Credentials are the first line of defense for your festival or live event.
As a credential manager, you are the gatekeeper for access and the security of the event. With staffing shortages across the space at an all time high, many events are struggling to get the onsite security they need—putting more pressure on the credentials process as a whole to serve as an additional safeguard. That starts and ends with you.
It’s on you to get people in and out as efficiently, safely and quickly as possible. Time is of the essence as a credential manager and proper preparation up front can help you get more of it back to ensure smooth sailing the day of your event.
Credential Management Tips & Timelines
With more festivals happening in a shorter timeframe than ever before, taking the time to follow a sound process is key to speedy execution and success. So we met with Chase Wilkes, Customer Success Manager at Lennd for a behind-the scenes look at the process he follows. Chase has worked in the space for six years and had hands-on experience as an onsite credential manager for major festivals like Rolling Loud.
He shared the ideal timeline to advance credentials and the steps that you need to take along the way to ensure success. We took his advice and mapped out everything you need to prepare for a smooth advancement of your event’s credentials. We’ll take you from three months out to the last 24hrs leading up to the event.
3 Months Before Your Event
The first step towards a successful credential management process is looking at the big picture. Take it from Rebecca Throne, Director of Ticketing, Burning Man & Black Rock City
“View your event from a holistic perspective first. Look at the entire picture and treat it like an ecosystem so you can understand how the different sectors impact and relate to each other. If you are designing the segments in a vacuum, you may end up with one segment that’s at odds with the other functions. Everything needs to flow seamlessly together.”
Below are the high-level tasks you should complete to map out your credentials at least three months out from your live event or festival. Remember the more work you put upfront now will save you countless hours in the long run:
- Identify key players who are the decision makers & what each has control over
- Identify and map out all access points for your event, including:
- Back of house
- Front of house
- VIP areas
- Stage access only
- Ancillary areas (i.e, camping)
- All Access
- Daily Passes
- Weekend passes
- Parking passes
- ADA Access
- Vehicle Access passes for secured areas (i.e. backstage)
- Gather contact information for the key decision makers
- Identify key staff involved in the process and gather contact information
- Determine lodging and transportation
- Determine what type of technology you want to use to support the credentials:
- RFID badges or wristbands
- Bar codes for manual scanning
- Unique wristband designs
- Simple one color wristbands
- Create your team schedule and check in/check out hours
- Map out asset and equipment needs across teams
- Coordinate your credential requests (require responses within 1 month)
- Coordinate your catering requests (require responses within 1 month)
- Confirm your location for the onsite box office
- Send asset requests (require responses within 1 month)
- Determine if there will be any VIP amenities and any additional charges (i.e. restrooms, viewing areas, special entry, special parking, swag, etc.)
1 Month Before Your Event
You’re off to a strong start and mapped out everything you need from a bird’s eye view for secure production and credentialing. Now that you’ve laid down the foundation for the advancement of your credentials, use the month before the event to get organized.
Do a full inventory of the credentials you have, track down any outstanding requests and complete status reports to ensure everything is in order.
- Begin your credential preparation
- Conduct a full inventory of all wristbands and laminates— track down any discrepancies or miscounts
- Secure all sponsorship requests
- Secure all asset and equipment requests
- Secure all credentials and catering requests
PRO TIP: Always ensure you set the due date for your asset requests at least 1 month before your live event. Be aggressive with your timelines—you want to leave as much time as possible for these requests.
2 Weeks Before Your Event
Now that you’ve secured your requests, use the two weeks before your event to review everything you’ve gathered and flag any discrepancies you see so you can get ahead.
This way, you’re giving yourself and your team ample time to course correct before the days before the show and get foresight into any potential hurdles or roadblocks to successfully advancing your credentials.
- Review sponsorship packages and information
- Review all credential requests
- Review all catering requests - flag any discrepancies you may see
- Review all asset requests - flag any discrepancies you may see
- Put pressure on your sponsors to get the information you need
- Count all wristbands
- Begin to organize your credentials
1 Week Before Your Event
Now, you’re one week out from opening night. You’ve done your due diligence to uncover any discrepancies across your requests and get ahead of potential roadblocks.
At this point you should be focusing on the finishing touches of the event, reviewing access zones and the who’s who involved at each step. Notoriously your sponsors are going to wait last minute to get you what they need—use this time to get ahead of those roadblocks and prompt them to provide details to help you move ahead.
PRO TIP: Always bake in an extra week for gathering items and information from sponsors.
- Crew check in
- Finalize sponsor information & ads
- Organize your bulk packets
- Coordinate with the press
- Begin the onsite build
- Issue your credentials
48hrs Before Your Event
No matter how much preparation you put in ahead of your event, it’s crucial to always leave time for any last minute requests or changes. As is the nature of any event, things are constantly in flux and you need to ensure anything that can be in your control, is in your control before showtime.
- Leave plenty of time to troubleshoot any late adds/last minute requests
- Deal with any last minute sponsor or ad requests
- Double check inventory counts
24hrs Before Your Event
You’re almost there—congrats! Your job should be 90% complete at this point in time. Reserve your last 24 hours to give one final sign off on credentials. And, as always, track down those last few sponsors you’ve been following up with for weeks (or months...)
- Do one final check on your bulk packets
- Final review of catering requests
- Complete any last minute sponsor requests
- Prepare for onsite press
Planning for Success: Rethinking Your Approach to Credential Management
If there’s anything you can take away from this is to plan as far ahead as you can. Don’t leave credentials until the last minute. As resource requests and supply chains are more challenging to secure, getting ahead on key details can save your event dollars and your staff countless hours, hurdles and headaches.
Given the pressure on credentials managers to execute more under tighter timeframes, the time to reevaluate and find a system that you can replicate year over year and set standards across your staff is so crucial.
Your security measures are of the utmost importance for the success of your event, and adopting an all-in-one system can give you a new level of control. But don’t just take our word from it, see what Chad Ladov, Security Expert and Founder at Unified Command says about the old way of advancing, and why now is the time to rethink your approach:
“Spreadsheets, Google forms, old databases and legacy software aren’t cutting it any longer. If you can’t get it organized in advance of the event, then there is no chance you are going to have a credentialing system that is going to provide real access control at the event.”
Keith: We did an NPS and considering this was the first event we we got an NPS of 8.3 which was was pretty good. I would I would have liked to have been a bit higher than that...but I think part of it was this is a new event for a quite a few people. So feedback was people wanted to ride the same course, they wanted to ride the exactly the same course. We did have these people that were coming in very technical and other that were there for fun. right but we add some really serious people so the serious people wanted everything like a rulebook we had no rulebook so maybe we could have done a better job sort of catering to those different grou
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