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How to Manage Security at An Event With Big-Name VIPs
When hosting large scale events you have to be prepared for anything and everything. It is your duty as the event planner to ensure the safety and security of everyone who attends, whether it's a corporate conference or splashy holiday party. This is especially important when big-name VIPs are on the guest list.
In some cases your VIPs will have their own bodyguards or security detail, saving you some time and money in the planning process. You will, however, also need to provide for event security to ensure not only the safety of VIPs, but also all other attendees regardless if they are the target of an attack or potential bystander.
Ideally, your security measures will not be tested, but you need to be properly prepared for the worst-case scenario since the safety of all guests at the event is your responsibility. Can you imagine the consequences to your company's reputation (not to mention liability concerns) should you be unprepared and your guests become injured?
How can you ensure that everyone remains safe and secure while attending your event? There are several steps you should take to guarantee a safe and successful event.
Hire Reputable Event Security
One of the best-known instance of massive security failure at an event was the Altamont Speedway Free Festival of 1969. The "Woodstock of the West", featuring big names like Santana, The Grateful Dead, and The Rolling Stones degraded completely due in large part to the security force hired for the event.
Accounts differ as to what actually happened, but the story goes that the Hells Angels were hired to keep the crowd from getting unruly. Unfortunately, both the audience and the Angels became agitated and the event turned violent, ending with one death and several injuries.
Granted, your average New York event planner is unlikely to hire a notoriously rowdy biker gang to provide security, but you can certainly see the value of doing your research to find a reputable and reliable security force for your events, especially when the attendance of VIPs raises the potential threat level.
Some New York event spaces can provide on-site security for your event, and this may be a great option since the security staff is likely familiar with the venue. However, don't hesitate to look into third-party providers for your corporate events New York if you prefer highly-trained and handpicked specialists on the job.
Perform a Property Assessment
Once you've hired suitable event security, ask them to perform an assessment of any New York event space you're considering for your conferences, product launches, or holiday parties where VIPs will be in attendance. These professionals should be qualified to examine an event space and tell you whether it is within their ability to reasonably guarantee the safety of guests within.
They can survey the layout and identify potential points of entry in order to determine the difficulty of securing the premises. They may also be able to utilize existing building security measures including alarms and surveillance equipment as well as set up a VIP-only entrance for added safety.
Ultimately, your security provider may advise you to steer clear of certain venues in favor of the New York event space they find most defensible. If you've hired a reputable and highly recommended security company, it's probably best to follow their suggestions.
Consider Security Details
Some VIPs will have personal security tagging along to the event or preferred service providers. This is good news - it means the burden on you to see to the safety of high-profile guests is reduced. However, you should insist that any private security at the event is in contact with your event security to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
On the other hand, you may have VIP guests that want a personal security detail but are not bringing their own. You should try to accommodate them since their safety is your concern when hosting corporate events New York.
You might also insist that certain notable figures submit to having a security detail in place if you're worried about potential safety issues. These professionals can be tasked with following their respective VIPs throughout the night, and many are adept at remaining virtually invisible so as not to interfere with guests having a good time.
Interface with VIP Reps
If you're not sure about the level of security to install at your function, an experienced New York event planner can help you to gauge requirements. However, you should also make a point to discuss security with representatives for your VIP guests.
Assistants, handlers, managers, or agents can help you understand the potential threat level to individual guests so that you can plan accordingly. In order to outfit your New York event space appropriately, it's best to have some background knowledge of any imminent threats (fans, stalkers, terror threats, etc.).
From there you can put your security force in touch with VIP reps, bodyguards, or private security details to plan for appropriate protection during the event. It's the best way to exercise due diligence and prevent possible security breaches.
Make Expectations Clear
Whether your New York event planner is tasked with working with the venue to install appropriate security for corporate events or holiday parties or you've taken on this task yourself, it's important to make your expectations clear to whomever is in charge of site and event security, be it the event planner, the club owner, or a third-party security force.
You also need to make sure that your VIP guests play by the rules. Some might be tempted to dodge a security detail for the purposes of freedom or privacy. Simply remind them that you cannot be held liable if they are unwilling to protect their own interests and take advantage of offered safety measures.
So long as you do all you can to ensure the safety of all the guests at your event, and particularly VIPs that make for targets, you can rest easy. Whether or not VIPs choose to behave in a wise and responsible manner is beyond your control.