April 15, 2024
By Mike Fletcher

If you’ve ever been asked to produce an exclusive VIP event or experience, you’ll understand the pressures involved. These events need to provide unique and high-quality experiences. 

Once VIP guests step beyond the velvet rope, you’ll need to draw on all your event-planning skills to make them feel special and valued while providing an unforgettable experience.

It’s enough to give even the most experienced event professional sleepless nights. But don’t worry. Read on for some great ideas and inspiration on how to give VIPs the premier experience they deserve. 

What is a VIP event? 

VIP events offer bespoke, tailored experiences for invitees. They’re designed to impress and leave a lasting, positive impression. 

Guests may be high-net-worth individuals, loyal customers, incentive or competition winners, celebrities or influencers. They may be accustomed to having the red carpet rolled out for them, so not easily impressed. Or, they could be considering a major deal or renewing a contract, and their final decision may depend on the success of your event.

By creating personalised, high-end experiences for valued attendees, your VIP event could drive loyalty, advocacy, new business, or increased exposure.

21 VIP event ideas

1. Velvet rope treatment at an awards ceremony

Award ceremonies are a great way to gather people together and reward them for their hard work. 

If you have sponsors and stakeholders, consider creating an exclusive pre-event reception area for them and personalise it with sponsor logos or individually named corporate gifts. 

You could differentiate this VIP-only area by serving more expensive wines and by including bespoke entertainment such as a magician or circus performers.

Why not carry the exclusive experience into your black-tie awards dinner by creating a separate VIP entrance and adding little luxuries to VIP tables, such as high-end vodka and personalised table favours? 

If your awards ceremony has an after-party, ensure VIP guests are looked after with dedicated cocktail makers, table service, or drinks vouchers. 

2. Hospitality at a music or sporting event

By hosting VIP guests at a music or sporting spectacle you’ll ensure they have a unique experience that will live long in the memory.  

Stadiums and concert venues will work with you to create packages that range from canape or buffet-style receptions to high-end sit-down dinners. 

After your guests have been wined and dined, they’ll be directed to the best seats in the house to view the action or enjoy the show. 

To make their experience even more special, speak to your venue partner about having an ex-player come and mingle with your VIPs at half-time. Or organise a ‘meet and greet’ with the singer or band before they take to the stage. 

3. The ultimate private dining experience

There’s something special about being shown to a private area in a swanky restaurant to enjoy a hosted lunch or dinner. 

Top-end restaurants cater for VIP groups by offering intimate, private rooms or a ‘chef’s table’ where your guests can feel immersed in the culinary experience by viewing the kitchen at work. 

To enhance the experience, you could opt for a multi-course tasting menu, have a sommelier pair different wines with each course, and invite the head chef to come and speak with your guests. 

4. Networking with a glass of fine wine

Everyone loves to network in beautiful surroundings with a glass of wine or fizz. To make it truly special and unique, choose a venue that people won’t have been to before, or give your guests an after-hours experience that will get them talking.

For example, you could treat them to a private viewing of an art gallery or an evening tour of a museum’s collection. Or, you could host a reception in a vineyard so that your guests can learn about the wines they’ll be drinking.

Remember to serve canapes or bowl food to complement your choice of fine wines. You don’t want your guests getting too drunk, so serve food that’s easy to eat with fingers or a fork while standing and talking. 

For that added touch of exclusivity, organise luxury private taxis to ensure your VIPs are driven home in style. 

5. A luxury experience they’ll never forget

If you’re rewarding people as part of an incentive programme or treating VIPs to something they won’t have experienced before, the more exclusive you can make it, the more memorable it will be. 

Brands, destinations, venues and hotels are all happy to help. So, focus on curating experiences that are out of most people's reach. It could be a luxury spa weekend, a sushi-making experience with a Nobu chef, an overnight stay in a five-star resort, or front-row seats at a sold-out performance. 

A luxury experience they’ll never forget will ensure the long-term reputation of your company will benefit for years to come.

6. An access all areas, behind-the-scenes tour

Many of your guests will have been to the ballet or a west-end musical, but how many will have experienced a tour backstage and a chance to meet the performers? 

