At the foundation of all memorable event experiences are the usual suspects: what guests see, feel, hear and taste. What often gets overlooked is the critical science of how guests move through the event experience. Whether it’s the arrival moment, ensuring guests explore all your event has to offer, or simply the seamless movement from Point A to Point B, guest flow impacts every event. It’s not always flashy, and it’s not always acknowledged in the moment, but many times these are the subtle details that make events successful. Here are our five tips to guide you in the art of guiding your guests.
1. Lead with Lighting
Lighting an event space is often used to enhance the visual experience, but it can also serve as a complement, or replacement to signage. If you’re hosting an evening event, lighting the venue’s façade or using a gobo can create a dramatic and practical entrance moment. If guests need to move from room to room and the route isn’t straightforward, uplights can be a subtle and effective way to guide their path. For events or brands with a well-known color scheme, utilizing those colors can help reassure guests that they’re in the right place. For additional tips on lighting, check out some more Sequence suggestions here.
2. Creative Cocktail Placement
If your event begins with a cocktail hour, the first thing guests will want to do is grab a drink and begin to mingle. Place bars in areas where you want guests to congregate and stagger their serving times to create a more balanced room flow. If you’re worried about heavy bar traffic, consider passing wine or specialty cocktails, though avoid passing anything too close to the entrance in an effort to prevent bottlenecking.
3. Multiple "Voice of God" Announcements
For those of you who don’t spend your days at an events agency, a “Voice of God” or VOG is the announcement over the speakers directing guests or updating them about the next portion of the event. It normally goes something like, “Guests, please take your seats. The program is about to begin.” Though the VOG is loud, guests can get caught up in their mingling and don’t always hear the first announcement, so make sure to account for a second and third directional announcement to get your guests moving. For an even more impactful announcement, try combining the VOG with an onscreen prompt reiterating that it’s time to relocate!
4. Follow the Food
Guests go where the food resides, so make sure you’re strategically laying out your event dining plan. If you’re concerned about lines during meal times, ask your caterer about double-sided food stations. If your event includes a seated meal, pre-setting appetizers helps encourage guests to take their seats when they enter the ballroom, which is always helpful if you’re looking to keep a program on track.
5. People Power
There’s a place for directional signage at almost every event, but sometimes you need a more personal touch. Human directionals can be incredibly useful for communicating more nuanced information, especially if you don’t want to rely on guests reading it from a sign. Utilizing staff can also make for a warmer personalized experience, and isn’t always more expensive. If you do have human directionals at your event, make sure they’re briefed on other key event details as well: location of restrooms, key event times, room layouts, etc. Chances are, they’ll be asked!