Tips Tuesday: 27 Creative Ways to Impress Event VIPs
Experienced event planners know that VIPs get special treatment often that the bar for great experiences is fairly high. The good news is there are lots of creative ways to impress and manage your event VIPs, all while staying within your budget. Here we explore some VIP gift, experience, and marketing ideas to inspire your next event.
Explore VIP Management Ideas
From check-in to follow up, we’ve got every stage of your event timeline covered with these ideas to impress VIPs every step of the way.
1. Treat VIPs to private concierge service.
When it comes to VIP concierge service at events, the options are endless. From hand-delivering additional event goodies before opening day to booking out tennis courts for some post event fun, there’s really no limit to what you can offer VIPs.
2. Offer complimentary on-site storage for personal items.
You might have to hire additional event staff to check in belongings and keep an eye on things. But as long as you have the space to organize everything and the tools (a lock for the door, tickets with tearaway stubs, and hangers) to do so, this tip should make the entire event experience more comfortable and convenient for VIPs.
3. Host a spa lounge.
There are plenty of mobile spa services (like this one) that will show up when and where you tell them to then take care of the rest. Or, if you have a particular salon or brand in mind, you can always contact them about a partnership. This option works best for local events, where there’s a greater chance that guests who enjoyed the services will still be around after the event is over to go and enjoy their business again.
4. Give out portable electronic device chargers.
If you’d like to give out something simple with your event branding on it, consider using a customizable power bank. Or if you’d like to offer something a little more special (and unbranded), consider handing out any one of these best portable chargers to your event VIPs.
5. Rent nap pods.
Companies like Google and NASA already promote power napping with their in-office sleep pods. Why not treat your VIPs to the same luxury? While rentals might put a ding in your event budget, you can also try hosting a dedicated quiet room complete with floor mats, dimmed lighting, and an essential oil diffuser.
6. Add massage or facial vouchers to their goodie bags.
If you want to include a spa gift card as a take home gift, you can purchase them in bulk from GiftCards.com. If you have an especially large guest list, try giving them each one or two travel-sized luxury face or body products instead.
7. Create a completely separate event just for VIPs.
Pre-show networking dinners, private one-on-ones with event guest speakers, and post-event cocktail hours are all great ways to add one more special experience for your esteemed guests.
8. Make a networking group for them on social media.
Use LinkedIn or whatever social media platform your audience already frequents to start a private, invite-only group. Encourage meaningful interactions and provide exclusive, industry related content like free eBooks on hot topics or special live streams with industry influencers.
9. Hire a private chef or bartender for the VIP rest area.
Have them serve up delicious treats, offer a quick cooking demonstration, and mingle with the crowd. You don’t have to serve a full meal but make sure you do plan a menu that compliments or elevates the other food and beverage options at the main event.
10. Pass out tickets to the main event’s most anticipated attraction.
Once your event schedule has been finalized, it should be clear which headlining event is getting the most buzz. Present event VIPs with complimentary tickets and the best seats in the house. Have them stay after to do a private Q&A with the presenter.
11. Host a complimentary daycare with kid’s craft classes and snacks.
Experts suggest that corporate events hoping to include child care should ensure that the rest of their event reflects family-friendly values. Also, hire CPR and First Aid certified staffers, offer themed experiences like Pirates or Carnival, and provide plenty of organized activities like dance classes and movie time.
12. Provide exclusive access to post event video content.
Videos like lecture recaps, trade show booth highlights, and never-before-seen speaker interviews can be sent in a post-event thank you email to VIPs.
13. Ask sponsors to help upgrade VIP attendee experiences.
Whether it’s funding a handful of the VIP tickets to give to extra special guests, offering some of their products in the VIP gift bags, or funding lounge area spaces, your sponsors can get additional exposure with this high ROI crowd.
14. Create a speakeasy lecture or special guest event.
Who doesn’t love a great secret event? Treat VIPs to a mystery party or experience only they will know about. Make sure that it’s either held onsite in a cleverly hidden location or within walking distance of your main event. That way, even the busiest among your VIPs will have one less obstacle for attending.