Giving VIPs an ‘access all areas’ guided tour never fails to impress. You can organise them with theatres, opera houses, football stadiums and other sporting venues. 

For that added wow factor, hire an ex-player to give the tour and enthral guests with stories from their glory days. Alternatively, organise time with the performers or cast so that your guests can ask questions, take photos, and immerse themselves in the experience. 

7.  The chance to meet their heroes

Having the opportunity to meet and speak with a celebrity is a highly memorable addition to any VIP hospitality experience, backstage tour, or stand-alone event.

Why not organise an ‘audience with’ exclusive evening for your VIP guests to hear from a famous sporting hero, author, musician, actor, TV personality or adventurer?

The celebrity could be interviewed in front of an intimate audience before you open the floor to questions. Allow guests to have a book signed or a photograph taken afterwards.

8. Brief them first at breakfast

Make select guests feel special by inviting them to an exclusive breakfast briefing. 

Not only will they have the chance to eat well and network with fellow VIPs, they’ll also get the first glimpse of the new product being launched or be the first to hear the big company announcement. 

9. Tag on a city tour

Include a VIP guided tour of your chosen event destination, either the day before your event starts or the day after it ends. It will give invitees the option to arrive early or add an extra day’s leisure time to their business trip. 

Guests travelling from abroad will love this idea. Too often, business event travellers only see the airport, conference venue and hotel.

VIP Guest Experience Ideas

10 Surprise with an upgrade

It’s a great feeling to get upgraded when checking into a hotel or flight, so why not make your guests feel even more special by upgrading their event experience?

You could surprise them with front-row seats or an upgraded ‘meet and greet’ package for a hospitality event. Or, give conference VIPs reserved seating, extra on-demand content, free tickets to the gala dinner or the chance to meet the keynote speaker. 

11. Early access

Letting VIPs into your exhibition or experience before the main crowd may be a small gesture, but they’ll appreciate being able to explore and enjoy it without any hustle and bustle. 

It can also allow you to personally greet each one of them and make sure everything is in order before the main crowd arrives.

12. Get your event sponsors involved

What would your event sponsors give to spend time with your VIPs? Discuss your ideas for upgrading the experience for select guests and see how your sponsors can help. 

Sponsors could brand a luxury VIP room, provide gifts for goodie bags, or help with ticket giveaways and other value add-ons. 

13. Set up a beauty pop-up station

Looking fresh and feeling their best will instantly put VIPs in a great mood and set the tone for the rest of their event experience. A pop-up glamour station could offer guests a quick beard trim, a five-minute makeover, a facial spritz or other instant beauty treatments. 

14. Create a red-carpet photography studio

Send your VIPs home with a new, professionally shot photo for their LinkedIn profile or company website. Invite them to pose on the red carpet for a professional photographer with a flattering studio set up of lights and a backdrop. 

You could even add your event logo to each photo – just make sure that it’s located in a part of the frame that VIPs could later crop out if they wanted to. 

15. Invite-only tastings

While other attendees are on their coffee break, invite VIPs to an exclusive cheese, wine, or other gourmet tasting hosted by an expert. It will create an exclusive opportunity to network and engage with your organisation. 

Guests could leave with a gift of their favourite wine and cheese. 

16. Ensure VIPs arrive and leave in style

Being transported to and from an event in style is a convenience anyone can appreciate. Coordinate with a luxury or corporate car company to pick up guests from their homes. 

Organise a VIP parking area so guests know where to meet their driver at the end of the evening. 

17. Offer some quiet time 

If your event is a full day or takes place across multiple days, let VIPs know you have a designated quiet room they can use to take phone calls, send a quick email or just relax. 

You could even add masseuses or meditation sessions. 

18. Work with hotels for added perks

Let your accommodation partners know who your VIP event guests are. They’ll help you to leave personalised gifts in their rooms, provide access to hotel perks such as spa treatments, and upgrade their dining with a fine wine or a gourmet treat from the chef. 

