Creating the Guest Experience: One Tablecloth Away from A Successful Event

11 Feb

During an office meeting the other day, our team of 8 discussed the nitty gritty details of an upcoming event. We spent nearly two hours discussing stage design, venue logistics, delivery of programs, and much more. I’m sure you’re thinking “TWO HOURS?! How could it possibly take that long to discuss putting a couple flowers on a stage?”

Yes, it could…and it should! All too often planners get lost in the execution of an event that they forget about the details. They worry if they’re on time, if the caterers have arrived, when the programs will be delivered. Know this: the details are what matter the most. Have you ever heard, “it’s the thought that counts!”? In this case, “the thought” is the consideration for details. Details showcase to an attendee that you’ve taken the time and put in the effort to design an entire experience for him/her, one that is positively meaningful and memorable.

For example, at that meeting we counted how many rental tables we’d need and for what purpose. After discussing all other locations, we decided to host eight tables where guests would be checking in for their big day. Typically, at any event that isn’t a backyard barbecue complete with cornhole and a cooler full of Miller Lite, rental tables require table skirts. In our situation, this meant more set-up time, more break-down time, and more costs.

“Do we really need table skirts?” one team member groaned.

Another chimed in, “Absolutely! How would you feel if you went to pick up your name tag off a dirty old wooden table?”

Perhaps some guests wouldn’t mind a dirty old wooden table. After all, it isn’t the main part of the event. On the other hand, it is certainly part of the experience. Think about it. When hosting an event, there is a difference between a beat up wooden table and a clothed and skirted table. A wooden table might say, “Grab your name tags and keep going,” while a skirted table invites guests and says, “There’s something important over here, come check it out.”

A tablecloth is a small detail, a sometimes costly but purposeful gesture to show guests that they are welcome, appreciated and special. It is a small way to add a note of elegance to the event. It also reflects tremendously on the host. 

Creating the guest experience is simply that: the experience. What feelings should guests experience when at the event: surprise, romance, elegance, thrill, adrenaline, honor, etc.? Now think about how these feelings can be achieved! For guests, this can be the difference between being at an event and BEING at an event. Were they simply in attendance or were they engaged? Did they go through the motions like everyone else or did they interact? 

Ultimately, guests will complain about everything that went wrong before they compliment an event. Instead of raving about the delicious buffet, they might grumble about the empty stage (no good photo ops!).

So, consider the experience: not what happened – checked in, ate some food, got some awards – but what was experienced – took some great photos with my coworkers, got a cool name tag I’m totally keeping, felt super classy. And remember, it’s all in the details.

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One Response to “Creating the Guest Experience: One Tablecloth Away from A Successful Event”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. WRITING | Camille Sennett - February 18, 2014

    […] Creating the guest experience is simply that: the experience. What feelings should guests experience when at the event: surprise, romance, elegance, thrill, adrenaline, honor, etc.? Now think about how these feelings can be achieved! For guests, this can be the difference between being at an event and BEING at an event. Were they simply in attendance or were they engaged? Did they go through the motions like everyone else or did they interact? more… […]

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