First, there are two things to recognize that will ensure your outdoor event is more successful and profitable:
- Outdoor events are usually held at places that were not designed to be event venues.
- Outdoor events are often held in the parking lots of indoor event venues where people normally park.
So... What do these two things have in common? An invitation to traffic problems. The top complaint of ticket buyers is traffic and the lack of organization related to that traffic. And, there are many underlying problems that cause this traffic problem to grow bigger and bigger. Here they are...
1. Your Phone System
It’s likely that you have one or two lines for your office phone system, which is probably all you need – except when it’s the week of your event. Phone calls will skyrocket in the days leading up to your event and those one or two lines will not be enough. Most calls tend to come in between 10am - 4pm and instead of having your team tied down to answering those calls, they should be out attending to the event set up. There are several services out there that can set up a phone tree for you to regulate those calls quickly and seamlessly. I guarantee you will see an increase in ticket sales and less frantic guests.
2. Traffic Flow
Everyone hates traffic. And you will most definitely sell fewer tickets if people think the traffic will be an issue. One way to aid in less problems with traffic flow is knowing where your attendees will come from but more importantly, having a way to reach them instantly when traffic routes should be altered.
There are companies out there who can send out text messages in groups. This is a great way to share updates (namely, new traffic patterns) to all ticket buyers.
It is also great to have local law enforcement on site for them to assist in directing your attendees.
3. Entrance Gates
Make sure you communicate in advance about what attendees are NOT allowed to bring into the event. This is critical, especially if cars are parked a long distance from where security is located.
For your staff working in the driveway, lots and gates... they must be wearing traffic vests, with cones nearby, flashlights and any other reflective items you are able to source. If you are able to hire a professional traffic & parking company, please do so!
Many event organizers underestimate the complexity of how to park cars efficiently. In fact, most of our large outdoor events hire a professional traffic and parking company. After all, this is the first impression your attendees have of your event, so you need to get it right!
If you need to be able to access the internet during your outdoor event, it is suggested to have one portable internet device every 40 feet. Right before your event beings, more people will be on their phones communicating and no matter how fancy your technology is, there are still two main problems that can happen if you don’t have enough portable internet devices:
- The local phone 3G network gets overloaded and connections start to drop.
- If you’re using a single carrier like Verizon for your connection, then you lose all connectivity and there’s nothing you can do.
With that said, you need to plan ahead. If you’re scanning tickets, you have two choices:
- Use a ticketing system that works in “offline mode” in addition to online mode.
- Make sure you have modems from more than one provider up and running at all times.
5. The Gate Team
Large outdoor events sometimes have team members working far away from food and water. Don’t forget them! Provide plenty of water and encourage them to drink it. Reflective safety vests are also very important in the parking areas.
6. Exit Plans
About one hour before the end of the event, it's time to “turn the gate around.” Make sure the traffic pattern out of your parking area makes sense. Provide golf carts for those who parked far away. And lastly, remember that you will need to have an ambulance entrance/exit to your event area.
Even When It’s Over, It’s Not Over
The event is over and the traffic has cleared, but it’s not over for you yet. Now, it’s time to send an email and thank your guests. You should also survey them (as well as the event staff) to see what they liked and what they didn’t like. Likely, you can do this through your ticketing platform.