How to Manage High-Profile Guests at Your Events
Security, Comforts, and Expectations When Managing VIP Event Services
Managing VIP guests can require strategy, but it is well worth it to create a reputation of care and respect. Whether you are hosting a business owner, investor, celebrity, or government official, you will need to ensure they see the VIP event services they deserve. After all, they made it to their very important position through industry insight, hard work, and determination. Showing them you appreciate their achievements and their presence at your event will go a long way to securing other guests of this high caliber.
The key to making VIP guests and speakers feel heard and appreciated is a basic principle, but it can take some finesse to implement: personalization. Planning their schedule, amenities, and security around their particular situation and comfort can define their experience. The event professionals at Omnience™ have developed strategies to manage VIP guests at events, and we are sharing some of our knowledge with you.
Build Your A-Team
Carefully select the staff members who will be in touch directly and indirectly with the client. Know your guides and staff. Some of them may handle stress better than others. When unforeseen circumstances happen, you need to be able to call in more people to help, so make sure you have vetted, back-up personnel available. Larger groups of VIPs require more staff ready to act at a moment’s notice. It’s vital to respect privacy and confidentiality agreements. Keep a VIP’s identity on a need-to-know basis. Most VIP events go off without interruption, but publicizing the appearance of a high-profile speaker mandates having a risk management plan to handle disturbance should one arise.
Familiarize Yourself With Their Team’s Protocol
Since there are many different kinds of VIPs, your first step should be communicating with his or her people to find out exactly what they will need from you. Determine the hierarchy at their company. You could be hosting a business investor who is bringing his team of assistants, or your celebrity entertainment could be bringing his or her agent and handler. Each person with the VIP has their own responsibilities; learn who you need to consult for all the parts of event management. Communication is key to developing a positive relationship with your special guest’s entourage, and event execution will go more smoothly if they are already on your side.
Once you know who will be with your VIP at the event and what their roles are, inquire as much as you can about their schedule. Many VIP guests have packed schedules, so it is not uncommon for them to excuse themselves during the event for another appointment. Knowing when he or she will be arriving and leaving will help you decide on check-in and exit strategies and security measures.
To truly win over a VIP’s team’s allegiance, show them how much you appreciate their hard work to get the VIP to your event. Cater to the VIP’s team when it comes to food, entertainment, and comfort measures. Some guests may even have their spouse there, so arranging for him or her to have their own needs met would be a perfect way of showing how much you care about the event’s impact on everyone there.
Personalize Their Experience
Individualization is the best tip you can use when managing VIP guests at events. Since there are many different kinds of VIPs, what they want available will vary—your celebrity spokesperson will have different needs than a sponsor’s CEO. With a lot of communication and a little creativity, you can provide personalized VIP event services that show your appreciation for their attendance.
Event planning consultants often receive preferences for food and accommodations from the guest’s liaison or handler. Depending on the VIP guest’s request, he or she may have a detailed list of items in their rider agreement. If your guest’s handler offers instructions, carefully talk over plans with this individual to align with the expectations, needs, and preferences of the VIP. This may include preferred routes in and out of the venue, what to stock in the green room, and how much exposure to press they want to see. By understating the importance of your guests’ privacy, you will build a reputation for being dependable and trustworthy.
Many times the most meaningful event management gestures are not the most expensive ones, but the most thoughtful. Keep a file of your guest’s interests and preferences whenever you discover them. Providing another dish during the event because the guest doesn’t eat red meat shows great attention to detail, as well as appreciation and respect.
Some VIP guests enjoy the first-class treatment that comes along with it, attention and all. However, others might want to lay low and create less of a spectacle. Consulting with his or her team in advance will help you understand what the guest’s expectations are.
Focus on Comfort—The Basics Come First
Forget about the fancy gift baskets until you have the basics covered. No amount of expensive champagne will make up for the fact that their designated bathroom is unkempt or they were forced to wait at check-in while someone bumbled through pages of names.
The golden rule of managing VIP guests at events is no waiting. Streamline your check-in process to ensure they can sail through with ease. They should never have to wait in line for food or drinks. Depending on your event and the number of VIP guests you are hosting, you may have to get creative with your VIP event services. If you have the space, you can set up a VIP area with a private bar and access to food. Alternatively, you could have designated waitstaff to assist your VIP guests.
One straightforward way of making sure your VIP’s needs are always being met during event execution is appointing a staff member as their concierge. In addition to their own team, this concierge will have specific knowledge of the event and venue to help locate whatever the VIP needs. This will reduce the time between your guest making a request or running into a problem and finding the right person who can handle it.
Know Every Inch of the Event Venue
You must have a thorough knowledge of your venue to provide for VIP guests’ experiences. Everything from their security to their comfort depends on it. Understanding the layout and limitations of your venue will help you make critical design and event management decisions, such as where your VIP lounge might be and how to arrange a low-key exit strategy. Some VIPs travel with their own security entourage, others will rely on the event staff to handle any potential disturbance.
VIP areas are not as straightforward to design as they seem; they must be exclusive, yet still feel like part of the event. They should feel luxurious, but also safe and secure. Knowing your venue will help you strategically position these velvet-rope areas to consider all of these factors.
Depending on their specific position and preferences, some VIP guests will want an alternative entrance and exit. Others might want to use the main doors like everyone else. In either case, you must know the possible obstacles and plan accordingly. You’ll need adequate staff to ensure entrance and exit points to the VIP’s location are secured in a way that they are comfortable.
If you are attentive to your VIP guests’ needs, they will be able to add the most value to your event. The event planning professionals at Omnience™ understand that high-profile guests have exceptional requirements, which depend on elite planning and design. Contact us today for help managing your event VIPs and giving them personalized experiences.