• Lorie Grooms, CMP

planning for… special accommodations

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

Every attendee should feel welcome and accommodated at any event. How do you know what needs attendees have and how to prepare for their needs? Here are some steps to get started in making sure the event is ready for all attendees:

  1. Give people who are considering attending the event multiple options to contact the organizer with questions and requests prior to registering: phone, email, website, social media and mailing address.

  2. If food is included as part of the event, allow guests for indicate they have specific dietary needs or requests (eg. vegetarian, vegan, kosher, allergies, etc.).

  3. When guests are buying tickets or registering for the event, whether online, printed form, or via phone, include an option for guests to request special accommodations that may not be covered earlier in the registration process (eg. visual or hearing impairments, physical accessibility, medical concerns, etc.)

  4. Prior to the event, in communications to attendees, remind them that requests should be provided to the organizer prior to the event so every effort can be made to ensure a positive experience.

  5. Once the event starts, if a guest makes a request that was not known in advance, every effort should be made to accommodate the request. If the request cannot be fully accommodated, work with the guest to make their experience the most comfortable possible.

Anytime a guest has indicated they have a special accommodation, the organizer should acknowledge the request. Once acknowledged, the organizer should work with the venue, caterer, and other contractors to meet the request and let the guest know the outcome. Even if a request can’t be fully accommodated, communication with the attendee is critical.

If the request is something you haven’t encountered before or don’t know how to handle, make time to communicate with the attendee to find out:

  • What was done at an event where their needs were fully met.

  • An event experience that didn’t work well for their needs and why.

  • For food allergies, it may be best to determine what menu items the attendee can and would prefer to eat, instead of relying on a list of exclusions.

…until we meet again.


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