5 Event Planning Lessons from the World Cup 2018

16 June 2018

Despite a heroic effort from Gareth Southgate’s England squad, football is not coming home. At least not just yet – it’s on holiday in France for the next four years, expected home 2022.

The 2018 World Cup was a superb event – slickly organised and executed, welcoming and unifying. It was thrilling and unforgettable, bringing England together and making even the most cynical Brit feel like this might just have been our year.

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So, what event-planning lessons can we take away from Russia 2018? Let’s take a look…

1. Preparation makes all the difference

A lesson from the hosts

Remember all of the controversy around Brazil 2014? England fans might remember the pitch needing to be painted green before the Italy game, but unfinished stadiums during the group stages, widespread protests, infrastructure issues and more cast a shadow over the whole tournament.

By contrast, Russia were superb hosts. The stadiums and pitches were world class, visiting fans were welcomed warmly and infrastructure was in place to allow teams and fans to cross this huge country quickly and easily.

The lesson is simple - preparation is the difference between a bad event that is best forgotten and a legendary one that achieves its objectives.

2. BYOW-F: Bring your own Wi-Fi

A lesson from the security pros

Before the World Cup even began, fans were being warned that the event would be a target for data theft. Cybersecurity experts warned travelling fans to be on top of secure passwords, use VPNs wherever possible and avoid logging in to unverifiable public Wi-Fi.

For some clients the vulnerability of public Wi-Fi is a compliance issue, and taking secure dongles or other portable Wi-Fi devices that allow groups to log onto data networks directly is a necessity.

It can also guarantee connectivity, even if you’re taking your group to a far-flung destination where the connectivity infrastructure simply doesn’t exist or a resort way off the beaten track.

3. Always be learning and improving 

A lesson from the England team

The England-Colombia quarter final saw England’s first ever penalty shootout win at a World Cup.

And how did they do it? They put the time in, learned and improved. Gareth Southgate said “We had talked long and hard about owning the process of a shootout. We looked at technique, how we needed to be as a team, the goalkeeper's role. The players have taken it all on board”.

Seeking feedback is an essential part of successful event planning, management and delivery. Embracing the positives, learning and growing from any negatives and delivering improved events moving forward is absolutely key to success.

4. Use event tech properly 

A lesson from FIFA

VAR got a bit tiring, didn’t it? A great idea that often slipped into a farcical, time-wasting sideshow, particularly in the group games.

Use of the VAR isn’t necessary for 99% of refereeing decisions, and FIFA’s technical team will have to make some changes before Euro 2020.

From simple social media hashtags to full event management software, AV equipment automation, augmented or virtual reality and experiential event tech, ensure that you are only ever using technology in a way that supplements and streamlines your event.

5. Being on home soil can help

A lesson from the fans

When Gary Lineker and the BBC team arrived in Russia, home fans were telling them that they wished Russia hadn’t qualified – that it would be embarrassing to watch them get badly beaten on home turf.

Then Russia kicked off their tournament by smashing Saudi Arabia 5-0, the home crowd got behind them and they beat 2010 world champions Spain to reach the quarter finals. Being on home soil counts.

The familiarity of a venue or destination that you know well, the support of known and trusted suppliers, and the logistical ease of an event or incentive closer to home can pay dividends.

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We create jaw-dropping bespoke events, overseas and in the UK, for high-profile clients who understand the value they add and the results they deliver.

Get in touch now via the contact page or call 0161 498 3311 for an informal chat about how we can help you deliver against your objectives.