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You Had Me at Hello

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At least that is what you hope your attendees will say about your event. If you want to make sure that this is a phrase you hear from every attendee then you need to get your welcome desk in check. That doesn’t mean just making it look pretty either. You need to make sure that the team that you have on the desk is prepared. It is all about planning in this industry isn’t it?

When it comes to your welcome desk, make sure that you have a knowledgeable staff that is professional, friendly and ready for anything that may come their way. The welcome desk is ground zero of your event. It is where everything happens; where people will come for answers and congregate, so you need to know how to handle the situations. Because despite all that happens, it is still the first impression that people will have of your event and you can’t slack. You need to have a successful welcome desk.

Set Goals

It is important to plan and set expectations for your welcome desk before your event. Know who is going to be in charge of what, and make sure they are clear on what their roles are. You don’t want your team fumbling over who does what. In order to make sure that the team stays on track designate a leader. Have them be the person in charge and the one who will deal with all the big issues that arrive.

Be prepared for anything to happen. Do this by covering all your bases ahead of time. As I said, the desk is ground zero, so people are going to come to you with all their questions. If you are not prepared to answer them, you need to be able to get in touch with the person who is. Have a list of contact names of who is in charge of what and make sure you have a way to reach them in case an issue should arise.

Speaking of issues, have an emergency kit with safety items, medical items, desk supplies and those miscellaneous materials. Someone may come to you looking for some needle and thread for a rip in their skirt and you need to come to the rescue. Your attendees will appreciate that you thought of everything.

Having a backup plan for tech is so important. If you are using software like etouches that is online, you need to make sure that you have strong Wi-Fi or have an Ethernet cord to connect to the internet.

If you are scanning badges or printing them on site what are you going to do if you lose power for 15 minutes (it happens, believe me)? You don’t want to tell you attendees to wait for 10/15 minutes, so have a printed list ready to go.  You can check people in with a marker and a paper as a temporary solution. All solutions are good if your attendees aren’t waiting.

First Impressions Are Everything

You will never get a second time to make a first impression, so don’t mess it up. Make sure that your desk is clean and organized! Many times people have badges or lanyards spread all over the desk and have no system in place for check-in; don’t be one of those events. Have everything running smoothly.

You also need to remind your team that they need to look good too. See if there is a dress code and if not, business attire or business casual is always the way to go. You need to look presentable at all times. That means NO GUM. Don’t be one of those obnoxious chewers when someone is trying to speak with you.

Going further than your outward appearance you need to make sure that you are always welcoming. You don’t need to always be high energy, but don’t be a downer either. Find a happy medium that lets your attendees know that you are glad to have them with you.

When it comes to your welcome desk, you need to think: how would I want to be treated? I’m sure you would hate to have people there that are unprepared, not knowledgeable on the event and just look sloppy. You expect the best, so give them the best! Make them fall in love with your event from the moment they lay eyes on your welcome desk.

Now, this is only a fraction of what you need to do to get your welcome desk in check. Our friend Allison Lafaro See of Integrity Elite Events dives even deeper in her Top 10 Tips for a Successful Welcome Desk webinar.  Don’t miss out on the chance to have your attendees saying, you had me at hello.

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