Whether you are planning a corporate or social event, there is often one key component missing in the logistical planning and that is your guests experience. Often times, this can be a crucial component overlooked. As an Event Designer, I always keep the guests experience in mind throughout the planning process. As many know, the guests experience can be what makes or breaks the success of any event. Guests have a unique perspective and you as the host of an event or Event Designer do not want to be the talk of the town in a negative way.
Guests may never communicate what they really think of your event, but when hiring a professional event designer or planner, they will ensure that you keep your guests in mind. However, what does keeping your guests experience really mean? One way to ensure you keep your guests at the forefront of the planning is the mindset of putting yourself in the shoes of your guests and walking through every logistical component of the day to ensure they have a great experience as well. Specifics to this mindset include the following:
1. First, when you select the venue also consider the potential needs of your guests. Do you have guests that may have physical limitations such as needing wheel chair access, visual and or hearing instrument assistance? Are there adequate bathrooms to accommodate the number of guests? Will guest be able to access the venue without needing a special vehicle? For example, when planning a mountain wedding do guests need a 4 wheel drive?
2. Second, when you create invitations, are they clear and informative? Do they include a map of the venue and any special attributes or amenities that guests may need to know? If the event is an outdoor experience, does the invitation include tips on the proper shoes, attire or bug spray needed to ensure the guests have a great experience?
3. Third, when guests are enroute to your event, is their proper road signage to direct them to your venue? Will you provide a contact, other than you, as the host in case they need additional directions the day of the event?
4. Fourth, within the logistics of your event how will the guests be greeted? For example, guests love to have a complimentary beverage as a way to welcome them to your event and it is a very nice touch. For adult guests, alcohol is a great way to welcome them. Another example is to ensure that during meal service there is not a long wait for guests to retrieve their food. How you thank guests is also important. For example, if you are planning a wedding and decide to have favors, please note that edible favors are more received than any object. You as the host may be in love with a luggage tag, but your guests may not share the same love. The universal method to most people’s heart is through their stomach!
5. Fifth is ensuring that your event begins on time. There are often things that occur the day of the event that may delay the start of an event. However, make sure that within the planning stage you as the planner/host do everything you can to begin your events on time. One of the biggest pet peeves of guests is when events do not begin on time.
Hopefully, these ideas will encourage you to not only plan for the type of event that you want, but also keep the guest experience in mind. HAPPY PLANNING!!!