Tips to host a successful hackathon event

Hackathon events have seen a surge of interest in the last few years and show no signs of slowing down. Usually lasting between 24 and 48 hours, hackathons are events were your team creates a product prototype — typically an app for a phone or website — although other teams have constructed hardware devices before. Read on to discover the best tips to host a successful hackathon event.

Set A Realistic Expectation

It’s normal to think that you will have all the time in the world to complete a finished product, but sadly this isn’t the case. You need to set realistic expectations for the teams you are hosting. Some goals can be completed in 24 hours, whereas others need 72. However, if the venue you have booked is only for 12 hours, how do you expect them to finish? All you’ll be left with are hundreds of angry and stressed people who were expecting to finish their product.

Another thing to consider is if people can actually get to the venue. Are they realistically going to be able to travel to the place where you want to host the hackathon event? Look at the all the details in a sensible manner, because this is what the hackathon teams are going to be doing as well.

Attracting Teams

Now that you have a sensible venue and amount of time booked, it’s time to start thinking about who is attending. You need to attract teams to come to your event. How do you do this? Start writing down what your event consists of and who you think is going to find its useful. Then type it all up and put it on your website. Start promoting it. You need to be concise in what you’re trying to achieve or if it’s a particular type of technology in mind.

Sponsors/Vendors

Many companies have joined up with sponsors and partnerships when it comes to hackathons. There are many benefits to this, including reducing costs and increasing awareness. You will find that you reach more potential teams through these relationships than you would just by yourself, so take advantage of every opportunity.

Do Your homework

It is important that you do your homework beforehand. First, make sure there are no other hackathons planned for the time that you are hosting yours. If you do, you may find that you have a low turn-out because everyone else is at the other event. Secondly, make sure there are no large social, school or religious holidays at the same time for obvious reasons. Thirdly, set out the rules beforehand and provide copies to those participating in it.

Promotion

You need people to come to your hackathon, but how are they going to know about it if you haven’t mentioned it? Create a website, post on your social media accounts, print flyers, create groups, set up contests and competitions with a hashtag that’s solely for your event. Get the words out as much as you can to encourage people to come.

Make It Fun

No one wants to come to a boring event, so make yours stand out. Arrange great catering and even better entertainment so that in years to come, your event still talked about. For best results, let a reputable event company handle all the planning for your hackathon.