How To Set Up The Gate At Your Event

Smart Planning + Friendly Communication + Advanced Technology + Thinking Like A Customer = A Successful Event.

OK, the above equation doesn’t work as simply in real life as it does on paper, but executing a game plan based on this equation can maximize the chances that your event will be successful. It’s particularly important that things go smoothly at the gate of your event so your customers’ first impression is as positive as possible.

"If your attendees' first impression is a registration process that’s all tangled up, inefficient or has long wait times, it starts you off on the wrong foot," Barb Beurkens, an events manager, noted in the advice article “4 Keys to a Smooth Registration.” "When attendees feel impatient or frustrated before they can even enter the event, you have to work your way out of that hole during their entire visit."

woman holding a road bike while queuing in the crowd

Do you want your event to be so successful that the customers will clamor for more similar events?

You’ve planned a great program with informative seminars, charismatic speakers, booths that market products and services that appeal to your customer base, and exciting entertainment. Having all of this go for naught because of problems at the entrance would be heartbreaking from a business perspective -- and totally unnecessary.

You also want the day of your event to be a stress-free experience.

That means a lot of hard work in the days, or even weeks or months, before the event. Here are six tips on how to set up the gate at your event without risking a spike in your blood pressure.


1. Prepare for your customers

Winging it on a test could be disastrous as you learned long ago.

The event day is a professional test for conference organizers. Preparation is crucial. You must train your employees and/or your volunteers in customer relations, go over possible problems that may arise on event day and how to handle them, and practice answering customers’ possible questions and complaints.

Choose the right people to deal with the public.


2. Use the industry's top technology

Pre-registering customers and pre-registration apps will make the day easier! Don't forget about the equipment: 

  • Wireless scanners
  • Mobile box office
  • A scanning app
  • Online registration
  • Payment processing support
  • QR codes


Purplepass’ scanning options include a smartphone app for scanning, wireless scanners, credit card readers, and ipad mobile point-of-sale systems. 


3. Rehearse and do run-throughs

You now have the people and the technology. The next step is testing both.

Pretend it’s the event day. Have some of your employees and/or volunteers act like customers. Then, switch roles. These rehearsals, which preferably should be at the event’s venue, should be a couple of weeks before the event because that gives you time to fix problems such as malfunctioning equipment.

“Test, test and test again,” recommends “4 Keys to a Smooth Registration.”


4. Set everything up as early as possible

You -- and all your employees and volunteers -- will be less stressed if everything is set up before the first customer arrives.

The article “Event Setup Checklist for Venue Coordinators” stresses the importance of having your signs, event supplies, registration tables and check-in materials ready early. Remember, first impressions are important. Guests who see hectic employees could become uncomfortable.


5. Greet and connect with guests

You’ve already trained your employees and volunteers in customer relations so why not be pro-active in having them greet your customers? The Entrepreneur magazine article “7 Steps for Planning a Kick-Ass Networking Event” recommends talking -- and listening -- to EVERY attendee.

Giving guests an opportunity to talk about themselves, their interests, and their businesses is a great way to make them feel good.

These conversations also give event organizers an opportunity to connect guests who would benefit from meeting each other.


6. Reward patience

It’s inevitable that some guests will be frustrated by the wait at the gate -- even if everything is going smoothly from your perspective. Think like a customer. That means giving them a more positive experience as they wait. Music is good. So is food. "Nobody likes to stand in line, even if it's just 10 minutes,” Beurkens said. “We have freshly baked choco

Hopefully, these tips will make your next Event Day stress-free. During the event you should also notice what went right and wrong and solicit feedback from guests. Afterward, you should meet with your employees and volunteers to get tips on how to make the next event even better -- and even more stress-free.late chip cookies all trayed up and ready to go, and we run out with chocolate chip cookies and coffee. You'd be surprised how a fresh cookie can turn a frown into a smile."

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