Imagine spending months waiting for an event only to spend practically the entire event in line once you get there. On top of that, the lighting is all wrong and the bathrooms are disgusting. Odds are all those things will leave an impression on you - and not a good one.
Nothing is worse than the anticipation build up of waiting weeks or even months for an event only to have a bad experience once you get there. You feel instantly deflated. Not to mention the fact that your entire experience will be tainted with the bad experience, even if you really enjoyed the main entertainment.
As an event producer, focusing energy on creating a powerful and balanced guest experience is crucial when planning for your event. Spend time looking at it from their perspective and pay attention to the details.
Here’s our list of the top 9 things that can ruin the guest experience at an event.
1. Gross, Unmaintained Bathrooms
Let’s be honest, most of us use the bathroom at least once at an event. And the truth is, not much can ruin an event experience faster than a dirty bathroom. No one wants to walk into the bathroom at your event and see overflowing trash cans, unflushed toilets, dirty floors, or empty soap and towel dispensers. Keep it clean and your guests will thank you.
2. Long Lines
Most people don’t enjoy waiting in lines of any kind, but especially not long lines at every part of an event. If your guests have to wait in line at the door, the bar, the concession stand, and at the bathrooms, they will probably end up spending almost the entire event in line.
Choosing the right ticketing platform that offers virtual queues (like Passage) could also help to reduce some of the entry lines and avoid bottlenecks at your event.
3. Bad First Impressions
When your guests walk in the door they’re going to take stock of the lighting, the music, the ambiance, and everything in between. Things like having good lighting or music are equally as important as keeping your venue at a comfortable temperature - not too hot or too cold. You don’t want to make guests uncomfortable or detract from the ambiance you’re trying to achieve.
Side note - fluorescent lights and disco dance party music do not mix well.
4. Poor Parking Options
Creating a good guest experience starts with parking (well, really it starts with ticketing and marketing first, but we’re skipping ahead a little bit). You don’t want your guests to be winded or frustrated as soon as they walk through the door. Sometimes there isn’t much you can do about changing the parking options at your venue, but if your guests need to park anywhere that isn’t completely obvious you need to make sure those details are clearly communicated beforehand and the day of.
5. Terrible Food or Concessions
When your guests come to your event they’re anticipating good food - whether that’s catered food or concessions. Even if you’re offering hot dogs at a concession stand, do it with care and pride. This is increasingly important depending on how food-oriented your event is. If your guests are paying for food at your event, don’t ruin their guest experience - make it worth the money.
6. Lack of Weather Preparation
If you’re hosting an outdoor event, weather can be your greatest foe. Especially in Midwest states where things can be so unpredictable, it’s important to have backup plans. This could mean an indoor venue lined up, or providing heating options (like a fire pit) in the winter and a shaded area or fans to escape the heat in the summer.
7. Not Paying Attention to Detail
The devil really is in the details. Your guests will have a much better experience if you’ve taken the time to ensure all the details are taken care of. That means double checking everything and creating a list as you do to make sure you get it all. If you notice it, chances are your guests will too.
8. Difficult Technology
If your event mobile app, registration form, website, or ticketing platform is hard to navigate or difficult to use, your guests’ experience may be ruined before they arrive. It’s incredibly frustrating for your guests if they can’t figure out how to use your systems and may even turn them away from the event - something we know you don’t want to do. Keep that in mind when selecting what software to use.
9. Confusing Navigation
If you have a venue with multiple rooms or any sort of confusing layout, poor navigation could be a huge buzzkill. Few things are as frustrating as being lost in an unfamiliar environment. To combat this issue, make sure there’s clear signage in each area and an obvious route to the main event.
The keys to avoiding these common mistakes that ruin the guest experience are attention to detail and keeping your guests in mind. Brainstorm some ideas of things that have ruined your experience at an event and make sure to avoid those mistakes (and others) at your own.
You know what really ruins the guest experience? Confusing and complicated ticketing. Learn more about Passage’s simple and easy-to-use ticketing platform.