It doesn’t matter how much marketing hype you’ve built up for your next event – nothing can derail it faster than long lines. We all know the physical and mental pains of waiting in queues that never seem to budge. It’s uncomfortable and feels like a waste of time.
With a virtual queue management system, you can get rid of physical lines at your event by using digital lines. Your visitors will be able join queues with their phones and do anything while they wait.
Instead of standing around, attendees can partake in other aspects of your event. It’s a win-win for everybody: your visitors don’t waste time waiting, they get to experience more of what you have on offer, and you earn additional opportunities to make an impact or drive revenue.
What’s a virtual event queue?
With advancements in technology, you can offer guests the benefits of a virtual queue at any event. It's a reprieve from the drawbacks of physical lines. From an organizer’s perspective, virtual queues make your guests happy while providing an easy way for you to control crowds and manage visitor flow.
A virtual queue allows your attendees to join an online waitlist and spend their time however they’d like as they wait. While waiting in a virtual queue, visitors can fill out necessary forms, explore other parts of your event, or even leave the premises knowing they’ll get an update once it’s their turn.
Learn more: What are virtual queues?
Virtual queues are especially helpful when it comes to events. Waiting in long queues to get into events such as festivals, concerts, amusement parks, or sporting events has never been fun. And once you’re in, you want to spend all of your time enjoying what the event has to offer – not standing around in lines all day. Even a short wait can sour a guest’s mood and impact satisfaction rates.
A virtual event queue alleviates the frustration imposed on your guests by physical lines. All queue management at your event can be streamlined, relieving stress for your customers, you, and your event team.
Here are five essential ways an event queue management system will make your next event an absolute hit.
#1 Plan ahead: Set up in the weeks before
Before you can launch your virtual queues, you need to pinpoint all of the places that your attendees might have to wait. You can do this by assessing the visitor flow at all aspects of your event and by constructing visitor journey maps. Be sure to account for entry, individual event sessions, special activities, etc.
Related: What is Customer Flow?
Once you identify where attendees will need to wait, you can set up different virtual queues. With a virtual event queue management system like Waitwhile, all setup can be done in a centralized platform.
A virtual queue also gives you flexibility based on capacity. Crowds may not be constant throughout the day, so you can set capacity limitations. Your queue management system will automatically start a virtual waitlist as soon as an individual event session or the event reaches capacity.
Some other aspects you'll want to nail down in the weeks leading up to your event are:
- The floorplan and space within the venue
- Finalization of presenters and performers
- Health and safety standards
- Logistics such as food service, ticketing, customer flow, and floor traffic timing
- Data coverage and WiFi availability
Finalizing as much information as possible in the weeks leading up to the event will allow your queue management system to work for you and help you deliver a seamless experience for your visitors.
#2 Give visitors an easy way to queue and receive updates
Virtual queues are easy to join with phones. If you’re using Waitwhile, your visitors won’t have to download any additional apps on their phone – they can join a queue through a browser or even by texting (you get to choose). You can set up QR codes and other signage at key access points to give your visitors instructions.
Because virtual queues are, well, virtual, you’ll want to make sure that you have easy-to-access WiFi throughout your venue, especially if cell phone reception is spotty.
Once a guest joins a virtual queue, they’ll receive regular status updates. You’ll also open up a 2-way communication channel, so you can text or email back and forth to relay important information.
When a lot of attendees are waiting in line, they’ll inevitably have questions or concerns that your staff will be struggling to manage. Queue management systems like Waitwhile allow you to put your operations on autopilot: wait time estimates are generated automatically, critical information can be shown on self check-in pages, and guests can easily update you on delays or cancellations on their end via text message.
#3 Know what is happening at all times
Events are complicated and layered: they’re often packed with diverse sessions or attractions, many of which are happening at the same time. Managing every aspect from moment to moment can be challenging.
A virtual queue management system unlocks real-time monitoring of all event activity and visitor flow, so you can ensure everything runs smoothly. Analytics dashboards let you see what’s happening at a glance, and alert event staff to issues like bottlenecks and abnormally long wait times as they happen.
This data then empowers your management team to make in-the-moment adjustments and pivots to unclog flow and improve visitor experience.
#4 Make the wait worthwhile
Believe it or not, a lot of psychological research has been done around the issue of waiting. There’s even an entire field devoted to it: Queuing Theory.
The consensus is clear – waiting is universally despised. It’s even been called “a timeless form of torture.”
Here are some relevant highlights from this research:
- Standing in a physical line (even with distractions) makes the wait feel longer. This is known as “unoccupied time,” and is burdensome. With a virtual queue, you can redirect your visitors to another activity or give them freedom to do whatever they want. This turns the unoccupied time into “occupied time,” making the wait feel shorter – or like there’s no wait at all.
- People value transparency. Providing wait time estimates decreases average wait times and increases visitor satisfaction.
- Regular updates decrease queue abandonment and increase overall satisfaction.
- Pessimistic wait estimates – or overestimating wait times – have a positive effect on guests’ experience.
The best part of a virtual queue management system is that it’s built to automatically incorporate all of these insights. According to a 2021 study, virtual queues were found to reduce customer complaints by nearly 25% and increase positive online ratings by 11%.
#5 Use “thanks” as a marketing strategy
Your visitors’ experience doesn't end once the event is over; there's always the next event.
A virtual queue management system allows you to not only keep track of all of your visitors, but also to segment and use the data for marketing campaigns. You can track who signed up, where they went, how long they waited, and everything else that's important to you. This information allows you to individualize future marketing initiatives.
When all is said and done, you can reach out to your visitors through email or SMS, thanking them for their attendance. This is a great opportunity, too, to solicit feedback and generate public reviews.