Picture this scenario:
A client approaches you to assist them with their next event… your thoughts are great, amazing they want to work with us again! Your client then goes on to state that their event is in some far off land that you have never heard of. The blood suddenly runs from your head as you come over quite faint at the thought of not just organising an out of this world event, but you also have the added pressure of delivering it somewhere that you are not familiar with – what is the language, the currency, how do we get there, what do we need?
We have all been there at some point in our careers, but organising international events don’t have to be as daunting as you think, especially with our helpful tips. As a technical production company, we are asked on a regular basis to work with a client that is hosting an international event.
Our most recent international event was the Soccerex event in China. This was our first event in China and wow, how much we learnt from it. Did you know that in China they have restrictions on certain online platforms? The likes of Facebook, Google and WhatsApp are banned. That means you will not be able to share those selfies or be able to locate Google Translate. This brings us to our first tip:
Download a Translation App:
Unless you are Ziad Fazah (although it has been said that he may also need an app) we recommend downloading a good translator app such as iTranslate for iPhone or Google Translate for Android, if you can’t access Google try Takeasy Translator/Interpreter. Not only will these nifty apps help you out when you are ordering crew food but they will also assist you with communications onsite, with the local teams and venues that you will be working with.
Know what you need:
Some countries request that you apply for a visa to enter the country prior to arrival. This process varies from country to country and the time for the return of documents (should you be required to send hard copies) can vary. In addition to the standard documentation, you may be expected to provide the authorities with further information including, your itinerary for the duration of your visit, proof of accommodation and vaccination records.
Unsure as to what you will need? Not to worry we have found a neat website that will tell you all you need to know. Just click here.
What are the restrictions?
Do your research as these vary widely. In China, certain sites on the internet are restricted. To overcome this you can buy a VPN, which will allow you access to the likes of Google, also if you are ever in China download WeChat for the Whatsapp experience. Your VPN can also allow you access to UK sites that otherwise would be blocked to non-UK IP addresses, ideal if you’re craving some UK TV!
Not only could you come across technology restrictions, you may find that there are also certain local laws that may restrict you and your delegates. One of the more out-there ones is in Capri where wearing flipflops, or any shoes that are categorised as “noisy footwear” are out!
On occasion, it can be more cost-effective to travel via road to an international event, especially if it is in mainland Europe. If you decide to take the open road to your next European event then here are a few things to remember:
-Don’t forget your GB sticker for your car. Failure to do so may result in an on the spot fine. But, if your registration plate has the GB Euro symbol you will not need a sticker within Europe
-Driving through France? – DON’T forget a breathalyser kit – It is a legal requirement for all drivers and motorcyclists to carry a breathalyser kit with at least two testing units.
-You will also need a high-vis vest carried in the FRONT of the vehicle, a hazard triangle, spare bulbs, engine oil, stickers for your headlights (so as not to blind oncoming traffic) & window washer fluid.
-If you have trucked your equipment there, ENSURE you check on local haulage restrictions. Trucks are not allowed to move on a Sunday in France or Italy, possibly others.
-Remember to take all driving documents including full, valid driving licence, proof of vehicle insurance, V5C Certificate, European breakdown cover policy number and documents. As well as these documents also remember all your travel documents which most importantly includes your passport.
-Finally, and this one is a given but, don’t forget that they drive on the wrong side of the road over there.
You can find more helpful tips on the RAC website.
Be AV savvy!
Wondering what to do when it comes to providing AV abroad? There are three ways to approach AV for international events:
1. Use a UK supplier for all equipment and support
2. Use a local supplier with a UK AV company backup
3. Use a local AV company for all equipment and support
We would recommend that you go for option 1 of course, as we are an events AV company, however, we also know that this is not always right for you and the event that you are organising, for example, the benefits of using a tried and trusted AV supplier need to be balanced with the extra transport costs. Therefore our non-biased recommendation would be that if you have not worked with the international AV provider before, take an AV expert from a company you trust (ideally to the site visit too) for backup and assistance on site. They can also deal directly with the AV supplier and Project Manage the pre-production from the UK.
So the next time you are organising international events just remember that it really is not as daunting as you first may think…