Want to make your event stand out from the rest?
The best way to ensure your guests become repeat customers is to help them feel special. Like rockstars. Celebrities. Moguls. Big Shots. VIPs. That doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget on extravagant luxuries. There are plenty of small, affordable changes you can make to give your event extra sparkle. In some cases, you can actually earn more money by providing special perks and upgrades. Read on for nine ways to give your guests a VIP experience.
1. Skip the Line
Works best for: live shows, haunted attractions, sports, any event with a ticket booth or line to get in the door
Nothing makes us feel more like rockstars than skipping past a huge line of people and being whisked into a separate entrance. VIPs never wait in line, darling.
Adding a front-of-the-line pass to your ticket options won’t just make your guests feel special, it can help you increase your revenue, too. A lot of fans are willing to pay a little extra money to get through the door faster or avoid waiting in line.
VIP passes will work for almost any type of experience. Here’s how to set them up for your event.
2. Upgraded seating
Works best for: Festivals, sports, live shows or concerts
A VIP area or dedicating seating just for upgraded ticketholders is another good way to make your guests feel like real VIPs. Reserve a section of seating (or standing room) closer to the stage if you’re hosting a concert or music festival. Or offer a quiet lounge away from all the action with plush armchairs, plenty of shade, and complimentary snacks. Guests will happily pay a premium for more comfort and a little extra luxury.
3. Early admission
Works best for: festivals, food & drink events, concerts, live shows, conferences and conventions
For all-access events like festivals or wine tastings, a front-of-the-line pass might not make sense. But there’s another way you can let VIP guests skip the crowds: offer them early admission.
If your event starts at 8 p.m., allow VIP-only access at 7 p.m. or even 7:30 p.m. First dibs at seating, food and bev stations, or other activities before the general admission crowd helps guests avoid the lines and feel extra special.
4. Extra samples
Works best for: food and beverage events
If your ticket package typically comes with a set number of tastings or pours, provide VIP ticketholders with, say, 10 samples instead of three. Or better yet, allow VIP guests unlimited tastings (if the food & beverage laws in your area allow for this), while general-admission guests purchase food & drink tickets a la carte.
This adds a layer of convenience and allows them to avoid lines onsite where they’d have to purchase more tokens and tickets. You can charge a premium for this and get more money up front from your guests, which can help with cash flow in the weeks leading up to your event.
5. Pre-purchased perks
Works best for: food and beverage events, escape rooms, axe throwing, paintball
This is something you can offer all guests, not just those with VIP passes. As customers begin the online checkout process, display a popup offer to pre-purchase items from the concessions stand, food & drink tokens, parking, photo packages, merchandise, lounge access, extra time (or extra clues), and more. They can skip the payment queue or ticket booth on-site and spend more time enjoying themselves.
6. Sweeter swag
Works best for: festivals, tours, conferences, food and beverage events
Another way to make VIP guests feel special is with the freebies, giveaways, or swag items you hand out at your event. If you’re hosting a beer or wine tasting, for example, giving VIPs a gold plastic cup while general admission guests get a green cup is a low-cost way to help VIP ticketholders stand out. They’ll feel like ballers walking around with their upgraded goods.
Handing out t-shirts or grab bags? Upgrade the VIPs to premium shirts, canvas totes instead of plastic bags, or just a different color bag. They’ll be more likely to hand onto something that distinguishes them as a VIP and carry it around the event with them.
7. Call them by their name
Works best for: escape rooms, paintball, axe throwing, private tours
Nothing makes us feel special like hearing or seeing our own name. You personally don’t have to learn the names of every guest who visits. Install a TV monitor in your lobby or check-in area, and display a standard welcome message with the last name of the next party arriving. “Welcome Jones Party!”
If you have an escape room, you could also do this in the room each party has booked (on the same screen where you might be displaying time remaining, clues, or other information). It’s a low-cost investment that makes every single guest feel special the moment they walk through the door.
8. Photo ops
Works best for: escape rooms, paintball, axe throwing, haunted attractions
Whether it’s a step-and-repeat at the entrance, or just the chance to take a group photo with some props and signs at the end of their session, photos are a fun way for guests to remember their experience and share it with friends.
A group photo before departure is a common experience at escape rooms, but you could implement the same concept for paintball, axe throwing, high ropes or obstacle courses, and even haunted attractions. How many of your guests would love to pose for a photo with a scary prop or live scareactor?
You don’t need a professional photography setup to make this happen. A simple backdrop in a well-lit corner of your lobby or near the entrance/exit of your event will do the trick.
9. Say thank you
Works best for: all events
We all love feeling appreciated. After your event, send guests a brief email thanking them for attending.
This is also a good opportunity to ask guests to fill out a survey about their experience. You can also share information about your other upcoming events which might interest them, or offer a discount for re-booking or sharing with friends. Be sure to thank them again at the end of your message. The point is to make them feel appreciated so they’ll want to come back!
Did you know Passage integrates with email platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact? It’s easy to set up automatic messages to be delivered to your guests after they visit your attraction or attend your event. Read more about our integrations and how to set up automations here.
What do you do to help your guests feel like VIPs? We’d love to hear your ideas and best practices in the comments!