Give your event the wow factor as soon as attendees walk in the door with these ideas, tips and tricks to making a great first impression.
Your event starts the moment attendees walk through the door and it’s up to you to introduce the experience the right way. Grand entrances are visually stimulating and can change the mindset of the guests towards your event immediately, which makes them more pliable and puts them in the right frame of mind and best mood. An event entrance also focuses their attention and takes them away from the everyday distractions to make them less likely to miss anything you are trying to get them to experience. Ultimately, a great event entrance entices your attendees and makes those who walk past wish they were there too!
Having manned entrances not only gives a sense of exclusivity but you can also answer questions, be helpful and direct attendees to where you want them to go right from the beginning to give you more control over their experience. Branded staff can also act as a great corporate sponsorship idea to extend brand awareness and reach while being easy for guests to identify and approach.
Greeters should always be personable, enthusiastic and helpful and you could incorporate them into the event theme using costumes and entertainment. This also provides unique photo opportunities that will most likely end up on social media, which helps raise event awareness too.
Giving things away from the outset gives a great first impression and shows you have so much faith in your event that you know attendees will stay, even if they get the free stuff first. Swag or goody bags are a great way to get off on the right foot, or if done badly, ruin the tone for your event so you need to get creative.
A useful way of doing this is by making something in the bags interactive or exchangeable, for example, drink vouchers, photo challenge bingo or prize draws to ensure guests are just as intrigued after receiving their goody bag as when they arrive to ensure that your event doesn’t go downhill from there.
Tunnels are a great way to create a transition from the outside world to your event and is definitely an option for those looking for a transformation and a big impact. This floral tunnel is intricate and shields the sunlight to reveal a darkened staircase at the end.
| Entrance Inspiration | a tunnel of roses 🌹by @jeffleatham
Alternatively you could go bigger and manipulate the door shape of the physical entrance and keep this all along the tunnel itself like at the NYC Robin Hood Foundation Gala who’s theme was “unlock the future”. Their outer door was a keyhole that extended using metal UV painted keyholes to open to the larger room and simulate going through one large door, Alice in Wonderland style.
If you really want to highlight (see what we did there!) your event from the outside then nothing screams ‘we are here’ like a light display or LED light up entrance as it interests passersby, looks pretty and is logistically helpful for finding a venue!
Lights are also useful if you have a naturally beautiful or architecturally fascinating building because you are using lights to highlight the existing features and draw the attention of attendees. You can also use light colors that are in keeping with your theme or to set the tone or vibe before they enter, such as blues for winter themes or reds for something more exotic, lights are more emotive than you think.
While you want to roll out the metaphorical red carpet for your guests, an actual red carpet is becoming cliché and unoriginal. Try using an alternative carpet colour to match your theme and be different. Runways are the next best thing for making your guests feel special and creating an entrance that they can work it down. This can be made using lighting and the space you are given or by using rope barriers and a section in front of your event to walk down but either way it’s important to recreate that red carpet feeling.
It is important to utilize technology and for many events innovation is a key theme. Event entrances with larger walls or mundane spaces can easily be spruced by projection mapping that can create a sense of otherworldliness and create other sponsorship opportunities. Projections or gobos can also act as a budget friendly signage alternative if you want your event name bold and obvious or where a sign would intrude on the infrastructure or be difficult to place, such as this projection display by LG at the Babylonian Arch.
Projections can also be combined with tunnels to create enchanting entrances and cinematic shows like this one from The Big Bang Gala which projected a nature display on the ceiling as you entered the event.
3D mapping can transform an event venue into a more interactive setting for guests and will be popular with passersby looking to take videos and will excite attendees.
Marketing can be an integral part of an event and the right event entrance can be the perfect opportunity for corporate sponsorship and signage but it is essential to have the right combination so as not to feel too “salesy” from the beginning.
Sponsors could opt for low-key options such as stair stickers or floor signage or something bolder such as larger displays or staff. Regardless, it needs to have good placement without being too intrusive otherwise it can put attendees off and negatively affect their event experience.
A more affordable option for event entrances that are also particularly beneficial for those lacking space if they don’t want to eat into the venue space itself are archways. Just because they are smaller does not mean they can have any less of an impact and still provide a great gateway for your event.
Particularly favored at sporting events or those in limited areas, archways are easy to customize to suit any event theme, for example this Lego Batman archway for the movie’s premier that also has sponsorship signage is themed, space saving and still packs a punch.
When event planning you consider the décor and this should be no different for the entrance itself as it is an extension of the event. Ensuring your entrance is incorporated with the same colors, theme or props as inside helps to provide attendees with a seamless experience and straight away shows them what you are trying to achieve. You could do this by using floral displays with the same colors or flower choice or by extending the internal theme like in this crystal wedding entrance.
Making your event entrance interactive is a great way to lighten the mood and encourage attendees to be more open to what you are showing them. There are hundreds of options for interactive event entrances and depending on the budget these can be as simple as having greeters run a selfie competition and provide props for entrance photos.
You could also opt for something more technical and intricate such as the augmented reality experience at the sign in for the F8 Facebook conference which involved attendees swiping in with their personalized badges and being provided with their social media “fingerprint” and encouraging common interests with their guests to get them talking and break the ice.
Whatever you decide, it is important to make sure your guests have fun and get involved with your brand or event as this encourages loyalty and a better event experience overall.
Creativity is what is remembered and more likely to be showed off on social media and as the entrance may be seen by the general public it also acts as a marketing tool as well. The best event entrances that make a lasting impression are those that are unique and creative but stay on brand. It is important that your entrance embodies your event so that the attendee is not having two experiences – the entrance and the rest of the event should be seamless. A great example is the Thomas Heatherwick exhibition that created a white traffic cone ceiling that also cascaded ornate shadows for the entrance.
Ultimately it is important to remember that an event starts from the outside and you should use the event entrance as an extension of your theme to show off to the world and entice potential attendees and guests. Your event entrance is the first, and sometimes longest lasting, impression of your event so use some of these tips and inspiration.