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Planning for Safety
Before the Doors Open
s a guest list app ourselves, we know a lot about
check-in. We work with event professionals every day, helping
them make sure their guests and attendees get in as quickly
and as efficiently as possible and now we want to share all
our knowledge with you!
The check-in procedure often gets little
attention when compared to the great
importance of the process itself. How you
run your door is really essential. It’s the first
interaction your guests have with your event
and if it doesn’t go well it can negatively
impact how attendees feel. If it goes poorly,
you’re behind the 8-ball and your event
hasn’t even begun!
Guest check-in begins long before guests arrive.
Unfortunately, event planners often leave planning of the
check-in process till the very end and give it little thought past
just having someone standing there asking if you’re on the
guest list. At zkipster, we know the check-in process begins
the minute you select your venue.
The key to being a great event planner is
having the ability to really put yourself in
your guest’s shoes, to visualize how they
will experience the event. You need to be
good at anticipating how things will
great first place to start is
during the venue walkthrough.
Keeping in mind how many guests
you’ll be expecting, familiarize
yourself with all the areas leading in
and out of the event. When you’re
going through the walk-through,
you’ll want to look specifically for
areas that could become bottlenecks
the more people enter. You’re goal is
to make the check-in process as
smooth and painless as possible.
I encourage you to walk through the space from
beginning to the end as though you were a
guest arriving. Visualize where they will go, what
they will do. Ask, where will guests arrive? How
is the flow of the room? And most importantly,
where will there be bottlenecks and how can you
keep them to a minimum? So, for example if
you’re having a coat check, check the
placement. If it’s very close to the check-in area
it could cause people to block the entrance and
force the check-in to slow.
After you have walked through the entire space,
it never hurts to ask yourself once more, what is
the goal of this event? Is what you're planning
satisfying your purpose? It may seem like an
easy question, but it's always good to re-focus
Planning for Safety
Another important part of planning is to decide whether or not your staff will need
extra help managing all the people you anticipate will attend. You may have VIPs with
special needs and requests, your may have concerns about event crashers, or you
may have so many people to be in attendance that for insurance purposes it’s best to
have a professional on site.
here are plenty of reasons to hire a security
contractor. Knowing what questions to ask
when looking for the perfect event security
services team can be a bit more difficult to
figure out. To help you, we've compiled a list of
information you should be requesting, from any
potential event security company.
When compiling a list of things to ask of your potential security contractor, the main
consideration was to find transparency. The security of your guests is tantamount and
if you are to trust someone else with their safety, it's best to know everything you can
about them. A good security company will be able to provide you with everything
listed, and if they aren't forthright, you should consider finding someone else.
• Audited financial statements
for past year
• Proof of adequate bonding
• Any history as debtor in
• Any and call violations of
employees’ freedom to form a
• Any and all violations of
minimum wage laws
• Any and all unfair labor
practice charges or
complaints against the
• Any and all violations or
penalties under the Federal
Labor Standards Act and the
Service Contract Act
• Any and all investigations,
convictions or liability
related to firm making false
claims or material
• Any and all owner or officer
convictions in crimes
involving the bidding,
awarding or performance
of government contracts,
or crimes of fraud, theft,
embezzlement, perjury or
• Any and all previous contracts
• Any and all contract terminations
• Any and all debarments or
determinations of non-responsibility
• Any and all court disputes over
past five years, outstanding
judgments against the contractor,
or damages assessed on any
• Any and all investigations,
citations or penalties assessed
against company owners,
partners or officers by relevant
• Any and all violations of
licensing laws, or any
penalties or disciplinary action
taken against company by a
Event Safety Plans
nything that happens around the entrance to your event should also be
considered part the check-in process. You should have plans for all of it. This includes
site safety, crowd management, transportation, first aid and a plan in case of an
emergency. How people will arrive affects your check-in set up, how people are asked
to wait in line also affects check-in, even first aid can affect check-in, as guests with
no one to ask often find the only area of apparent authority: your check-in team. Here
is a list of the safety plans you should consider:
Site Safety Plan
A site safety plan will come in handy for when you are planning
a large outdoor event, like a concert or fair. It combines a
description of all the potential hazards of the site, structural
safety calculations and drawings, as well as a detailed
description of site safety rules, any site crew managers and
Crowd Management Plan
The key to a good crowd management plan is to first
understand the characteristics of the people that will be in
attendance. Map out your plans for event admittance and
denials in advance and make sure to coordinate a chain of
command. Always make sure to remain communicative with
your staff and with your guests.
Transport Management Plan
Figure out how guests will be arriving and departing. Ask yourself, what do you need
to provide your attendees so that this process can go as smoothly as possible. If your
event is serving alcohol make sure you have on hand lists of ways your guests can
make it home. Detail all parking arrangements as well as, any that have to be made
with the local traffic authorities in case of road closures.
