Within the past month, I attended three different events; a basketball game, a comic con, and a play. With each one, I found myself paying attention to what makes me, as an event goer, enjoy the experience of attending an event even more. Although each was very different, three common things from these recent events stood out to me; 1) the purchase process, 2) customer service, and 3) attendee engagements.
To me, the overall event experience starts with purchasing your tickets. As I got online to buy tickets to the play, I soon wondered if it was worth it. The theatre’s website was outdated and difficult to navigate. Often, it would say there were many tickets available for a particular show time, but when I would pull up the seating chart, only two or three seats could be found. Then, when I would try to get back to the main list of showtimes, the site would take me back to the homepage and I would have to start all over. Purchasing my tickets took over 45 minutes. In contrast, purchasing tickets for the comic con was a breeze even though I didn't I didn’t purchase the tickets myself, my sister did. She told me she went to the website, found what she wanted, and ordered the tickets all in a matter of five minutes. She ordered right before the event, so her RFID wristbands were waiting in will call. Even getting these only took 5 minutes, and we were in enjoying the fun.
Being a customer service professional myself, I always find that I grade the experience I have based on the customer service I receive. This is true from the grocery store to the events I attend. While attending the basketball game, my friend and I had access to a V.I.P. experience. We were able to get onto the court before the game to welcome in the players. As we were trying to get to the court, an usher stopped us before we could go. At first, I thought he was just being a grouchy usher and was going to demand to see our tickets. Instead, he was extremely kind and just wanted to make sure we knew where we needed to go. I experienced similar kindness at the comic con. The staff checking in attendees and directing them on where to go were extremely kind. Many times, they would go out of their way to walk an attendee to a different part of the venue to get them to where they needed to go. As an attendee, these customer service interactions made these events even more enjoyable.
From giveaways, to contests, to picture opportunities, attendee engagements keep your attendees excited about your event. The comic con was a perfect model of attendee engagement. Comic cons always have celebrity meet and greets and photo ops, but I was impressed with the app provided at this comic con. Every hour, I would get some sort of notification about something cool going on. One hour there was a celebrity panel I didn’t know about, and another hour there was a contest to show up somewhere in the venue to receive a prize. There was even a gathering to film a quick zombie scene. There were also different free photo ops set up in various places around the venue. One of my favorites was a 8 foot box that looked like the packaging for a toy. You could climb in with your costume and look like you were boxed and ready to be sold. These engagements kept me racing around the venue, wishing I had even more time.
All event makers want to create the best experience for their attendees. By paying attention to these three simple things; the purchase process, customer service, and attendee engagements, an event maker can turn their attendees from drones entering their doors to raving fans who can’t get enough.