5 Highly Effective Crowd Control Techniques
When crowds are “controlled” everyone can enjoy themselves and a business or event can be more successful. That’s why, in any venue – stadium or arena, conference center or airport, mall or amusement park – crowd control techniques play a vital role.
Here are five techniques that should be considered and incorporated into an effective crowd control management plan:
1. Wayfinding Optimization
A frequent visitor to an establishment or venue will feel comfortable finding their way. But newcomers are simply unfamiliar with what’s what and what’s where. Leave nothing to chance. Design and optimize your wayfinding approach for the first-timer and remember that whether it’s their first time or their fiftieth time, you can’t go wrong by making the directions clear.
Wayfinding is enhanced with directional and informational signage to make the way clear. Post-top signs can easily attach to a stanchion, allowing you to define a pathway and offer instruction at the same time. Meanwhile, digital signage allows for quick and easy alterations to changing details like train times. And don’t forget to clearly mark established areas – checkouts, seating areas, waiting lounges, and so on – so people know when they’ve arrived at their desired destination.
2. Queue Management
People must wait in line to get into the parking lot (and out of it), to get their tickets, to purchase concessions, to enter a building, to get to their seat… Lines are inevitable, but they don’t have to be painful. Because waiting in line can cause tension among a large group of impatient, tired, or excited people, crowd control issues can easily arise if queuing is not handled properly.
Distraction is always a good solution to help people forget that they’re waiting. Offer in-line entertainment, such as highlight reels or promotional videos to keep the crowd occupied. Incorporate in-line merchandise, such as t-shirts or magnets to provide the type of distraction that also boosts sales.
And if you’re anticipating heavy or rowdy crowds, consider barriers that are not easily shifted, moved, or toppled. Invest in posts that have a strong magnetic base or opt for mounts that are permanently drilled into the ground but which allow for the removal of crowd control stanchions when they are not necessary.
3. Temporary Closures
Inevitably there will be sections or areas of a facility that need to be closed off, whether for routine maintenance, cleaning, or renovation. The way you handle such temporary closures can impact crowd control and because the closure is not expected, it often requires a higher level of “policing” than the rest of a venue. It’s crucial to make sure a temporary shift is clearly marked and that alternate routes or instructions are offered.
Signage combined with physical barriers, such as wall-mounted retractable belts, post and panel barricades, swing gates, or portable stanchions, provide a clear message to deter crowds from going where they shouldn’t.
4. Rapid Deployment
There are expected ebbs and flows of customers and guests, and then there is the unexpected. It’s a facility manager’s job to plan and be prepared for the most basic blip and the most outlandish possible occurrence.
It’s halftime and the toilets have overflowed in the main bathroom – how do you keep people out? A kid lost his lunch on the roller coaster during July Fourth weekend – how do you keep the crowd at bay? With rapid-to-deploy crowd control solutions on hand, staff members are able to make clear what’s happening, why something is not operating as expected, and when it will again be available. Store your rapid-deployment tools in various locations throughout the facility so supplies are easily and quickly accessed at a moment’s notice.
Read our recent blog post on rapid deployment solutions for more tips.
5. Customer Flow Management
To truly keep crowds under your control, it’s essential to have solutions in place throughout your entire facility so people continue to move in the right direction whether they’re coming in, going out, or making their way around inside.
Velvet ropes are a subtle and sophisticated way to guide a subdued crowd, say at a benefit, opera, or museum event. Belts and stanchions with post-top signage and banners can keep the rowdy amusement park crowds in some semblance of order. When you can keep customers moving in whatever direction they wish to go – or whatever direction they’re “supposed” to go – you can temper crowd frenzy and maintain a well-oiled, highly controlled environment that is prepared for the smallest glitch or biggest disaster.