Whether you manage an event space, arena, or stadium, on the day of your event, you’re focused on making sure your guests are enjoying themselves. To do so, you have the responsibility to ensure that health and safety risks are properly managed for all people on your property, including staff, contractors, and guests.
Crowd management—also known as crowd control—is the practice of managing large crowds to prevent crowd crushes, fights involving drunk and disorderly people, and riots.
Successful crowd management begins with the foundation of three primary strategies: enhanced communication, task management, and leveraged data to make informed decisions.
Why are crowd management strategies important?
“Mob mentality” is the common phrase applied to the phenomenon of an individual’s own perceptions being overridden when they find themselves in large crowds. Depending on the crowd, behavior can become irrational and spontaneous, potentially leading to dangerous outcomes for guests and employees.
Developing crowd management strategies can help to ensure that large gatherings of people are controlled in an orderly and problem-free manner. Without crowd management, events can be put at high risk, which may result in injury, destruction of property, and other emergencies.
To implement a successful crowd management strategy, you should consider:
- Assessed risks
- Emergency protocols
- Traffic measures
- Risk mitigation efforts
Maybe most importantly, your plan needs to remain flexible to address the specific situations that arise. Flexibility is only possible when you establish the following three crowd management strategies as your foundation.
Strategy 1: Enhance communication.
Nothing works without effective communication with patrons and employees. If you’re not communicating through multiple channels, you can’t gain valuable insight at the speed you need to resolve a fight, riot, or other related incident.
You can effectively communicate with crowds through:
1. Instant Messaging
Sending an instant message—either as an SMS (text) message, shortcode, or through a mobile messaging platform such as WhatsApp—is proven to be one of the most effective ways to quickly communicate with a member of your team. Why? It’s faster than a phone call (and much faster than submitting a request through a web form).
With more than 2 billion users on the platform (and projected to continue growing), WhatsApp integration is essential for any instant messaging software on your list. Incorporating it into your communication tools allows you to reach a much wider audience than if you were to communicate solely through standard SMS.
One of the best ways to manage crowd flow is to communicate with your guests through signage. Why? As they move through the facility, instead of looking down at their phones and potentially running into others, they can simply find the information they are looking for on a sign.
Put important information in key locations so that your guests can find a map, restroom, seating, food and beverages, and exits.
Make sure to include QR codes so guests can bring this information with them or access more information than the signage space allows.
3. Live Mapping
Live mapping software allows you to see a real-time map of your venue, which can be useful for a variety of purposes, including:
- Monitoring crowd flow and identifying bottlenecks
- Directing event staff to areas where they are needed most
Using this information, you can improve the event layout, plan future events, and better monitor areas where incidents occur more frequently.
Strategy 2: Perfect task management.
If a crowd becomes unmanageable, dispatch the proper personnel immediately using a task management process:
- Scheduled and automatic tasks: When large crowds are expected on event day, your personnel are located in the areas where more crowd control is necessary.
- Workflows that immediately dispatch personnel: Ensure that resolutions happen as fast as possible by dispatching the proper personnel with just a few clicks.
- Maintain a detailed history of all incident records: For liability, utilize a system that documents responses, resolutions, and other necessary information.
- Documentation of protocols and standard operating procedures: Ensure that your employees have the proper training to respond quickly and effectively and that they adhere to protocols and standard operating procedures.
Strategy 3: Leverage data.
When you have software that collects data and makes data analysis easy, you no longer need to rely on gut feelings. Instead, you can transform that data into vital information for informing emergency plans.
Data can help you:
- Determine where staff are needed most on any given event day.
- Predict where different types of incidents are likely to occur next so you can proactively respond.
- Reduce your risk of liability through better documentation and tracking of incidents and responses.
To collect accurate historical data, you need the right systems to easily prompt and accept the required data. You need an integrated system.
Base crowd management strategies in 24/7 Software.
Successful crowd management begins with the foundation of three primary strategies: enhanced communication, task management, and leveraged data to make informed decisions. To accomplish this, you need an integrated system that supports these efforts.
Request a demo to see why we’re the operations management software of choice for some of the world’s leading leisure, hospitality, and entertainment venues.