As an event professional, it is important to determine what key Event Experience Strategies or EES your events need in order to enrich, excite and retain your guests to buy into the brand, spread the word and/or return for a future events. One of the most forgotten strategies in event design is Registration. No matter what type of registration your organization uses when producing events, whether non-profit or corporate marketing events, it is one of the first moments that an organization has to capture the attention of the guests and make or break the experience.
One key component of EES is to create touch points across your event program(s) creating human connections with individuals and/or your brand. These great connections need to be based on real substantive interactions that will take your direct/indirect messages well beyond the event and create a heightened awareness about the experience. Keeping EES in mind, why would you not extend EES to the registration process for your guests as they arrive? It’s like the old saying, “you only get one chance for a first impression!”
No matter what type of event you are producing, guests arrive and guests leave, sometimes you have to call security to escort them out…but that is another topic all together; I digress… it’s the perfect opportunity to create a “wow” factor for your guests upon arrival and an fantastic opportunity to put a nice “red bow” on the end of their experience with another “wow” moment or memory.
There are so many ways in which you can create EES for your registration. As you develop your program, revisit the purpose for the event. What is the end game that you are wanting to achieve, are you wanting to raise a certain amount of money, do you want your guests to remember your brand, what action do you want them to take afterwards…you need to know that purpose that fits into your organizations business plan in order to determine the best strategies.
For example, if you are a non-profit organization that is looking to raise money with your silent auction and bring awareness to a particular service line that will be supported by the funds raised, this is the chance to get information in your guests’ hands the moment they arrive. Guests arriving should already be aware there is an auction through the marketing plan, in fact, most guests should already have a clear idea of what item they want to bid on, because they’ve seen a listing well before the event. Print a news piece on nice card stock with a very short write-up of the service line, real life testimonial from someone supported by the service line with their picture and on the back side a short listing of all the silent auction items to remind guests.
A must strategy for your registration is never have your staff sitting at registration. Create kiosks or tall cocktail tables, if that’s not practical, have your registration volunteers stand in front of the tables and engage your guests. Create script points for your registration volunteers so everyone is getting the same information upon arrival and the same experience. It’s about maximizing the 15-30 seconds you have with your guest and getting them excited. Smile, look in their eyes and welcome them! I tell my staff just before doors open to pretend as if these individuals are walking through your front door of your home and treat them as if they are friends and family. Greet guests how you would like to be greeted when visiting your best friend you haven’t seen in long time. It works! Human connections make all the difference.
Finally, as guests leave, this is a great opportunity to have leadership (wearing name badges) from your organization personally thank guests for attending. If guests see they are important in the eyes of the organization’s leadership and in some cases from individuals they just heard from the stage, it will make a huge difference in the way in which they remember and talk about your event/brand. Most of all, invite them back next year if this is an annual event. Send off your guests as if they were leaving your home at the end of a fabulous evening.
Always implement Event Experience Strategy for your next event’s registration process.