THE EVENT PLANNER’S QUEUE MANAGEMENT PRIMER

A coordinator can work around the clock to create the perfect event, but a single line formation can ruin everything if it isn’t managed properly. After all, long lines increase stress and decrease the amount of money an event can generate.

For large-scale events especially, orderly and efficient lines are a high priority. So, we’ve put together this queue management primer. Handy for experienced coordinators or first-time planners, this article provides expert advice – fashioned from our 10-plus years of experience in the field –  on how to keep your event lines flowing.

The Benefits of a Serpentine Line

Venues from Super Bowl hosts to airports to rock concert employ serpentine lines. By creating an effective serpentine system, you can prevent guest frustration stemming from:

Disorder:

A clear entry to a serpentine line and firm boundaries around it make line-cutting difficult. This relieves guest anxiety, which has been shown to spike if they feel others are getting ahead as they wait patiently.

Expectations:

Studies show people who have an idea about their wait time are more patient. In a serpentine line situation, you can post estimated wait times at every turn. This is one secret to Disney’s line management success.

Varying line speed:

From toll booths to grocery stores, one of the biggest frustrations about lines develops if customers have a choice and they pick the “wrong one.” A serpentine line may not move faster than a collection of single lines, but it provides a better semblance of fairness.

HOW SHOULD YOU GO ABOUT CREATING YOUR SERPENTINE LINE? IT DEPENDS ON YOUR EVENT.

How should you go about creating your serpentine line?
It depends on your event.
We recommend steel barricades for:

  • Sporting Events
  • Parades
  • Races such as 5Ks & Marathons
  • Concerts
  • Festivals

Steel barricades may sound unwieldy, but they are actually lightweight and re-configurable. They make excellent serpentine lines because of the formidable barriers they create.

If you’re hosting an event at one of the following locations, we recommend belt stanchions:

  • Banks
  • Retail Outlets
  • Expo Centers
  • Hotels & Casinos

Belt stanchions consist of upright posts with a retractable belt in between. They create effective line organization and entry barriers to restricted areas. They also help you to direct crowds in a particular direction, thus keeping the crowd from spreading out and becoming unmanageable.

LINE QUEUES AS ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES

In the early 1900s, New York City was rife with line rage. People who worked in office tower lobbies and had to crowd together and wait for elevators. Obviously, tearing down the buildings to build new elevators would not solve the problem quickly, so building owners invented ways to entertain their crowds. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors were particularly effective. They caused distractions and even some flirting, which made the waits fly by.

While times have changed, the ability of distraction to make waiting bearable has not. Enter the key benefit of in-line advertising. Not only does it provide more opportunities for event sponsors to promote their brands, but it provides conversation pieces and distractions for the guests. Advertising can be as complex and expensive as a series of flat-screen tv videos, or as simple as framed children’s art from a local charity.

EMBRACE THE LIGHTING CHALLENGES

Outdoor events that stay open past sundown require an extra layer of planning: lighting. This crucial element provides safety for guests and the desired tone/ambiance for the event. At the planning stage, you ensure there will be enough lighting towers and generators to light the event effectively. In addition, light coordination should include:

  • Planning to hide hazardous cables
  • Ensuring the venue has an adequate power supply
  • Making sure the lights provide the desired ambiance

Lighting is especially important for areas where queues develop. Proper lighting will promote comfort and patience; poor lighting will increase guest anxiety.

THE LINE IS JUST THE BEGINNING

Using turnstiles is a proven solution for keeping crowds organized and keeping track of the guest count. They also provide a vital means of assisting security screening before entering secure areas.

Note: Epic Solutions is one of the few companies in the nation that offers waist high turnstile rentals to help control event access.

After crowds get through the turnstiles, bottlenecks can form as people decide where to go. So as you plan your event, make sure the:

  • Tents easily identifiable
  • Individual tents have appropriate queue systems
  • Signage is clear and accurate in multiple languages (if necessary)
  • Exits are well marked
  • System is in place for easy re-entry (bracelets, stamps, badges, etc.)

Addressing these post entry issues will help your event stay safe and effective.

Epic Solutions Can Help with Your Event Management

Large-scale events are stressful on coordinators, too. With so much happening at once, it is easy to let details – both big and small – slip through the cracks. We understand how important it is to have everything you need to get the job done and we can help provide the equipment for a successful event. This includes a range of signage, lighting, and queue management solutions. We also provide equipment sourcing, so if we don’t carry the equipment you are looking for at our local yard, we guarantee we will find it for you.

Contact us if you have questions about this article or need event coordination assistance.