Want to make your event stand out from the rest?
The best way to ensure your guests become repeat customers is to make them feel special. Like rockstars. Celebrities. Moguls. Big Shots. VIPs.
If you want to wow your guests, your event can’t just be good. It has to be a one-of-a-kind guest experience to make you stand out from the crowd. Today, attendees want their expectations to be exceeded: they aren’t just looking for cool shows or comfortable chairs. They want more.
That doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget on extravagant luxuries. There are plenty of small, affordable changes you can make to give your event extra sparkle. In some cases, you can actually earn more money by providing special perks and upgrades.
Read on for nine ways to give your guests the VIP experience they deserve.
1. Skip the Line
Works best for: live shows, haunted attractions, sports, any event with a ticket booth or line to get in the door.
Nothing makes us feel more like rockstars than skipping past a huge line of people and being whisked into a separate entrance. VIPs never wait in line, darling.
Adding a front-of-the-line pass to your ticket options won’t just make your guests feel special, it can help you increase your revenue, too. A lot of fans are willing to pay a little extra money to get through the door faster or avoid waiting in line.
When choosing Passage as your event ticketing partner, you can create different ticket types for your events depending on your needs and the type of experience you want to deliver. In this case, you can create VIP passes with a higher price and sell general tickets for guests who don’t mind waiting in the queue.
2. Upgraded Seating
Works best for: festivals, sports, live shows, or concerts.
A VIP area or dedicating seating just for upgraded ticket holders is another good way to make your guests feel like real VIP guests.
Reserve a section of seating (or standing room) closer to the stage if you’re hosting a concert or music festival. Or turn your VIP area into a quiet lounge away from all the action with plush armchairs, plenty of shade, and complimentary snacks. Guests will happily pay a premium for more comfort and a little extra luxury.
Our Assigned Seating feature lets your guests choose where they want to sit by following your venue’s layout. You can create different seating sections based on your event type and enable a VIP area for attendees to feel extra comfortable. No matter if they pay for VIP tickets or not, giving your guests the power to choose will change their experience.
3. Early Admission
Works best for: festivals, food & drink events, concerts, live shows, conferences, and conventions.
For all-access events like festivals or wine tastings, a front-of-the-line pass might not make sense. But there’s another way you can let VIP guests skip the crowds: offer them early access tickets.
For example, if your event starts at 8 p.m., allow VIP-only access at 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. With these VIP tickets, guests will have first dibs at seating, food and bev stations, or other activities before the general admission crowd. This is an amazing way to help guests avoid the lines and feel extra special.
Within Passage’s ticketing software, when you create your event you can easily set multiple time slots based on your needs. This feature will keep you organized when it comes to different groups of ticket holders.
4. Extra Samples
Works best for: food and beverage events.
If your ticket package typically comes with a set number of tastings or pours, provide VIP guests with maybe ten samples instead of three. Or better yet, sell VIP tickets for unlimited tastings (if the food & beverage laws in your area allow for this), while general-admission guests purchase food & drink tickets a la carte.
This adds a layer of convenience and allows VIP guests to avoid lines onsite where they’d have to purchase more tokens and tickets. You can charge a premium for this and get more money upfront from your guests, which can help with cash flow in the weeks leading up to your event.
5. Pre-Purchased Perks
Works best for: food and beverage events, escape rooms, axe throwing, paintball.
This is a super-easy way to make EVERY attendee feel like a VIP guest. When using Passage’s ticketing software, you can offer your customers MORE during the online checkout process.
Once they’ve chosen their tickets and are ready to pay, you can display a popup offer to pre-purchase items from the concession stand, food & drink tokens, parking, event photo packages, merchandise, lounge access, extra time (or extra clues) for your escape room, and more. On the day of the event, they can bring the corresponding voucher to be scanned and redeemed. They can skip the payment queue or ticket booth on-site and spend more time enjoying themselves.
This has clear benefits for event producers, too. Apart from happy guests, you’ll be able to sell more upgrades and add-ons even before your event starts. Within Passage’s platform you can manage your products and concessions to be sold as standalone products or as bundles with tickets. Learn more about it here.
Works best for: festivals, tours, conferences, food and beverage events.
Another way to make VIP guests feel special is with the freebies, giveaways, or swag items you hand out at your event. Let us give you some ideas:
If you’re hosting a beer or wine tasting, give general admission attendees a green or red cup, and let VIP guests have a gold or silver one. This is a cool low-cost way to make them stand out without going over your budget. They’ll feel like ballers walking around with their upgraded goods.
Handing out t-shirts or grab bags? Upgrade the guests with VIP passes to premium shirts, canvas totes instead of plastic bags, or just a different color bag. They’ll be more likely to hang onto something that distinguishes them as a VIP guest and carry it around the event with them.
If you’re gifting a merch package to all attendees, think about something special to add to your VIP guests’ bags. For example, when gifting eco-friendly freebies, you could include a sustainable coffee mug or metal straws just for VIPs.
7. Call Them by Their Name
Works best for: escape rooms, paintball, axe throwing, private tours.
Nothing makes us feel more important like hearing or seeing our name.
At your event’s front door, you can give attendees a warm welcome to make them feel like VIP guests. And, of course, you don’t have to learn the names of every guest who visits. Install a TV monitor in your lobby or check-in area, and display a standard welcome message with the last name of the next party arriving, like “Welcome Jones Party!”.
If you have an escape room, you could also do this in the room each party has booked (on the same screen where you might be displaying time remaining, clues, or other information). It’s a low-cost investment that makes every single guest feel special the moment they walk through the door.
8. Photo Ops
Works best for: escape rooms, paintball, axe throwing, haunted attractions.
Whether it’s a step-and-repeat at the entrance, or just the chance to take a group photo with some props and signs at the end of their session, event photos are a fun way for guests to remember their experience and share it with friends. They’ll definitely feel like VIP guests while sharing them on social media.
A group photo before departure is a common experience at escape rooms, but you could implement the same concept for paintball, axe throwing, high ropes or obstacle courses, and even haunted attractions. How many of your guests would LOVE to pose for a photo with a spooky prop or live scare actor?
You don’t need professional photography set up to make this happen. A simple backdrop in a well-lit corner of your lobby or near the entrance/exit of your event will do the trick.
9. Say Thank You
Works best for: all events.
We all enjoy feeling appreciated. After your event, send guests a brief email thanking them for attending. It’s the perfect way to end the day feeling like a VIP guest!
This is also a good opportunity to ask guests to fill out a survey about their experience: did they enjoy the VIP area? Were VIP passes useful for them? You can also share information about other upcoming events which might interest them, or offer a discount for re-booking or sharing with friends. Be sure to thank them again at the end of your message. The objective is to make them feel appreciated so they’ll want to come back.
Did you know Passage integrates with email platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact? It’s simple to set up automatic messages to be delivered to your guests after they visit your attraction or attend your event. Read more about our integrations and how to set up automations here.
Now that you know these simple tips on how to delight your attendees with VIP experiences and make them feel like VIP guests, you are more than ready to start organizing your next event. If you need any help, schedule a call with our support team.
Want to learn some extra tips & tricks? Download our Event Organization Checklist for free: