- The Writers at On Reserve Events
Focus on Guest Experience, the Key to a Successful Event that Doesn't Cost Much!
In your opinion, what categorizes an event as a success? Is it all about the food served? The music? The ambiance created? As important as all those elements are, an empty room full of beautiful décor, great music and delicious food is not a sign of a fun party. As a host, all you can dream of is an event that guests never want to leave. You want to create an environment that has guests on their feet dancing or at their seats with huge smiles on their faces for as long as possible. So how about we begin to focus a bit more on the guest experience at an event by recognizing these points:
1- Most of the time, guests are traveling a decent distance to come to an event. Their first experience upon arrival can certainly affect their overall mood of the night. Now of course, you cant control certain elements such as the weather outside or traffic on their journey. But you can focus on making their entrance to the event as easy and comfortable as possible. If valet parking is an option, sign with a reliable company who is properly ensured to greet your guests at the venue and facilitate their exit. Should it be raining, snowing or just extremely cold or hot out, try to think of ways to make guests more comfortable upon arrival. On a rainy day, have your staff greet guests with umbrellas at their car door to guide them to the entrance of the venue. A cool drink or moist towelette is always a great gesture to offer to guests on a hot sunny day. A properly shoveled pathway for all guests (handicapped entrance included) shows guests that you appreciate their presence on the coldest of winter nights.
As guests leave your event, have them leave with a smile by providing a small snack or token to take home with them on their journey out. A cup of hot chocolate or tea on a winter night is a wonderful accompaniment for a long drive home.
2- Once your guests enter your event, you want to make sure that the environment is as comfortable as possible for all. You don’t want the lights to be too dim in which guests cannot see each other or the music in the background to be so loud that you cannot converse with the guest beside you. Make sure that the temperature in the space is comfortable for the average guest and that your space doesn’t feel overcrowded or cramped. Nobody wants to squeeze through a crowd to get to where they want to go. Be sure to provide easy access to all important stations or areas for those who have restricted mobility, such as those in wheelchairs or with issues walking long distances.
3- Nowadays, there are so many dietary limitations and restrictions that people face. When working with your caterer, make sure to include options that provide for the most common dietary requests such as:
Vegetarians / Vegans
4- A difficult child can definitely tarnish a parent’s experience at an event, so try to ease all that is in your control. If your event will be hosting a slew of young children, be sure to offer some kid friendly foods so that parents will have an easy experience feeding their family. You can even set up a supervised kids area with their own entertainment so that adults can enjoy their experience while knowing that their children are taken care of.
5- If your guests will be seated for a nice portion of the event, make sure that you provide ample seating that is comfortable. This may cost you a bit more, but who wants to sit in an uncomfortable chair for a long period of time?
6- Here are a few examples of items that can be provided to guests that will make them say, “Wow! That was thoughtful!”
Paper fans at an outdoor event
Heel stoppers (to prevent ladies’ heels from sinking in to grassy areas)
Pashminas on a cool evening
Handheld umbrellas at a sunny event
Golf cart rides for long distances between event spaces
Slippers or slides for guests to change in to at the end (or even mid) of a rolling party
Ice pops at a hot outdoor event
If you want your event to be successful, your guests' experience should be one of your top priorities to focus on. A room full of the people you love and care for having a good time is truly the key to an amazing celebration.