19. VIP bag drop

If your keynote speaker, panellists or VIP guests are heading to your event before checking in to their hotel, organise someone to unburden them of their suitcases. 

You could even arrange a bag drop with their hotel so their suitcase is already in their room when they finally check in.

20. Show your appreciation

Follow up with your VIPs after your event. Thank them for coming and offer them on-demand content they may have missed or the chance to provide feedback. 

They'll appreciate your effort and thoughtfulness, making it more likely they will accept future invites.

21. Remember their preferences

The trick to wowing VIPs is to personalise their experience by remembering small details from a previous time they attended. 

If, for example, you know someone’s favourite spring flowers are daffodils, arrange for a display in their hotel room. If someone once complained that there are never any decent vegan options at events, greet them on arrival with a coffee, vegan croissant and their personalised vegan menu for the day ahead. 

Keep KPIs front of mind

Remember to keep your event goals and stakeholder objectives front of mind when planning VIP experiences. KPIs may include:

  1. Driving advocacy and word-of-mouth: By creating an event that stands out, you’ll have guests talking positively about your organisation for a long time to come.
  2. Building brand prestige and value: Making your attendees feel special and valued is something they’ll never forget and always associate with your brand.
  3. Creating awareness and loyalty: By showcasing a product or service to an influential audience, you’ll create a lasting impression that may lead to future business opportunities and partnerships.
  4. Generating media coverage and publicity: Use a variety of media channels to increase your event's exposure. Hire videographers and photographers to ‘pap’ your guests on the red carpet and make them feel like celebrities. 
  5. Providing networking opportunities: By creating a VIP event environment that encourages networking, you’ll help your organisation to build relationships and partnerships that could lead to future business opportunities.

Overall, the primary goal of a VIP event is to provide a high-quality and personalised experience that leaves attendees feeling valued, engaged, and inspired.

How technology can help create VIP-worthy events

Event technology can help you personalise the VIP experience and provide valuable insights into how guests engage with your content. 

Consider the following when planning a VIP event or guest experience:

The benefits of a mobile event app

A mobile app will give your guests all the information they need about your event, all in one place. It will also allow you to update anything should it change and send out personalised notifications. 

Your VIPs can create bespoke agendas, connect with other guests, and participate in polls, speaker Q&A and surveys. 

Will you have name badges?

Creating a great first impression with VIPs is vital. For example, you don’t want them queuing for ages to receive their name badge. On-demand badge printing allows you to get VIPs through the door to your event in seconds. 

It’s more sustainable as you only print badges for those people who turn up. With a simple scan of a QR code, their badge will be printed, their attendance recorded, and theyll be free to enter and enjoy your exclusive experience. 

How will you manage your VIP invitation list?

Managing an invitation list for a VIP event can be complex and time-consuming. Event technology can streamline the process by providing an online invitation platform that allows you to create and manage guest lists, send out personalised invitations, and track RSVPs. 

It can help you ensure that only those guests you’ve invited attend the event and that they receive a high-end, exclusive experience, which starts with the invite. 

Overall, the most used event technologies at VIP events enhance the attendee experience, streamline event operations, and increase the event's reach and impact.

Give your guests the VIP treatment

Creating VIP events requires careful planning, execution and the right technology to ensure objectives are met, and guests receive an exclusive and personalised experience. 

VIP events may be one of the more intimate gatherings in your organisation’s event programme, but they can have a significant impact on brand loyalty, awareness and future business opportunities. 

Whether it’s a black-tie awards ceremony, exclusive hospitality, private dining or a unique and personalised guest experience, a VIP event is a powerful tool for making attendees feel special and valued. 

For more insights on enhancing the in-person event experience, download our Ultimate Guide to In-Person Events.

Mike Fletcher

Mike Fletcher

Mike has been writing about the meetings and events industry for almost 20 years as a former editor at Haymarket Media Group, and then as a freelance writer and editor. He currently runs his own content agency, Slippy Media, catering for a wide-range of client requirements, including social strategy, long-form, event photography, event videography, reports, blogs and ghost-written material.

The Ultimate Guide to In-Person Events
Guide to In-Person Events
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