Always, always have a contingency plan. It's always better to hope for the
best but plan for the worst. Get together a plan detailing how you and your
staff will deal with a major incident or disaster. How will you make
announcements? How will people exit the premises? If exiting is not possible,
what resources do you have to keep people calm?
Accidents happen and people fall ill. Always make
sure you have the basic services for first aid
provided at any sized event. Be prepared with the
numbers of all important emergency services that
you can distribute to your staff. Depending on
whether you have a large number of people in
attendance you will need to find first aid provisions
suitable enough, like having a medical officer on
staff. Make sure you're doing the most for
event safety, not the minimum, or you may find
yourself in a position you really don't want to be in.
Before Doors Open!
ne hour before the event starts meet with your check-in team and go over
any and all procedures. Getting everyone on the same page will keep the lines running
smoothly. The first thing we recommend going over is the guest list app semantics.
Make sure everyone knows how to check guests in quickly, add guests, edit guests, re-organize
columns by last name, or first name, or company, etc.
Not all digital guest list apps are created equal,
but usually the main operating principle is the
same. So, here are a few tips that will allow you
to maximize the benefits your guest list app.
How to Maximize Digital Guest
List App Benefits
We recommend you have one tablet
device per 150 expected guests.
This will keep your wait times low.
Average check in time per person
is approximately 2.5 seconds.
When searching for a guest's name, use our 4-letter Rule.
This means only search the first 4 letters of the person’s
last name, as that is all you need to find someone quickly.
Don't waste time spelling the whole name out.
In addition to First Name and Last
Name, use extra columns to your
advantage and title as you please.
Choose the information you will be
recording in these columns wisely.
Some examples of column titles
are: VIP Access, Seat No., Table No.,
Invited By, Paid/Unpaid, Dietary
Use the Notes section to add any
extra important information when all
other columns are filled.
Make use of the internal alerts
system. You can set it so that when
an important guest arrives, people on
your team are notified.
ext, you will want to address any procedures that are specific to the event you’re
running. This includes:
• Where to send people not on the list
• How to deal with event crashers i.e. what signs to look out for
• Address any PNGs or Persona Non Grata
• Can substitutions be made
• Can new guests be added by staff or does a senior member have to approve
• Where are the bathrooms and coat check located
How to Maximize Digital Guest List
To make things more time efficient,
we also recommend coming up with
internal codes or shorthand in
advance, to record as much
important information as possible.
If you are not connected to Internet
during check-in remember DO NOT
log out of your account until you re-connect
all the tablets to Wi-Fi or all
your data will be lost.
How to Maximize Digital Guest
List App Benefits
you’re worried about guest list security a great tip we always offer clients is to
inform staff to keep the guest list to themselves. It's human instinct that a guest
will want to lean over and look at the guest list, themselves. You ask for their
name and they will normally scan and point, "There I am." Do not let them do
this. If he or she is a guest, it's fine, but they could just be searching for a name
to say in order to get in. It's better for to guard the iPad or tablet and keep it
close to the chest. If this is difficult, there are some great privacy
screens available that will darken your screen from prying eyes. This will
physically give you a secure guest list.
you’re hosting a large event, it helps to have
someone on hand directing the flow of
traffic. This person can guide guests to
staffers as they enter. We find that this helps,
as most people aren’t used to people
checking them in on tablets. (Yet!)
It’s also a great idea to have a separate area to direct people who are
having issues getting in. If someone is not on the guest list app, your staff
can direct him or her to the Information or Help Table where someone with
guest list knowledge and deciding power can sort everything out. If the
event is seated with many numbered tables you may consider having
someone with a seating chart helping people find their seats.
Every event and meeting professional wishes
that, on game day, they could be everywhere at
once, but unless the laws of physics have
changed recently, its not going to happen. You’re
going to have to delegate and one of those
places you’ll definitely be delegating is at check-in.
This is why the most important thing you need
to do to have a smooth check-in process is to
have a properly trained and properly equipped
The most important thing you can do is to give the people on your
frontline everything they need to succeed, like using the event
planning technology available to your advantage. Equip your team
with a dependable and easy-to-use guest list app. Don’t have your
staff searching through pages and pages of names, wasting their time
and more importantly your guests. Do everything digitally.
Don’t wait for problems and questions to arise.
They invariably do. With event planning, it’s
always best to anticipate and the same is
especially true for check-in. There will always be
someone whose name isn’t on the list, or
someone who has one more plus one than
allowed, someone who RSVP’d late. How you
handle the situation is what’s most important,
and more like than not, it won’t be you handling
it, it will be your staff, and the only way to
guarantee they represent you well is if you train
and equip them well!
About the Author
Christina Olenick is the Content Marketing Coordinator at zkipster –
Guest List Solutions, the fastest and most reliable guest list app for
non-ticketed events. She also helps manage guest check-in at
countless events all over New York City. To read more on event
planning, check her out on the zkipster's blog - The Grand Planner!
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