One thing that you don't know about me?
I'm always late.
Which, as an event planner? Not a great trait to possess (I'm working on it!).
However, as a person that's always late, I've learned a thing or two over the years about noticing when a business or municipality or event planner caters to the millions of people out there just like me.
People will be late to your event. They will be late both intentionally and unintentionally. They will also be mad about the weather, they'll be stressed because they won't know what to expect, they'll be pissed that their babysitter was late, and they'll be self-conscious because they're not sure of what the attire was. (They may also be perfectly happy, excited, and content, but plan for the worst, and it'll be the best, right?)
Here are a few barriers that could ruin their experience AND their perception of your event, and also, HOW to mitigate their discomfort to turn their negative experience into a positive one.
Not providing directions
Provide people with the best directions you can from the most major road you can. Also give them subways and public transportation options (at least the closest subways and bus stops). Yes, they can Google it, or Google map it, but go the extra mile, do the research for them, and it'll save them tons of energy trying to find it on a Google map.
Bonus: Be sure to also include "insider tips" like which street is best to enter on, or whether or not the event is on a different floor than the ground level.
Not having any parking options
Please tell people where to park. There's nothing that frustrates me more when I get to an event than me showing up to the front door and realizing parking is 10 minutes away, or I need to go somewhere else to park. Be up front so that people can add the inevitable delay of parking into their schedules.
Bonus: Add the time it will take for them to park ("Parking is sort of far away, so add 10 minutes onto your trip schedule") and they'll love you forever!
You need to have volunteers for your event. You need to have someone standing at all major points/intersections to help guide people to their new sections and answer any questions they may have. Volunteers for events are usually really easy to find (just bribe them with a free event ticket!).
Bonus: Find someone who is EXTREMELY friendly and wants to serve people. Servers, customer service reps, concierges...mine your friends' talents and pick someone who will actually ask someone who is looking lost how they can help them, instead of waiting for your attendees to reach out and ask a question.
Delayed start time
A five minute grace period is acceptable, but anything beyond that? Just don't. Start on time.
Bonus: Add extra "reserved" seating at the back of the room so those latecomers (me!) can slide in relatively unnoticed. Make sure you or a volunteer takes the reserved seating signs off once your seminar has started though, as if people see the words "reserved" they'll just stand in the back.
No coat check
This one is sort of weather dependent, but it is COMPLETELY worth it to spend $30 to rent a coat check if it's raining/snowing/freezing outside so that people don't have to throw their coats all over the room.
Bonus: Nothing steals my heart faster at an event than someone checking my things in for me. Makes me feel like royalty.