Event planners reflect on the 25th World Scout Jamboree

They share how events can weather climate challenges.

Invnt Group’s Pardeep Kainth: be aware of climate trends with information from dependable sources.
Invnt Group’s Pardeep Kainth: be aware of climate trends with information from dependable sources. Photo Credit: Invnt Group

Poor levels of hygiene, dehydrated attendees, heat-induced ailments, resource mismanagement and an expensive evacuation - every event planner’s worst nightmare. Yet this is precisely what happened during the 23rd World Scout Jamboree, which took place outdoors earlier this month in South Korea. Event planners reflected on this incident and shared their insights with M&C Asia:

Risk assessment reports

Pardeep Kainth, senior director of account services at Invnt Group highlighted the importance of a contingency plan for any event, large- or small- scale. Instead of waiting out the heatwave, the event should have been postponed or cancelled.

“There are many things an event planner can do when preparing for potentially catastrophic weather conditions that will inevitably change the course of your event,” he said. “Be aware of climate trends - researching and monitoring weather forecasts from dependable sources can help you anticipate potential challenges. It’s also important to form a risk assessment report and establish an emergency plan for plausible risks listed.”

Strong relationships with suppliers

Kainth recalled how one year ago, the agency experienced a similar situation through its event Avalanche Hacks in South Korea, where the worst flood in 80 years hit the region. “We had key learnings to come out of this - through our great relationships with our vendors and suppliers, we were able to tap into their expertise and network, and managed to migrate to a completely new venue within 30 hours,” he said. “Building valuable relationships with vendors and tapping into their networks is key - consider the relationship between you as the event service provider and the vendors and suppliers as completely symbiotic.”

Safe and sound

Rebecca Hallett, VP director of experience at Jack Morton Singapore, said: “It’s key to understand historical weather patterns for the location and time of year of your event to help anticipate potential weather challenges and plan accordingly. In the case of extreme heat, provide ample access to water, shade, and cooling stations. Make sure attendees are aware of the risks of heat-related illnesses and how to prevent them. If rain is expected, ensure the event area is well-drained to prevent flooding.”

She also suggested using weather apps and technology that provide real-time updates and alerts. Some apps can even provide advanced warnings about severe weather conditions.

A command-and-control plan

Samantha Neo, director of the experiential team, Singapore at MCI Group, suggested having on hand the contacts of all local authorities and to consider having an ambulance, nurses and paramedics on standby at the venue.

“Put in place a command-and-control plan: nominating an event incident officer, a safety management officer (from the agency] and having security managers’ contact details at the venue,” she added. “If there are no security managers at the venue, hire a security team and deploy accordingly.”

Neo said that the takeaway from such incidents as the World Scout Jamboree is that if something is going wrong, it does not mean that everything will go the same way and that nothing good can come out of it.

“If you know what is going on, ask yourself what you can do to support the response team to solve it,” she says. “Do you offer some help? Do you look at the people around you? It’s important to assign roles in charge of safety and emergency and ensure that everyone in the team, including the clients, know who to turn to when there is a safety breach.”

Lorela Chia of Gr8 Dreams: budget for unexpected expenses related to emergencies.
Lorela Chia of Gr8 Dreams: budget for unexpected expenses related to emergencies. Photo Credit: Gr8 Dreams

Back-up plans

Lorela Chia, founder and managing director of business events organiser Gr8 Dreams, said that allocating additional resources for emergency services, equipment, or last-minute changes is recommended.

She makes it a habit to include a review of incident reports and how the agency’s contingency plan was executed during event post mortems.

“We gather feedback from participants and staff, as well as collaboration partners, and use this information to make improvements for future events. Many improvements have evolved from common sense and experience.”