It is important to provide an exceptional experience to those who attend a guest event. Often prospects will come to the event as a way of “testing the waters” before scheduling personal meeting time; therefore, if their experience is not up to par, you may never see them again. Be certain to be at your best for all guest events. Visitors should receive the red-carpet treatment every time they visit.
Start before the front door
Many event planners worry so much about the event itself, they forget the guest experience begins in the parking lot. Be sure your community provides adequate AND convenient parking for pre-registered guests, and remember that some guests will show up without a reservation. Rope off reserved parking spaces in the parking lot prior to the event, keeping in mind that it may be necessary to do so before a staff shift change. For seminars scheduled in the morning, mark off these spaces the previous night. As a courtesy to the community team, send an email informing staff of parking restrictions with instructions about alternate parking. Following the event, remember to email the community team again to express thanks for their assistance in marketing the community.
Convenient parking may be limited in your community. If so, consider hiring a valet and/or use golf carts to shuttle back and forth to the event.
Personalize and streamline the registration process
Your registration table is often a point of confusion and inconvenience. With a little pre-game planning, your guests will be able to register quickly and move into an enjoyable program. Have a member of the sales staff call all preregistered attendees one day before the event in order to connect, confirm their participation, and explain the parking one more time. Using this confirmed list of attendees, create a registration form with alphabetized attendee names (one for each member of a couple) twice in a row. With scissors, cut the second name in the row so that it can easily be removed from the sheet; this becomes the door prize registration. Be sure to leave some extra lines for those who show up unannounced. Guests will only need to check-in and receive any materials you prepared for them; the hostess will tear-away the second name in the set to enter into a door prize drawing. You will know if the second name has not been torn off, this means the registrant was a no-show, and you can use this form to enter attendance into your database.
(Thanks to Donna Harmon at Village Shalom, Overland Park for this registration process).
Your guests formed their initial impression of your community from this event process. Assuming that you knocked their socks off, the event itself should cement their pleasant first impressions.
- Difference between Educational and Experiental Event Planning
- Increase Engagement Through Guest Events
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About the Author
Patty Scotten is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® and serves as their marketing manager. Patty has over twenty five years’ experience in the senior living industry and has led several communities in preselling expansions or increasing occupancy levels. She graduated from Elon University and holds a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patty is licensed as both an assisted living and nursing home administrator.