Event planners understand the role that good signage plays in getting attendees to and from the wide array of conference offerings. That being said, planning an effective signage strategy is rarely as simple as creating a handful of directional foam boards. Whether you have ten or hundreds of people congregating inside an unfamiliar area, you should assume there will be exceptions to the even the best traffic funnels.
In a world where advertising is pushed on us from every angle, effective event signage has to stand out and capture the attention of your attendees. The best approach to developing a good event signage strategy is to throw all the assumptions out the window. Every hotel and conference center has some level of stock signage in place, but you should not rely on it as the primary source of directions for your conference.
Below is a list that highlights five of the most important considerations to evaluate before posting that very first sign.
Align the Event’s Room Names with the Property
In this modern era of sponsorship recognition, you’ll often see a breakout room named after a participating sponsor. This makes sense, since it is a great way to highlight contributors to the company or conference. However, one thing you don’t want to do is override the venue’s room names. For example, if the venue has defined a general session room as Banquet Room 4, then you need to include this information on your signage. Following this protocol will help everyone, from vendors to managers, direct lost attendees to the correct location. Otherwise, a lost soul looking for the creatively named “Forever Gold Linx Ballroom” might get passed off to several people before getting the right information.
Optimize Velcro for Added Flexibility
Create a few general direction signs with Velcro arrows that you can change as needed. Some traffic patterns are impossible to predict, and this simple trick allows you to have the flexibility to post directional signage in a pinch and save you from catastrophe. Along the same line, you can also capitalize on Velcro’s functionality to repurpose signage for future events.
For example, generic parking and restroom signs are the types of things you can reuse on multiple occasions.
Make Sure Your Signs Stand Out
A common complaint from planners is the lack of prevalent signage provided by hotels and conference centers. The simplest way to get past this is to take responsibility for all the signage needs. Take inventory of the in-house options available, but don’t forget that you might have to share some of these resources with other events at the venue. Branded signs that stand apart from the subtle venue signage are much more distinguishable for your guests. People tend to walk right past house signage, so make sure your client’s brand or conference logo is clearly displayed to attract attention.
Get Your Guests to the Front Door First
Don’t wait for attendees to enter the property before you begin directing them. Entrance and parking signs are critical for making sure attendees park and enter the building at the right spot. You don’t want to be the person greeting a registrant who has just walked a half-mile because they parked on the wrong side of the building! A good strategy begins at the first place a guest will land on the property grounds.
Never Underestimate the Power of Human Interaction
No matter how eye-catching your signs might seem, they can never replace the value of a friendly face. Greeters, ushers and parking attendants will always be the best defense against lost and irritated attendees. Most conference centers offer these services at an hourly rate, or you can enlist volunteers from within your organization. A strategically-placed registration table will alleviate some of the need for staffing, but make sure you walk through the venue property and identify locations where your guests could potentially get lost.