15. Give popular industry speakers and presenters access to VIP amenities.
Do your VIPs want to mix and mingle with featured lecturers? What better way to create organic networking opportunities by inviting them to take part in VIP amenities! This works especially well if you have a dedicated lounge, a bar, or even just a kickback area with device chargers and WiFi.
16. Streamline the event check in process for more fluid entrances.
When guests arrive, make sure to use a check in app or event services solution for a faster, more accurate entrance process. Make sure the assigned photographers snap the VIP’s photo so they can be easily identified by event staff during the day. Also, make sure your check in app offers notifications that will alert you and your team of who is arriving and when they step foot through the door.
17. Start a VIP newsletter that includes exclusive event ticket flash sales, free upgrades, and bonus gifts.
If your audience already responds well to email newsletter marketing, step it up a notch with a dedicated version that caters to premium subscribers.
18. Host a mini hair styling pop up the morning of the event.
Set up a glamour station complete with professional stylists and offer quick blow dries for the ladies and beard trims for the men. Feeling fresh and looking their best will instantly put VIPs in a great mood and set the tone for the rest of their event experience. Or, at the very least, provide disposable hair styling tools in the bathrooms so guests can do their own little touch ups as needed.
19. Automatically enter all VIPs into luxury prize giveaways.
Just make sure you remember to communicate with them, letting them know what they’ve been entered into, the value of the entry itself, and how they will be notified if their name is drawn. And, if they do win, make sure you make the prize collecting process as simple as possible by shipping it to their homes or offering something that can be transferred digitally.
20. Arrange for a bonus class, workshop, or local tour.
Salsa lesson, pottery demo, or walking food tour anyone? If you have event attendees traveling from out of town, they’ll really appreciate the opportunity to take a break from work with something free and fun.
21. Schedule one-on-one time between event VIPs and industry influencers.
We’ve mentioned a few ways to do this already. But if you have a lot of guests and not a lot of time, try holding a speed meeting style event where influencers sit at tables and VIPs get a chance to rotate around the room at ten minute intervals.
22. Offer them a free VIP upgrade for next year’s event if they purchase admission tickets now.
Start your super early bird sales by giving them the opportunity to book the same package again now. With this year’s great experiences fresh in their mind, the value will be irrefutable. Securely store their card information in your event sales software for a faster check out process as well.
23. Provide clear venue signage and itineraries so VIPs always know what’s going on and where to go.
This often overlooked detail usually serves as the first impression for event VIPs, so make sure your directions are large, clear, and easy to spot if guests don’t know what they’re looking for. If your venue is particularly large, you can even offer golf cart or walking escorts to take them from the main entrance to the VIP area.
24. Personalize swag bags with a handwritten thank you card and a message specifically for them.
You want to make sure that your VIPs feel appreciated for more than just what they can contribute financially, which is why a simple tip like this one is actually quite powerful. In the note itself, reference their history with your brand, anything they’ve personally mentioned about the event to you or on social media, and make a note of any personal event goals they’ve shared plus how your VIP activities will help them achieve it.
25. Serve VIPs special meals.
And make sure everyone has their menu preferences and dietary restrictions well documented in a system like Social Tables that will help get your event caterers and servers on the same page without missing a beat.
26. Offer a pop-up professional headshot experience.
Send VIPs home with a brand new LinkedIn or company website photo. Hire a professional photographer and borrow or provide a solid, universally flattering backdrop like textured white, light gray, or a faux brick pattern. You can even include your event logo – just make sure that it’s located in a part of the frame that VIPs could later crop out if they wanted to.
27. Give VIPs special parking spaces and rideshare drop off areas.
One thing about VIPs you have to know is that convenience is a premium they can all appreciate. Coordinate with a local taxi service or the corporate department of the area’s most popular rideshare apps to get the appropriate signage, score some group discount codes, and make sure they know your event will require more drivers on the road than they might usually have.
Treat your VIP guests extra special with even more event ideas!
Use one of these new social media platforms to engage your guests before or after the event. Or find more ways to manage events with celebrities during our upcoming webinar. And if networking is a major draw for your VIPs, make sure you incorporate a few of these tips as well.