Wayfinding, tours and maps - getting people around events in 2017

July 14, 2017 Charlotte Wilson

 

From A to Z, event success depends on guests being where they should be. Here’s a look at some creative ways to keep your visitors on the straight and narrow.

 

Event wayfinding

When planning your event, the myriad of ‘things to do’ within a short space of time can be daunting. The bewilderment may be the same for some guests upon arrival; therefore, they need to quickly and easily know where everything is located, to relax and feel comfortable in the surroundings. These are essential elements to an enjoyable, prosperous event and a happy client.

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression – and a clear way for your attendees to orient themselves can make all the difference. Your direction needs to be striking and to the point, not just the tired, old ‘You Are Here’ map. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Standout with colourful wall or floor graffiti to point the way
  • Place a musical band or entertainers along walking routes, with nearby directional markers
  • A bold, sans serif font for clarity and high visibility of signage
  • A banner above a door or projected symbols are excellent opportunities to make crowded venues such as toilet areas, food halls and reception areas stand out to visitors and assist them in finding their way around your event

 

Tours

Help participants navigate their way around your event, either in person or with technological assistance:

  • The personal touch – tour guides are ideal to show guests around the event in safety. A friendly demeanour is imperative, along with a knowledge of the event theme. This reassuring guidance, along with the dispensing of relevant information, sets a positive tone for the event.
  • ‘Here to Help’ stands at entry points to buildings and distinctive bright uniforms for staff are also thoughtful ways to help a guest who loses their tour guide
  • In the weeks before the event, place a virtual tour of the location on the event website. This allows participants to familiarise themselves with the event venue before they arrive; defusing individual stress and lessening the workload of tour guides/support staff on the day

 

Maps

Traditional and modern maps can work in tandem to ensure event traffic is kept moving and to minimise uncertainty and confusion:

  • Printed – small maps of the venue can be placed at entry points; this can also be a sponsorship opportunity for local businesses. These are easy to keep in a pocket and all ages are comfortable with this method of navigation
  • Digital – a large, backlit map of the venue, with event zones clearly marked could be stationed at a ‘Help’ point. Even better, use an interactive touchscreen to further engage attendees and provide an additional ‘wow’ factor
  • OLED - No, it's not the 22nd century, OLED is here and ready to impress! 
  • Mobile phone app map – this could be made available in the weeks before the event and allowed to be downloaded for free. It conveys a welcoming attitude and is a comforting option for those guests who may be directionally challenged

 

Don’t leave your attendees to wander aimlessly. Determine which method best applies to your event and audience, and implement as early as possible into your event planning process. Your event will run more smoothly, and your attendees will thank you for it.

About the Author

Charlotte Wilson

Charlotte "Charlee" Wilson is Digital Marketing Executive at GES EMEA.

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