A couple of nights ago I attended a convention, as a visitor, and, due to my professional deformation, I noted some flaws.
The pre-seminar communication was very effective. I received two emails in which I was clearly asked to fill out a form for data processing, to be delivered to the organizer on the event day. I also received a phone call to confirm some details and my presence. I would say that so far the organization was flawless.
Then we come to the event evening. Start of recording at 7 pm, beginning of the seminar at 8 pm, punctuality is highly recommended. Right on time, at 18.30, I was outside the gate, few people in front of me.
At 19.00 the doors opened, in front of me I had two long tables with 5 secretaries on each side, over them warning signs, online registration, reservation only (for those who had not paid online), ticket office. Simple and clear.
Indeed, it was not clear at all, people complaining, slipping into the wrong queue, moving to and fro, people who did not fill out the form … well, these are our customers ladies and gentlemen, we must be aware that despite we communicate at our best, the recipients will not even take the trouble to read blowups and, more, they will take it with you for the disorganization and confusion.
So far everything is ok but … there is a but.
Once we registered, we entered the hall…. Ops, the room was not ready, we got back in line waiting for the opening of the room, which took place around 19.25.
At 20.20 we were still waiting for the start of the seminar, no communication, no information. “Punctuality is highly recommended” bumped my nerves.
Finally at 20.25 we are told that the delay was due to two hitches. First, in the building next to ours there was a concert and this created a traffic block, an unexpected event. Secondly, the system wasn’t working and therefore all those who had pre-registered, to avoid queues, were still queuing because the system couldn’t confirm the payments made.
That’s where the shoe pinches. When organizing an event, the first thing to do is to check the location carefully. If it is located next to a sports hall, let’s see if there will be a match or a concert or something else on the same date and time. This will create traffic jams so we shall inform our guests to organize themselves on time.
Note: no delay due to latecomers. It is totally unfair to let those who have taken care to arrive on time wait for latecomers. Even if the delay may be justified, this should not affect who organized the day properly to avoid it.
Point two, the system crash. We are in the telematic era and cheers up the technology! but a system block or crash, the wifi that does not work, the power going up and down are always around the corner, countermeasures must be taken into account long in advance … in this specific case, they could print the excel table with the attendees and, next to their names, simply put a flag on “payment made”, quick and easy.
I had printed the payment proof, but how many like me? So why not to ask guests to print and bring the receipt? It is a useful precaution, regardless.
Last, once in the room, the hostess … boh, there were some ladies going around but it is not clear to me to perform what service. When a large number of people are expected, the hostesses must help the guests find their seat. If there are no seats assigned, once the first rows are full, the hostess should direct people directly to the free rows, avoiding unnecessary waste of time due to people trying to slip into the front row. Worse for those who arrived when the lights had been turned off, having to shoot in the dark in search of a seat with the iPhone flashlight.