this venue and start advertising it.
- The venue can fit your budget.
- You know what you need to do to make this event work at this venue.
You will likely need to engage with one or more land managers for months. They request things like operation plans (more on this later), maps, and fees. Permit securing can be one of the most taxing parts of event planning because it’s neither fun nor speedy. It is, however, part of the game. This is one of the reasons that keeping an event to as few land agencies as possible is key, especially for your first time.
As you become familiar with each agency and its principals, you’ll be able to successfully navigate the field and they will trust you a lot more. Events like adventure races, ultra runs, or triathlons may need more than one agency’s permission.
Super tip: Learn the lingo! Everyone has their own specific language when talking about something. The more you speak that language, the more you signal to the party you’re addressing that you know what you’re talking about. Read up on these industries. Address issues like “ingress” and “egress” with confidence before they have a chance to bring it up and you’ll be sure to impress them.
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