You had me at hello. That is what you hope to hear your attendees say the moment they walk away from your welcome desk. It isn't just about getting one person to say it either; you want all of your attendees to have that phrase slip off their tongue.
To have a successful welcome desk, you need to plan every little detail. The welcome desk is going to become ground zero for your event. It is where the magic happens, where people will come for answers and congregate. Bottom line, you need to be prepared. It is all about planning in this industry after all.
First things first, set expectations for your welcome desk
Start by appointing a leader. This will be the person that everyone will go to with their questions and they will make sure that things are running smoothly. Next, assign everyone specific responsibilities. Make sure that they know what their roles are. That way you don't have your team fumbling over who does what. You will have your welcome desk running like a well-oiled machine.
Once you have the roles assigned, it is time to think appearance. Make sure that your desk is clearly organized. Don't have your lanyards spread all over the desk, no system in place for check-in or have your attendees confused on whom to approach. If you are using a web registration check-in like etouches, have people with tablets set up in multiple rows to check people in. Then behind them have a table with their badges ready to be printed. Have a step-by-step process that will show your attendees how organized you are. N
ow that your desk has an A+ for appearance, move on to your team. You need your welcome desk team to look presentable at all times because you only have one chance to make a first impression. Make a checklist of things for them:
- Business wear, business casual or event attire (staff or event T-shirts or uniform)
- No gum
- A smile (welcoming demeanor)
Finally, be prepared for anything to happen
Again, this goes back to planning things ahead of time. You need to think Murphy's Law - anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Anticipate your attendees' needs. Have an emergency kit at the welcome desk: Medical items, safety gear, desk supplies and other miscellaneous material. What will you do if an attendee finds a rip in her skirt and comes to you for help? If you have a needle and thread on reserve you will be a hero! They will appreciate that you through of everything.
What if an attendee comes to the desk looking to find out more about the sessions, but you know nothing about them? Are you just going to say sorry I can't help you? No! Have a list of contact names and numbers of who is in charge of what. Your welcome desk leader can reach out to the correct person and get the answer to the attendee's question.
When it comes to tech, always plan for the worst. Maybe there is a big storm happening and you lose Wi-Fi for 15 minutes. Are you going to tell your attendees to wait to check in? Absolutely not! Have a list printed and ready to go or put it in a document that you can read on your tablet without Wi-Fi. Any solution is a good solution as long as your attendees are not waiting. You need to show them that they are your top priority!
When it comes to welcome desks, wouldn't you hate to have people that are unprepared? You expect the best, so give them the best! Make them fall in love with your event from the moment that they check-in. Get even more tips for an all-star welcome desk on etouches' wethink blog.