Monday, March 7, 2011

Sprinkles of Sunshine

A very, very long time ago I participated in a webinar where the facilitator/moderator told us to “sprinkle sunshine throughout the events we plan”. I am not a “sunshine sprinkling” kind of gal and I began to wonder, at what point would she attempt a virtual “group hug”. It is not that I am not a happy person. In fact, a couple of years ago I announced to the world that my New Year’s resolution was going to be that I was going to become a “beacon of light”. My friends even mounted a high-powered flashlight onto a hardhat, which was bedazzled with the words “Beacon of Light” to assist me with my resolution. With one click, I could illuminate the world around me!

What I am saying, is that I am not above sprinkling sunshine or being a beacon of light….it’s just that I was strangely uncomfortable with her terminology. I was squirming in my seat by her “new age” language…heck I thought this was a professional webinar.

Squirming aside, I understood what she was trying to say. Remembering to “sprinkle sunshine” equates to giving that little bit extra. Sunshine sprinkling is anticipating the needs of your guests and going one step beyond that.

For example, having a staffed coat check at your event is a nice touch and is appreciated by your guests. How can we go one step further? Have a lint roller brush handy to give the jacket a once over before hanging it up. You may even check the buttons on the jacket to see if they are affixed securely. A loose button could be attended to in moments, and your guest would feel like royalty.

Here are some other examples where you can sprinkle some sunshine. Washrooms are often overlooked during events. You don’t hear a word about them until someone says to you, “Hey, the ladies washroom is out of paper towel”. By having a washroom attendant during the busiest hours (during coffee breaks and after sessions) you can ensure that your guests are using a tidy, well stocked powder room. I recommend having some fresh flowers on the vanity along with a basket or tray of items, like stain remover packets, or Bandaids, etc. Provide a pump mouthwash that has been diluted slightly with water, which is another bit of “sunshine”

Providing a shuttle service is a great perk during conferences and events. It helps to minimize the carbon footprint, and the shuttles can be scheduled to arrive and depart at the hotels and the conference site. You can kick it up one more notch, by providing a “Speedy Car” and a driver on site at the conference. The “Speedy Car” is an economical compact car available for attendee’s who need to quickly rush back to their hotel for a missing item. Providing this unexpected extra will certainly be appreciated and remembered.

My last “sunshine sprinkling” idea has to do with those out of town guests who are staying at a local hotel where the conference has arranged a room block. Leave a welcoming message on their room phone saying something like, “Welcome to the XYZ Conference. We look forward to seeing you at the reception this evening, which begins at 8:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Round Room. A shuttle schedule can be found at the hotel front desk”. Immediately, they feel special and welcomed. You have also reminded them of the reception and advised them of the shuttle service. (This idea came via Ignite Magazine). You have set the tone for the attendee and you haven’t even met them! Bravo!

Whatever you call it, whether it be “sprinkling sunshine” or just going that extra mile, it is really important for you to anticipate your attendee’s needs and then go that one extra step. You will win a customer/client/friend/member for life and they certainly will leave with a pleasant memory of your community and organization.



Anonymous said...

Love it!

The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...

"Anonymous", I am glad you loved the post! Next time, leave your name - I don't bite....I promise LOL


Chad Bordes said...

Fantastic article and true. I work in the event planning industry as well as consulting with companies outside the industry and I cannot stress how strong a factor good customer service will become in the next years. If you are not already practicing it, you may be too late.

Chad Bordes

Traci Browne said...

What great ideas. I think I would pass out if either one of those two things happened at the coat check...and I would be eternally grateful as the owner of way too many pets and no ability to sew.

I would like to throw in another suggestion for out of town guests. I often arrive at the hotel at an odd time. Not quite lunch, not quite dinner. I'm in need of fresh air and a walk but not a huge involved outing. Just a short note with suggestions for a couple local spots that serve a good lunch/sandwich no matter what the time would be very welcome.

The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...

Thanks for your comments Chad. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Price used to be the deciding factor, but I believe that customers are now associating a price value for good customer service and are willing to pay more for it.


The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...


As a pet owner myself, I would be grateful as well. By placing ourselves in our attendee/guest shoes, we can imagine what we would like to see/receive and then make that happen for our guest.

I love the idea of the short note with suggestions for a quick bite!

Would love to hear more about those extra little things that make a world of difference!