In order to succeed, event professionals need to consider every element of their event, especially how they manage their entrance. You need to be prepared when something goes unexpectedly wrong. Gate management strategies need to have layers, with backups for your backup plans. Our own gate management strategies have taught us how to streamline the entry process and scale event entry for events of all sizes. Today, we’ve decided to share our experiences by compiling our best practices for gate management into 3 simple ingredients: Signage, Stanchions, and Staff – when combined these ingredients will make your entrance a breeze and leave a lasting first impression for your attendees.
Before anything else, preparation is the key to success. – Alexander Graham Bell
If you want people to move quickly through your gate, then you need them to know where to go. They need to know where the lines start, where the gates are. They need to know how to find their seats and where the snacks are. A lost attendee moves slowly, which causes the people behind them to move slowly. All of this chaos inside your event directly impacts your ability to get people inside with ease. To avoid confusion and get attendees to their seats, use quality signs.
You can’t just throw signs up anywhere though. A sign doesn’t do anything if no one see’s it, so spend some time considering where the eyes of your attendees will wander. Obviously, you should have signs labeling doors or arrows pointing to the seats. You can get more creative than that though. Trying to relay a lot of information? Put a sign up next to the line, so people stuck in line will read it to cure their boredom. Have you ever seen a sign on the back side of a stall door? Now that is where you can find a captive audience.
Another universal rule to remember: people don’t pay attention. You can base your sign placement off extensive research into human psychology. It can be fully optimized with just the right font and size. Guaranteed, many of your guests will walk right past it. If you are putting important information on a sign, then you need to make sure that information appears more than once.
Crowd control is an intensely crucial part of getting the crowds through the gate. The attendees need to know where to line up, where they can to be, and the best route to their seats. This is what stanchions are for. Stanchions help turn mobs into lines, and make rooms into pathways. They communicate where people can and can’t go better than any sign. They make order out of chaos.
This sounds like high praise for a felt rope or a re-purposed bike rack, but stanchions allow you to redesign your venue however you like it. You can use them to make a door into a main gate, with well laid out lines that can accommodate the crowd. With your gate crowds in a neat line, you can file them through the gates efficiently. When it comes to moving people through the gate, we have learned that it is most efficient to do security checks before screening tickets. Security checks take longer, and getting them out of the way lets the ticket scanning breeze by. Having a “barker” who lets people in line know that they need to have their tickets out will speed things up as well.
Stanchions also have a huge advantage over real walls: they can move in a matter of moments. Whenever you set up a venue, you need to remember that the crowds will flow two ways: in and out. Your gates will become exits, and your attendees will be much less interested in waiting in nice calm lines on their way out. So, you may need to re-adjust some stanchions to create a nice even flow out of the venue.
Your staff make your event happen. If you want things to run smoothly, you need to make sure that every single person working on site knows what their job is and are capable of doing it. Your staff need to know as much as you can tell them, such as what time the show starts, when to expect a rush of guests at the gates, or questions that people might have.
If you want things to roll smoothly, you should be careful not to overwhelm your staff members. The less someone has on their plate, the better they will be able to accomplish that task. There is a lot you need done during your event, but being understaffed means people will be overworked. Being overworked means mistakes will happen. Because of this, the best way to handle staffing is to have enough hands on the crew to divide tasks up into simple parts.
The chain of command for your event needs to be well established as well. No one should be unsure of who to go to if there is an issue. As you prepare for the event and prep your staff, name one person in charge of each area. This could save you a whole heap of confusion during the times when things need to be crystal clear.
These complications can often make staffing one of the most difficult parts of running an event. Finding staff competent enough to handle these tasks and keep your event moving takes time and screening. And yet, every event manager has known the struggle of having that one staff member who is constantly late or doesn’t show. Though they probably wont stay on staff for long, their tardiness can cause huge problems on event day. It’s an issue that Xorbia helps our clients with by providing staff to scan tickets and manage the gates for larger events. We’ve found that this service helps take a huge load from our clients, and allows them to focus on much more important parts of their events.