Having an Attendee Services Lounge Can Truly Enhance Your Next Meeting

by Devin Carver , October 19th, 2018

No more cold meeting check-ins! That’s our philosophy at Bishop-McCann, and since we’ve been implementing attendee services lounges at corporate meetings, we are seeing a big shift in the way annual meetings are being viewed by employees and leadership alike.

In true concierge lounge style, we remove the hospitality desks and bring in communal tables and soft seating. We not only work to remove the counter between the attendees and the meeting staff, but we also provide a personal experience for attendees to unwind, get information, and visit with coworkers.

From the moment the attendee enters the attendee services lounge, a staff greeter approaches and works with that person one-on-one, answering questions and getting them checked in. This is the first point of contact for each meeting attendee, and they are given the highest personal attention. We’ve seen that attendees prefer this approach because it’s friendlier and more engaging. They don’t have to wait in line for someone to find their information and check them in. The staff greeter usually asks for the attendee’s name, and then a staff runner goes behind the wall to bring out the attendee’s meeting information. The main thing to note with this approach is that as a meeting planner, you need to make sure you have the meeting fully staffed. That way, each attendee receives the same personal attention, without any wait time. We have found hiring local destination management company (DMC) staff for the main arrival day eliminates being over staffed the rest of the week.

The second part of any good attendee services lounge includes providing meeting attendees with a place they can go to get any assistance they might need and take a break from the hurried pace of the meeting. Recently, we created an area we called “the village.” The village included lounge seating, chair massages, manicures, snacks, and a host of other interesting things to do while attendees were not in sessions. As a result, the village became the destination for attendees to visit. Many meeting areas tend to be formal, but by removing that formality, attendees will want to be in the space—even if it’s just to take a minute to sit down and talk with coworkers. The key is to anticipate the attendees’ needs upfront, and then supply them with everything that they may want or need as part of the lounge experience. It’s providing the highest customer service possible.

Promoting the attendee services lounge before the meeting and throughout the meeting in the app was also important to the success of the overall concept. Attendees knew it was an additional destination, and that it was filled with activities they might enjoy. According to a few individuals, having this area made an annual meeting feel very different than it had in years past, and it was a welcome change.