Crowd control is an important part of any event: it helps to ensure the safety and satisfaction of event goers and therefore the overall success of your event. Generally speaking, the larger your event is, the more crucial crowd control becomes. But in the world of COVID-19, where we need to create more distance between people to maintain health safety, crowd control is a vital part of even the smallest of events. So even if your big events have been cancelled this year, it’s still a good idea to have a solid crowd control plan in place. It will come in handy for your smaller events now and make future large-scale events even more safe and successful.
1. Do a Risk Assessment
Early in the planning process, go through your event venue to make note of potential dangers so you can create a plan for them. Consider everything from minor equipment malfunctions to major emergencies like fires and natural disasters. For most events, movement is the main health and safety risk - you need to safely manage the motion of large groups of people as they enter, exit, and move through your venue during the event.
Estimate turnout for your event using RSVPs, ticket sales, or an invite list, or by tracking previous events that are similar. Having a rough attendance estimate will help you know how many staff to hire and what other resources you will need. Also, make sure your event site is accessible and safe for everyone, especially the elderly, people with disabilities, and children.
2. Have Contingency Plans in Place
No matter how well you plan, something is bound to go wrong at every event, so your crowd control plan needs to be flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions. Anticipate potential problems and have a plan in place for any contingency:
- Severe weather or even minor weather changes (especially for outdoor events)
- Equipment problems
- Health emergencies
and so on. Know how you will handle each problem and make sure your staff is well-trained to respond to every incident.
3. Communicate Effectively
Speaking of emergencies, make sure you have a communication plan in place in case of trouble. Whether you use walkie-talkies or a messaging app, you will need some way to quickly communicate among your staff. You will also need an efficient way to communicate to the whole crowd of event attendees - a PA system or mobile event app for instance. An informational booth is a good idea for larger events too - a central point where guests can go if questions or problems arise.
Use plenty of signage to direct your crowd to where they need to go. Make sure you have signs highlighting restrooms, smoking/non-smoking areas, staff-only rooms, potential hazards, and ticketing lines, and that your signs are large enough and placed so they are visible even in a crowd.
4. Use Crowd Control Barriers
Use ropes, stanchions, cones, barriers, or barricades to:
- Keep crowds contained
- Organize waiting lines
- Direct traffic flow
- Section off areas you don’t want event goers to access
Versare manufactures MP10 canvas barriers at 1.2m H as well as a full line of room dividers and partitions that are portable, secure, and easy to set up, tear down, and store - perfect for both indoor events!
5. Stagger Entrance Times or Offer VIP Tickets
To help keep lines shorter and event goers happier, consider staggering your entrance times when possible. This won’t work for every event, but for some it can be a helpful tactic. To keep it simple, include an entry time on each pre-sold ticket so attendees know when to arrive.
For concerts or sporting events, try dividing up long wait lines using VIP categories or special passes. Some event goers may be willing to pay a little more to avoid long lines and enjoy a few extra perks at the event. You could even consider rewarding long-time customers with VIP upgrades as a reward for their loyalty, or raffle off free VIP tickets as a marketing tool to advertise the event.
6. Review and Update Your Strategy
When your event ends, don’t just pack up and go home. Take the time to meet with your team to review what worked and what didn’t, go over any incidents or problems that arose and how they were handled, and gather ideas for next time. This doesn’t need to be a long meeting - even a few minutes will do. Take good notes so you can implement changes for future events.