Making the guest list for a festival can be quite a thrill, but the work that goes into creating and managing all those names can be a nightmare for an event organizer if it’s not properly thought out. Natasha Hillier, chief product officer at Marcato suggests using these five best practices when managing your guest lists:
- Get Started Early
Don’t wait until the last minute! Identify and classify the kinds of passes (aka credentials) you’ll need for your list. Some to consider are: sponsors, volunteers, media, management, vendors, and artists’ entourage.
- Clearly Communicate
All passes are not created equal, which guests sometimes forget. So, clearly communicate what types of passes are available and the access attached to each one (your staff should also be well versed on this). Managing guest expectations from the get-go will go a long way in avoiding drama down the line.
- Think About the Guest Experience
Details matter and anything that makes the user experience easier and leaves a great first impression is a must. This is especially true for your sponsors. How they’re treated will determine their future involvement with your festival. Try using visual and technological cues for each pass (e.g., issue different colored RFID bracelets) so that you’re not exclusively dependent on scanners.
- Set Firm Deadlines
There’s a fine line between being flexible and being a pushover. There will always be last-minute requests, which is doable in small numbers, but if requests get closer to 100 a day, that’s not good. All applications (sent out months in advance) should have hard deadlines that you and your staff enforce so your entire guest list (including credentials, media, zones, etc.) is ready well before your festival date.
- Tweak and Plan for Next Year
There will always be room for improvement—even if you have a great festival—that’s how you grow and get better. Keep track of things you notice throughout the planning process and during the festival so you can address it when you begin planning for next year. Don’t try to make major changes after you’ve already issued hundreds or thousands credentials. Just make the best of the situation.
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