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The guest experience is one of the most important factors that needs to be considered when planning an event. It is essential that the event manager prioritize this issue and puts themselves in the guest’s shoes to ensure they meet or even exceed guest expectations to create a successful event. In the below text we discuss the vital areas for an event manager to consider when planning their event to make sure it is planned to perfection and the attendees walk away impressed!
The Attendee Journey
One of the first things to consider is the attendee’s journey throughout the event, starting with the attendees own travel to the venue. If the delegates have to make long or challenging journeys then this can immediately put guests into a negative mind set before they even walk through the door. Therefore the event manager needs to pick the location of their venue carefully making sure that is easy to get to or if it is a remote destination then transport needs to be provided to make sure the guests travel is as hassle free as possible.
We then move onto the arrival - this need to be welcoming and efficient. The attendee needs to be able to check-in quickly, gain all the information they need for the event and most importantly not have to queue. There are several strategies which can be put in place; firstly you need a team of smiley, professional and well-informed hosts to greet people on arrival, making people immediately comfortable and to be able to answer many questions they may have.
As for the check-in itself, there are many electronic registrations systems which are now available meaning your guests can register at a click of the button, taking only seconds! Also, if the attendee needs to collect any collateral on entry, use a cloakroom or receive refreshments it is worth considering staggering these areas to avoid unnecessary queuing and having plenty of people on hand ensuring attendees move through space efficiently, making space for new arrivals.
This thought process continues right through the event at every stage - the event manager needs to ensure that their guests know where they needs to go at all times and are well informed of the schedule, meaning the guests do not have to think and have a relaxing experience. This can easily be achieved by taking simple measures such as putting up directional signage around the venue, have an events team on hand in high traffic areas to assist guests and provide information packs or an event app which includes schedules and all event information for each guest to be able to refer to.
At the heart of your event is, of course, the program or content and this has to be carefully thought out. Delegates attend events for many reasons which can be anything from education themselves to networking opportunities or even just to have fun. To be able to engage guests and create the best experience possible it is essential that the event manager identifies the reasons why people will attend their event and build their program and content around this. At the end of the day, the guests need to walk away feeling they have gained something from the event and feel rewarded for giving up their personal time.
Another factor to consider is the catering, the quality of the food needs to be top-notch and attendees need to be fed at regular intervals. For almost every event, the food and drinks offering is an absolute highlight and if it is not right then this is often the first thing that guests will complain about. The event manager needs to choose a reputable caterer who have a proven track record of delivering a high quality of food and service. In addition, the menu needs to have a selection which is interesting but also please the attendees as a whole and it is imperative that those special dietaries are not forgotten and there are provisions for them.
When planning an event the guest experience should always be at the heart of every decision however there are many elements to juggle which the event manager has to contend with. If the individual planning the event is time poor, has limited experience or lacks the resources it can be advisable to bring an event agency such as Group 7 Events on board to help plan the event. Events agencies have years of experience of building bespoke experiences which are tailored to the events specific requirements, ensure that the venues and suppliers are of a high quality, help to avoid any common pitfalls and provide any additional resources which are missing.
Moreover, having an events agency on the site can be of great help as they can ensure the event runs seamlessly while allowing the host to focus on their priorities such as networking, presenting/speaking, selling products, speaking with the press and more.
Learn more about best practices in our guide to event engagement.
About the Author: Sarah Hill has been a professional content write for over five years. She has written extensively about event planning & conference management for Group7 Events Ltd, a well-known venue finding agency in London. Sarah has contributed to many reputed event & meeting blogs like Etouches, Boomset & Bizzabo. She is travel crazy, lover of wine and the queen of baking.