Kiss and hug events and making arrival happy

October 13, 2017


Dana’s Meeting Minutes is based on the Meeting Planning Triangle©. Click here for a link.

Make arrival fun! Let attendees know you’re glad they are there and are about to have a great experience.



Tip #1

Make checking in simple

  • Every registrar must be happy, well-informed, kind, and patient. Volunteer help may sound like a good value until your line is backed up because the volunteer doesn’t know what the Marketing Committee is, let alone its meeting location.

  • Organize your registrant packets in alpha order by last name. Not by registrant type. Not by company. Alpha by last name is the fastest and easiest to explain to registrants.

  • Review the contents of the registrant envelope to confirm ticket purchases, etc. Distribute the program book separately so they don’t have to dig for it.

Tip #2

Warm them up

  • Instead of kicking off with a fixed program, start with a kiss and hug event—the one where everyone warmly greets their once-a-year friends. Follow it immediately with your keynote or opening event.

  • This starts the connecting immediately. Include a mixer and you’ll also foster new connections.

  • This soft start allows for everyone to arrive at their convenience so you can start the first event on time.

Tip #3


  • Ensure everyone knows you’re in the house and happy to have them. Post welcome signs at key traffic hubs, not just at the front door. Include comments that will make them smile, e.g. Welcome! You’re about to be amazed.

  • Session signage should be readable from a distance. Ask someone with bifocals to read it from a distance. (No discrimination here; just being practical. That, plus first-hand experience.)

  • Use hotel signage so your schedule is easily accessible. Ask to proof the text the hotel displays. They often post booking times, not event times.

  • Post a sign each day with a greeting and list of highlights. We’re all disoriented at a convention. Example:


(no bad luck for us!)

Morning: breakfast and sessions

Lunch: in the ballroom

Afternoon: sessions and exhibits

Night: banquet off site

Have a great day!



Personalize giveaways

  • Offer fun name badge ribbons (see below).

  • Invite attendees to choose their giveaway. Split your budget to purchase two or three different items; ask sponsors and exhibitors to provide a limited number of items; and use some of your f&b budget to include snacks. Staff a kiosk away from the reg desk where each person chooses one, two, or three, depending on your budget and supply.

  • Offer a choice of tote bag, each a different style, e.g. briefcase style and bag with pockets. Same colors, same logo.


Get fun name badge ribbons from PC Nametag, Marco Promos, Name Badge Productions, or Campus Marketing Specialists, which had the most selection, featuring fresher titles with more diversity. You can also customize some specific to your group.


Information disclaimer: WANT MORE? references do not imply an endorsement for any company, product, or service.




Dana L. Saal, CMP, CAE, has been planning meetings for associations for more than 30 years. She recently decided that coaching meeting planners is now more fun than proofing BEOs, counting coffee cups and writing scripts. If you think a bit of coaching could improve your meeting, send a message via her website!

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