Perhaps not everyone has had this experience, but there are some events where crowds build before the doors open. New Year’s Eve parties are a perfect example, especially those where hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and buffet dinners are included.
On your mark, get set, c’mon open the doors….
Guests most assuredly will be there early to stake out their seat once the doors open. Somewhere between the growing crowd, the banquet tables and the food displays are staffers waiting for the go-ahead to allow guests to enter. Their main goal is to create order amid the chaos, collect tickets and make sure no one gets in who hasn’t paid. As to be expected, a handful of people will show up and want to purchase tickets, putting further demands on a small holiday staff.
How does one manage crowd control and ticket sales?
1) Only open one door of each set of doors, so as to force the flow of traffic through a narrow space.
2) Use online ticketing with scanned check in. Scanners are easy to use and allow lines to move quickly.
While it’s possible to use scanners tethered to a computer, do yourself a favor. Forget the cord and use the most flexible scanners available – download a scanner app to a smartphone. Make sure to re-charge your phone’s battery in advance and keep an extra phone warmed up just in case.
Demand an app that clearly “checks” people in visually and via a loud sound. The app should also respond similarly when someone tries to check in with a used ticket. Scanners should offer check-in and checkout capability for accurate tracking and reporting. Avoid long conversations, excuses, lines backing up and assurances your guests already checked in but have no proof to back them up. Scan the ticket or the QR code on a smartphone.
When using multiple entry points, how can you be assured no one slips through? Apps that sync with the Mother Ship (your event) track and stop multiple users attempting entry on the same ticket.
Scanning paper or mobile tickets also automatically update event reporting. As such, the need for staffers to stay late to reconcile the tickets, cash and credit card sales, is nearly eliminated.
3) Sell tickets at the door.
Your online ticketing system should also offer a “Ticket Office”. The only requirement would be having Internet access. Many facilities nowadays have Wi-Fi and the newer mobile phone digital packages allow smartphones to be used as a Wi-Fi hot spot. This provides an Internet connection when Wi-Fi or wired Internet cabling is not possible. AKA what a great tool for outdoor events!
While many Ticket Offices allow from cash, check and manual processing of credit cards, look for those that allow you to connect a USB card reader so you can swipe a credit card. Removes potential errors during entry and keeps the line moving. These online ticketing offices also reduce the need to linger longer afterwards to reconcile.
Ironic isn’t it? The countdown to get the party started is much like the countdown to midnight and the New Year…10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…….
To learn more about event and festival management, check out “Secrets to Successful Events: How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals.” For those with event planning experience, consider, “Secrets to Successful Events Resource Guide: 42+ Easy-to-Use Tools and Resources.” Both are written by internationally known author and speaker Lynn Fuhler and are available on Amazon and at major booksellers.