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Upgrade the Guest Experience at Your Next Event

Posted by Samantha Stallard on June 26, 2017
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There's event management and then there's guest management. Contrary to years of these responsibilities falling under the same jurisdiction, they couldn't be more different. Project managers and event marketers need to focus on an event's planning and production, including venue walk throughs and bookings, researching and hiring vendors, planning and updating (and updating) budgets, signing and negotiating contracts, working through logistics, approving decor, and preparing for a never-ending stream of changes.

With all of these categories to balance there's no time left to focus on each individual guest experience.  This is especially challenging for events that include different types or levels of guests and events that require travel management (such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival). Moreover, we live in a world where everything is on demand, customized, and personalized. People's expectations are higher than ever and getting a “V.I.P.” experience is no longer the exception, it's the expectation. 

Without hiring event concierge professionals to manage the guest experience, including flights, ground transportation, hotel bookings, sweepstakes procurement, and on-site check-in (which you should and can do here), we've listed five ways to improve the guest experience at your next event, from new tech to post-event to do's:

1. Implement RFID technology

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If your event is a traditional concert or music festival, play with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. Most commonly issued as bracelets, these savvy little devices allow attendees easy entry at the wave of a wristband and enjoy a seamless, engaged festival experience. RFID and its sister technology, geofencing, offer rich data-tracking capabilities for organizers and ways for attendees to find each other in a crowd based on precise GPS location. Some brand events are already enabling attendees to link a credit card to a bracelet so they can make purchases with their wristband, and keep the beer line moving.

At the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, organizers partnered with Microsoft to allow guests to create a photo history of their festival experience. Prior to 'Roo's kickoff, guests went online to register their RFID wristbands and link them to a Microsoft OneDrive account. Then each time they swiped their wristbands at photo booths around the event, the pictures automatically uploaded to the online account. Guests could also swipe their wristbands at stations near each stage to receive a photo of the performance in their OneDrive accounts.

2. Invest in a guest management software

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Not so subtle plug, but hey, we believe in this program. Most event planners still use spreadsheets as their “guest management tool.” But this old-fashioned way of doing things is painful and anything but dynamic. Guest management softwares, like our fav Ribyt, can manage complex guest logistics in about half the time it takes using spreadsheets. While event planners deal with venues, vendors, production, catering, contracts, logistics, decor, and a never-ending stream of changes, it's tough to focus on each individual guest experience. This is especially challenging for events that include different types or levels of guests and events that require travel management. Moreover, we live in a world where everything is on demand, customized, and personalized

3. Collect even more information

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You should have Mark Zuckerburg jealous of the information you have on your event attendees. Well, at least your VIPs, contest winners and other special guests. You never know when phones will die or when email will get sent to the spam folder. Get as much information for your guests as possible: phone number(s) and email are a bare minimum. Also gather their Twitter handles, phone and address of where they are staying (if you didn’t book it yourself), and the names and numbers of any people with whom they’ll be traveling with. Feel free to collect this information post-sign up in case you are concerned about losing potential attendees to long sign up processes. Attendees can gradually add information to a profile page.

4. Be mobile-friendly

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You never know where someone will be when they decide to attend your event. Whether they're at their desk at work, vegging out at home, on the subway, or sneaking away from the table at a restaurant with their in-laws, they should be able to register. Your registration page should look the same across desktop, tablet, and mobile - ensure that the site is mobile responsive with legible fonts, no need for zooming, and minimal scrolling required. If your registration form is lengthy, consider creating a mobile-only version with 1-3 questions per page so as not to crowd the screen. Most software systems these days also have the ability to detect the type of device being used and automatically adjust the page to optimize it for the specific device.

5. Send a post-event email survey

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Surveys provide honest answers about your event straight from those who were chosen to experience it. A strong survey has: An incentive to fill out the form like being entered into a giveaway; 10-20, multiple choice questions, with the option to elaborate as attendees see fit; A rating scale of 3-5 experiences from the event that you, as the brand, consider to be the most valuable - It can be interesting to see whether or not attendees placed the same value on those experiences; A section to detail any elements attendees would like to see changed for next year, such as additional food options, VIP tickets, or more bathrooms!

Respect attendees time for opening your email and filling out your survey by actually implementing the changes they've requested at the next event. This proves to them that you value their opinions as consumers, which can only better the relationship. Post-event follow ups provide valuable insights into your consumers and event attendees, offer another chance to have a positive connection to them, and give you additional opportunities to surprise and delight them. 


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Topics: event production, events, technology

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