First impressions leave a lasting impact, especially when it comes to events.

As an event professional, you know the importance of the welcome experience — it sets the scene for everything that follows. The moment attendees step into an event venue, their perception of the entire event experience begins.

We discuss ways you can create an inviting atmosphere that resonates with your attendees through personal touches, smart badge collection methods, and an entrance ambiance that will leave a lasting impression.

Personal touches go a long way

Creating a custom-tailored welcome experience is not just about efficiency; it reflects the care and attention to detail you put into an event.

Adding personal touches such as handwritten welcome notes or custom swag bags with rewards relevant to your audience can make attendees feel special and valued. It shows you have gone the extra mile to make them feel welcome and appreciated (and you can generate extra revenue through sponsorship too!).

Think about the event theme, demographics, and interests of your attendees when incorporating personal touches, as this helps create a more meaningful and memorable experience for them.

Smart badge collection methods

Using smart badge collection methods, such as RFID or Apple Wallet Enhanced Passes, speeds up the check-in process since attendees don’t have to search for their confirmation email. With geo-location loaded badges, a scannable QR code appears when an attendee picks up their phone!

Simple changes to your welcome experience can make attendees feel more organized and in control, resulting in a positive first impression.

Registration Area

Badge kiosks at hotels and airports

For events with heavy flows of inbound attendees, placing badge kiosks at partner hotels and airports can make your attendees’ lives easier.

Imagine arriving after a long flight to find you can skip the registration queue at the event the next morning (and catch a few extra ZZZs) and pick up your event badge right from the airport on arrival.

This method has been successful at events around the world, saving attendees time, reducing stress, and resulting in positive event interaction.

Event ambiance sets the mood

The sensory impact upon your event entrance is powerful.

How many times have you walked into a busy exhibition hall or venue to see hundreds or thousands of people queuing, impatiently waiting to get into the event and start their day? It can be overwhelming for many.

Creating an entrance ambiance with the right lighting, music, and decor can ease the chaos and make attendees feel welcomed and excited to enter the event.

Think about it like this. Do you have a favorite bakery that you used to go to as a child? Or music that relaxes you? These sensory cues evoke strong emotions and memories, hopefully positive, and make us feel a certain way.

In the same vein, the ambiance of your event entrance can have a significant impact on attendees’ mood and perception. The smell, the soundscape, and the visual aesthetic work in concert to welcome your attendees, relaxing them after a stressful early wake-up and commute to the venue.

Enhance the event ambiance by integrating branded visuals like projected logos or bespoke backdrops, tailored to reflect the unique character of your host city. This immersive environment will leave a lasting impression on attendees, setting them up for a great day of content, learning, and networking.

Music and hospitality

We’ve talked about your entrance sounds, but what about throughout your event halls? Soft background music can soothe and energize tired travelers, together with a cheerful greeting from well-trained staff to make them feel at home.

What about offering refreshments that can revive guests and set a hospitable scene – a shot of OJ in the morning, perhaps, could be just what they need to make the most of your speaker’s sessions.

The more comfortable attendees are, and the better they feel in their environment, the greater their overall experience will be.

Signpost the bathrooms

It might seem an odd choice to include this topic here, but are the bathrooms at your event venue signposted?  There will be a surge of arrivals just before the start time, and attendees will often make a quick dash to freshen up and regroup before starting the day of conversations, sessions, and meetings.

In addition to signposting, and if possible with your venue, partner with a local small business to provide some nice-smelling hand soaps, perhaps some refreshing face wipes, and make sure the bathrooms are kept well-maintained throughout your event.

A welcome experience for attendees is not just about what happens at the initial ‘hello’. It extends to everything they encounter within their event environment. Consider each part of your guest journey – from arrival to departure – and what you can do at each touchpoint to make it warm, inviting, and memorable.

It’s all about the welcome experience

The welcome experience is an opportunity to make a powerful statement about your event.

It’s an introduction not only to the schedule but also to the overall event vibe and ethos, so it’s important to align the experience with the spirit of your event.

Whether it’s through personalization, efficient badge collection, or creating a multisensorial entrance ambiance, elevating the welcome experience is a surefire way to set the stage for a successful, memorable event.

Keep innovating, stay attentive to attendee needs, and always aim to make that first impression not only count but also delight. Take the guesswork out of how to utilize technology to create a seamless welcome.  Connect with us today.