Eliminate the Line Before Midnight: Entry Management for Events Big and Small

My husband and I always laugh at ourselves when we attend an event these days.

After a combined experience of more than 25 years in the event production business, we can’t seem to just be an attendee. We often comment, “Hey, that’s an awfully hard sign to read. “ “Why are they running that cable across the entrance, somebody’s gonna trip.” “Wow, that’s a really cool wristband they are using!” Sometimes we even find ourselves moving a table or a piece of bicycle barricade to help make things run smoother.

Don't let attendees start 2012 outside of your event.

As an Account Manager at Eventbrite, I use my event experience to help our largest events run smoothly. It’s my goal to delight the Eventbrite customer every day on the ground, whether it is a 40k+ patron Maker Faire or my mom’s 70th birthday party with 20 attendees.

New Year’s Eve events are no different. No attendee wants to hear the clock strike midnight while they’re waiting in line.

Make sure that doesn’t happen. Here are a few tips on getting people in the door, quickly and safely:

Pre-event page set-up

When you set up your event page on Eventbrite make sure it doesn’t just look cool, but that it’s also informative.

An FAQ section is a great place to include directions or instructions for finding the entrance, as well as other event info.

Make sure attendees know how to get to your event and arrive well-informed. Let them know what they can and can’t bring and what to bring with them (photo ID, dress code, etc.). Share directions, parking and public transportation information with them.

FAQs are a great way to communicate this information. Don’t forget you can use the event details, the confirmation email, and the space on the e-ticket to convey a lot of this information. Be clear and concise.

Think ahead!

As you build your event page, start to think about your entry management logistics.

How will people get into your event? Do you have ticket types that require special entry management procedures (VIP, early access, etc.)? Will your attendees arrive all at once or over the course of several hours? Make sure you have an entry management plan to accommodate.

Also, will they check in at a table or kiosk or do you plan to scan their tickets with Eventbrite’s mobile entry management tools? Our Easy Entry App is now available for both iPhone and Android smartphones, and helps move people through the door efficiently.

Simplify!

Keep it simple for your attendees when they arrive. Use clear and simple signage. Use terms your attendees can identify with (i.e. Ticket Holders, Ticket Sales, VIP Entrance, Member Entrance). Consider making your entrance visible to parking areas and/or public transportation drop-off points.

Create a Choke Point

For lack of a better word, a choke point is a narrow place at your entrance where your attendees are forced to funnel into a single file line to perform the final check/ticket verification before they enter the event.

For large events, such as the Black Eyed Peas concert in Central Park, Biasha recommends multiple "choke points", even if there is only one point of entrance.

You can create a choke point in any number of ways. A doorway, stanchions (like at the airport), rope, bicycle barricade, or even tables work well. This does not mean that you should only have one line of people entering your event. It simply means that the entrance to your event should have one or several choke points. Wherever you have a scanner staff person or a person checking people off of a list, there should be a choke point. Remember, these entrance lanes should be small enough to prevent a horde of people entering at once, but wide enough to accommodate a person in a wheel chair (at least three feet wide, but no wider than five feet).

Small events may only have one entrance line/choke point. Larger events may have several. The key is to create an orderly and calm entrance with specific places for people to queue up and enter.

Do you have an Exit?

Make sure you have an exit. It’s not a good idea to use the entrance lanes as exit lanes at the beginning or during the event.

Clearly mark your exit with signage. Also, inform your attendees of your in/out policy. Once your attendees exit, will they be allowed back in again? Your in/out policy should be communicated at both the entrance and the exit (and on the ticket!).

Finally, make sure to have a big enough exit once the event has ended. Consider “blowing out” your entrance lanes and changing them to exit lanes toward the end of the event to allow your attendees to exit quickly and safely.

Having a friendly face (such as @BriteChicago!) at a designated help desk will encourage people with questions to avoid using the line to speak with an organizer or volunteer.

Customer Assistance

Make sure you have a plan in place to deal with people that forgot to print their ticket or aren’t on the list for whatever reason. I recommend NOT trying to help these people in the entrance line. A small table with a sign that says “Customer Assistance” or “Help Desk” works well. Have that table staffed by a volunteer or staff member and a laptop or master attendee list.

If your ticket scanners or list staff have trouble finding or checking in an attendee, have them instruct the attendee to go to the Customer Assistance table. Troubleshooting tickets can take a little bit of time. If you try to assist these customers in the entrance line, the entire line stops and the attendees in the back of the line can get frustrated. If the line is moving (no matter how slowly), people in the line are generally content.

Smile!

Don’t forget to smile, breathe and welcome your attendees! In most cases, these folks paid good money to attend your event and the way in which they arrive and enter your event makes a lasting first impression.

Stop waiting in line and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Ready to host your own New Year’s Eve event? Check out Eventbrite and see how easy it can be to plan, promote, and collect payments.