Post authored by David Beckett
1. People don’t read your signs – It’s a busy registration area and attendees’ eyes are glazed upon arrival. They will follow the crowd before reading a sign. When the area is crowded, signs at waist level become invisible, and you’re better off putting them on the floor. I’ve noticed that grocery stores are using this tactic to market products that are right there on the shelf. Think about using your onsite signage in the same manner. We also tend to use industry jargon. Before you joined the events industry, could you explain the difference between these two signs commonly seen in the registration area: “Advanced Registration” versus “Onsite Registration?”
2. Set up area from largest to smallest – The first area that is seen upon arrival should be used for the largest crowds to keep them from wandering around and creating a congested area. This may seem counter-intuitive because you don’t want congestion at the door. But as long as there is no congestion at the egress, it makes sense. And remember crowd flow, people take the first chance to turn left.
3. Stagger the busses – Use this scheduling technique to ease the pressure of heavy arrivals. Even a 15 minute delay schedule will make a significant difference with your lines.
4. Keep your registration hours consistent – It is not uncommon for several different registration times to be promoted at an event. The hotels have one schedule, the web site another and then another one in the show guide. Lock them in and communicate them consistently to avoid confusion.
5. Resist the urge to reduce the registration area – We tend to take the size of the registration area and the process for granted. Therefore, it becomes easy to reduce the space to save on costs or to reuse the area for something else. Remember, this is the first impression for your registrants. You want it busy but not over crowed.
6. Determine your line threshold – Fast food restaurants have a code word for when the drive thru line is too long. What is your plan when the line starts to wrap around the corner? Prepare a demark point (ex. the end of the stanchions) which can be used as your indicator. Then, put a response plan in place.
The take away: Empathize with your attendees. When it comes to onsite registration, keep the flow intuitive and handle the biggest needs first. Focus on keeping the lines moving. The customer service advantage will set the tone for a great event experience.
David Beckett is Experient’s Senior Vice President, Registration and Onsite Services Group. To learn more about him, click here.