The human side to access control systems at events

Managing a high profile events call for strict access control. Many VIP-studded events – especially those in the public eye – attract guests who aren’t invited, which means that military-esque guest list management is crucial.

As an event manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of your guests at all times.

If you’re making use of guest management software, this is a whole lot easier to do. Our RSVP software makes it explicitly clear who’s invited and who’s not, which not only streamlines the registration process, but ensures that the safety of your guests isn’t compromised. That said, this process isn’t always as straightforward as you’d like it to be. You need to follow protocol as best as you can, but there are exceptions that require the right balance of discernment and compassion.

Madiba’s 90th birthday was one such example – a VIP affair comprising of 500 guests – that attracted the attention of thousands of South Africans.

Tata was the father of a nation reborn, whose selfless approach to re-building a country divided captured the hearts of millions of South Africans. As you can imagine, his 90th birthday was filled with VIPs, comprising of government officials and international guests. The day wasn’t just a celebration of his birthday, but of his 10th anniversary to Graça Machel too.  Unsurprisingly, the nature of this event meant that many people wanted to attend, but unfortunately, weren’t on the guest list.

Even when strict access control systems are in place, some situations call for an exception to the rule.

Umtata is a 45 minute drive from Johannesburg, and a seven hour walk. Who would walk that sort of distance? As it turns out, grateful citizens who wanted to share in Madiba’s big day.

On the morning of the event, an old man and his granddaughter arrived at the venue. They had walked all the way from Umtata, in their Sunday best, bringing along a gift for their hero. Unfortunately, they assumed that they would be allowed in, having no idea that this celebration was such a high profile event. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, we informed Mr Mandela’s handlers of these unexpected guests. Upon hearing their story, Madiba instructed us to bring the little girl to him – staying true to his gentle and generous spirit that made him the legend he was. We took her in, where Madiba sat her on his lap – a moment that this young girl will remember for the rest of her life.

This story is a prime example of the importance of striking a balance between the ‘human’ side of an event, and event protocol.

Our RSVP software made it very clear who was invited and who wasn’t. Many more people arrived that day, some claiming to be invited. While many people had to be turned away from the event, we made an exception for the little girl who’d made the pilgrimage with her grandfather. Access control systems – like ours – regulate guest lists at high-profile events like Madiba’s birthday. While you can equip yourself with this technology, excelling as an event manager calls for an ability to navigate the human side of an event too.

Find out more about how our event management software can assist you in managing high-profile events here. Alternatively, give us a call, or drop us an email.