Guys, let’s be real, EVERY host wants their guests to be raving for days about the event they’ve just attended. Whether it’s a bride/groom or company CEO, it’s crucial to make sure that their guest experience is truly memorable. Here are my top 6 tips to help you create an unforgettable event that will leave a lasting impression on your guests!
Tip #1: Make your guests feel welcome and comfortable.
The first tip to creating a memorable guest experience is to make sure your guests feel comfortable. One very simple way to achieve this is to make sure they are well-informed about all things related to the event, including any pre and post-activities, accommodations, transportation, parking, as well as the food, drink, and dessert options that will be offered throughout their stay. Provide printed material like menus and brochures or have a website or social media presence that guests can use to access all event information easily.
It’s also essential to provide a welcoming atmosphere. One way to ensure this is to discuss with your event maître d’ on how the event staff is prepared to offer an exceptional guest experience. Simple ways to make guests feel welcome would be to greet them with a smile, provide comfortable seating, ensure clean and well-maintained facilities, offer signage to help them navigate the event space, and make sure they have everything they need to enjoy the event.
Another way to make guests feel welcome and set your event apart is by starting with a weekend kickoff event or welcome party. If you’re hosting a wedding, this event can be after or instead of the rehearsal dinner. A themed welcome party can be the perfect precursor to the big day and allow your guests to form relationships before the main event. It doesn’t need to be fancy, and the beauty of it is that it can be treated as its event entirely – it doesn’t need to match in style or grandeur with your main event. Think about the things you and your fiance like to do together or the food you enjoy eating when choosing the theme for the night. Bonus points if your theme ties in with your destination. Be sure to communicate the dress code, include special decor, and set the scene for a night that welcomes your guests to the festivities. They’ll be glad to spend more time with each other (especially if they’ve traveled a distance), and will be even more excited about everything to come the following day.
Tip #2: Provide Interactive Entertainment and Engagement
The second tip for creating a memorable guest experience is to provide engaging and interactive entertainment options. This can include creating opportunities for guests to connect and socialize. For corporate events or bridal/baby showers, consider hosting a trivia competition that includes not just the bride/groom or event host, but all the guests! You can choose to change up your everyday bride and groom trivia game and incorporate your guests in the fun too! There are plenty of other group activities to keep your guests engaged and entertained. This can help them feel more relaxed and at ease, and encourage them to interact with one another in a fun and engaging way.
If you’re hosting a wedding and love music, consider incorporating a station into the cocktail hour where your guests can select the next song – jukebox style, or end your reception with some fun karaoke prior to making your grand exit. It’ll make for some awesome memories – as well as great blackmail content to talk about later!
Consider unconventional message corners at your next bridal shower, wedding, or even birthday party with a video box of sorts where guests can record short video messages for you. They can even sing songs or share funny anecdotes.
There are so many ways to keep your guests engaged! Don’t let these small touches pass you by at your next event.
Tip #3: Offer High-Quality Food and Drink Options
One of the most critical aspects of any event is the quality of the food and drink options that you offer. To create a memorable guest experience, you should aim to provide high-quality and delicious food and drink options that will leave a lasting impression on your guests. Don’t settle; you can almost always create unique and creative dishes with any venue chef or catering manager outside of what they offer on their standard menu. Make sure to provide a range of options to suit all dietary preferences and requirements. The event staff should be knowledgeable about the menu and ingredients and be able to offer personalized recommendations and suggestions to help guests make the most of the dining experience.
Make it fun! If you’re hosting a wedding or corporate event, consider a wine tasting area instead of, or alongside, a cocktail hour. It may cost you less than a traditional bar! If you do decide to stick to the traditional bar, you can still make this an interactive and memorable experience – think mixologists, flair bartenders, and special food tasting stations!
Beverage bars and late-night snacks are always a hit too! Consider an espresso or beer flight station or even a cigar bar at your next event!
Tip #4: Create Experiences
Another key aspect of creating a memorable guest experience is to provide personalized touches and experiences that make your guests feel appreciated and valued. This can include things like greeting guests by name, offering complimentary amenities or services, or providing special touches like handwritten notes or personalized menus. These small touches will create a memorable and intimate experience for your guests. If you’re hosting a corporate event, this will help to build stronger connections and relationships with your guests, which can lead to increased loyalty and repeat business, as well as positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations.
As mentioned previously, consider incorporating interactive technology into your guest experience, such as touch screens or virtual reality experiences. These types of activities can be a great way to keep guests entertained and engaged and can help to create a more memorable and immersive experience. These are the newest trends we are seeing at successful corporate events!
If you’re hosting a wedding, another fun way to create a memorable experience is hosting an official after-party! Particularly if you have many guests coming from out of town or if you’re having a destination event, don’t overlook this small yet largely impactful event experience! We all know the after-party is now an official part of your event. Whether it’s an impromptu hotel bar gathering or a whole new event space, this is an exciting way to offer more food, drinks, and entertainment while extending the time you have with everyone you love!
Tip #5: Design a Visually Appealing Atmosphere
Creating a welcoming and visually appealing atmosphere is an essential aspect of providing a memorable guest experience. When guests walk into your venue, they should feel like they have entered a special place where they can relax and enjoy themselves. To achieve this, you need to consider the visual elements that will help create the right ambiance.
One of the most important aspects of creating a visually appealing atmosphere is lighting. The right lighting can make all the difference in setting the mood for your guests. You should consider the type of lighting that will work best in your venue. Soft lighting can create a warm and inviting atmosphere, while bright lighting can be energizing and exciting. You can also use different types of lighting, such as ambient lighting, accent lighting, and task lighting, to create different moods and draw attention to specific areas of your venue. Lighting should change throughout the event time so make sure to have lighting technicians knowledgeable in creating and maintaining the right atmosphere. Read our blog on lighting to learn more!
Another important factor in creating a welcoming atmosphere is the decor. You want to create an environment that is both visually appealing and comfortable for your guests. The decor should reflect the style and theme of your venue, and it should be consistent throughout to create cohesion. You can use candles, flowers, draping, specialty tables and chairs, art, plants, furniture and other decorative elements to create a unique atmosphere and make your venue stand out.
It’s also important to consider the layout of your venue. Your guests should be able to move around easily, and there should be clear signage and directions to help them navigate the space. You can use dividers and furniture to create separate areas for different types of guests, such as couples, families, and groups.
Tip #6: Provide Excellent Service and Hospitality
Providing excellent service and hospitality is the cornerstone of a memorable guest experience. From the moment guests walk in the door, they should feel cared for. This starts with having well-trained staff who are knowledgeable about the venue and its offerings and the event as a whole. Don’t underestimate the importance of meeting with the event maître d’ or catering manager prior to your event!
The event staff should be attentive to your guests’ needs and respond promptly to any requests or issues. They should be friendly, approachable, and willing to help in any way possible. Even if there are issues that arise, guests are more likely to remember how you handle the situation than the issue itself. If you handle it well and make things right, you can turn a negative experience into a positive one and create loyal relationships.
It’s important to go above and beyond to make your guests feel appreciated and valued. This can be as simple as remembering their names and preferences. Personalized touches like handwritten notes, complimentary drinks, or special treats can go a long way in making your guests feel special.
Creating a memorable guest experience is crucial for any event that wants to stand out. By following these six tips, you can ensure that your guests feel welcomed, entertained, and appreciated. If you feel overwhelmed, hire an event designer and planner and leave it up to them!