As a planning pro, you probably thrive on the excitement, anticipation and the pure adrenaline rush of knowing you’re about to pull off a great event. You’re also likely to be familiar with that “oh, no” pit in your stomach that arises when a last-minute glitch interrupts your best-laid plans.
Maybe it’s an overloaded wireless network or an unexpected onslaught of on-site registrants, or perhaps the portable credit card processors are taking up to five minutes to clear each registration. Since these unexpected hiccups can have a trickle-down effect on your staff and attendees, we offer seven tips to avoid them altogether:
- Long lines. While long lines indicate you’ve created a terrific agenda and recruited dynamic speakers, they shouldn’t frustrate attendees. To decrease lines, encourage attendees to download a mobile registration app before they arrive, so they spend less time waiting and more time networking.
- A shortage of portable credit card processors. The portable processor of yesteryear is still very much alive on the event circuit. Along with taking up to several minutes to process each transaction, rental fees quickly add up. For your next event, consider a mobile app that will securely process credit card transactions. Your attendees will thank you, and you’ll eliminate the rental fee.
- Overloaded wireless networks. Low signal bars, or worse, a wireless traffic jam that keeps everybody offline is unacceptable. Consider setting up your own wireless network for the event instead of relying solely on the infrastructure of the venue.
- Last-minute cancellations. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, even a few last-minute cancellations can have a significant ripple effect. Early-bird registration discounts can reduce the amount of no-shows. To knock this number down even more, consider engaging attendees through email and social media as soon as they register. They’ll feel more connected to the event, get to know other attendees before it begins and be less likely to drop out at the last minute.
- Negative nellies on social media. You’re producing a fantastic event, but you know at least one naysayer will use social media to complain. To defuse the negativity, encourage all attendees to use the same event hashtag. This ensures that the flurry of positive comments will outweigh the few negative ones.
- Low survey responses. To increase the likelihood of attendees completing surveys, use a separate QR code for each session. As attendees scan the codes on their smartphones to check in, they can be given a short survey to complete on their mobile device. If you’re still not getting a high response rate, you can text a reminder to attendees who opted in to receive event alerts on-site.
- Capturing accurate contact information. Use a combination of a mobile registration app and online event management software that provides everything you need to plan, execute and follow-up with attendees. This will protect you from human error, which can occur when you’re managing several contact lists. It also lets you engage attendees before, during and after the event using email and social media.