I'm writing this from a chair in the back of a large banquet hall outside of Chicago. My son is here for the Regional Qualifier Yu-Gi-Oh Card Game Tournament. Registration opened at 8:30am (and he was first in line - made getting up at 4am worth it). The tournament was supposed to start at 10am. It is 11:35am as I type this and they just announced first round pairings.
They obviously did not plan for 618 registrants (and the hundreds they turned away). Oh, they have the room and the tables for 618. But they only had one security person at the front door checking backpacks and only five stations to check their playing decks. (update: first round started at 11:45am)
And the lone concessions stand is struggling to keep up with feeding 600 plus hungry young men (and a handful of women).
Someone missed the boat.
I have full confidence that the tournament will go well (if late). But the beginning sure could have been planned better.
Most of us get the event itself right. Most of us plan for success of the event. But did you plan for the registration? Did you plan for what to do when the event attendees arrive? Did you plan for that success? Did you plan to make sure that the pre-event plans go smoothly? Did you set up early and have enough people on hand to handle all the tasks (including a runner to go get the stuff you forgot)?
The beginning sets the stage for the success of the event. Do the beginning right and your guests will be tweeting and texting their friends to get down there. Do it wrong and they'll be sending a completely different message. Make sure you plan the arrival just as well as you plan the event.
Who says Yu-Gi-Oh isn't educational?
PS Remember that branding is every single interaction your customer has with your business PLUS how they feel about it. Manage those interactions and you control the feelings.