As I’ve been out and about over the past few weeks, it’s apparent one thing is on the minds of most kids and parents – it’s time to head back to school! With excitement and preparation for the upcoming year in full swing, I’m reminded of lessons we, as event planners, can learn as school starts again.
- First impressions are important! Teachers spend a great deal of time and energy in preparing their classrooms. They are visually appealing and creative. Your first impressions should be no different during events. The registration area is often your first personal interaction with guests, so make sure it is appealing, and make sure your staff are well prepared, as well. Just as teachers want to make good impressions on their students and parents, your staff should do the same.
- Creating an inviting environment is essential! Going to school can be a great time of anxiety for children. For some people, going to new events and conferences can bring similar reactions. Encourage your staff to be welcoming, to act quickly when an issue arises and to go out of their way to make those who might feel apprehensive welcome.
- Knowing what to bring is helpful! Paper, #2 pencils, crayons and more top the typical school year supply lists. Though you don’t have to be as thorough with your conference guests, it’s always thoughtful to let them know of any extra items they may need or any weather specific items they should bring. If you are going to have a formal dinner, make sure they are aware. If you plan on having an afternoon hike, be sure to let them know so they can be prepared. If the event is “BYOB” (bring your own bedding), remind your guests to bring linens for their stay.
- Don’t forget to share the important details! As kids head back to school, parents receive a lot of information – drop off and pick-up times, parking locations, lunch prices, absence policies, dress code and more. As an event planner, think in terms of guests who have never been to your event or event facility before. Information concerning parking locations, schedules, nearby attractions, registration procedures and more help guests feel more prepared, as well as reduce the questions your event team may have to repeatedly answer.
- Start your event off with a bang! Teachers usually don’t start their first day of school asking students to open their books and begin working. There are fun activities, group elements, get-to-know you times and more. Remember this as you plan your event – make sure to “hook” your guests from the beginning with excitement!
Fall is a popular time for event planners as there are many conferences and events taking place. I hope these refreshers get you geared up as you plan!