When planning an event, people often focus solely on the during aspects and often forget about the impact that a strong before can have. You’ve heard the saying, “you only get one chance to make a first impression,” well this saying rings just as true in the event industry.
There are many ways to make a great first impression at your event, but here are my three favorite options:
Use a Custom, Branded Event Registration Website
The very first impression your guests will have of your event is the website they use to register, so don’t waste that chance to wow them by using a generic registration page. Registration websites are not one-size-fits-all; free event websites might work better for smaller events than a paid service, but it’s important to find a platform that allows you to customize and brand your site.
The most important things to include on your registration site are:
- agenda/itinerary for your event
- any travel or hotel information
- the Why for your event (purpose)
Your event website will be where your guests go to get all their information leading up to your event, so it’s the perfect way to immerse them in your brand before they even arrive.
Replace Your Standard Welcome Swag with an Interactive Gift Experience
It has become custom to welcome your guests with a gift at the start of your event, but what if you could elevate that gift by making it an experience? Gift experiences are a fantastic way to make a great first impression for your guests.
After checking in to your event, invite your guests to participate in a gift experience such as shopping for a pair of Toms shoes or a new pair of jeans, or curating their own beach bag or jewelry. An experience like that will be so much more memorable for your guests than just receiving a goodie bag with gifts.
Another great alternative to the standard conference swag is to allow your guests to personally choose a sweet treat to have delivered directly to their home or even to their hotel room upon arrival! Companies like Sugarwish allow you to set a price point and pay for the gifts in advance, then you can send a link to your guests and have them choose which treat they’d like delivered – now that is something they won’t soon be able to forget!
Welcome Your Guests with an Informative, Personal, and Branded Check-in Process
Staff your check-in desk with volunteers who are fully informed about your event. Your guests should be able to ask them any questions about their hotel, event, or agenda. They should be welcoming and personable.
Consider using an open concept check-in area to make your guests feel more welcome. You can also use an up-beat playlist and on-brand décor in the check-in area of your event. The goal is to make your guests feel immediately immersed in the brand of your event.
Your guests’ first impression will set the tone for how they view the rest of your event, so regardless of which strategy you choose, make sure it’s true to your brand.
Erin is the Business Development and Event Coordinator at Eventfully Angela. When she isn’t planning events she’s either glittering the masses with Shimmer Down or hanging out at Disney World with her sister. She received her BS from Appalachian State University and her MA in Communication from Queens University of Charlotte. Her favorite things in life are her family, her friends, her dog, and traveling the world.