How to Make Your Event VIPs Feel Like Just That

VIPs are often a key presence at many kinds of events, including both industry events, like trade shows; corporate events; and public-facing events, like fundraisers and receptions. And while all attendees and guests are important to an event’s success, VIPs are even more so. For many events, it’s the VIPs and special guests who help sell tickets and increase attendance. The status of VIPs and their importance to the event generally earns them the right to preferential treatment. With the right VIP protocol, you can make your most important guests feel like stars—and ensure they’ll be happy to come back for future events.

Plan Ahead to Make the Most of VIP Guests

Do Your Homework

When inviting VIPs to attend an event, the first step is to find out as much relevant information as possible about your special guests. This typically involves talking to one or more people associated with them, such as their assistant, manager, or agent, or to the VIP themselves. Find out background information on their preferences and expectations, so you can determine in advance what they expect from a VIP appearance. For instance:

  • Some VIPs like to be treated with deference, but some are more down to earth and just want to feel like everyone else.
  • When it comes to travel, do they have a seat preference for air travel or prefer a specific kind of car for traveling between the hotel and the event venue?
  • For their accommodations, do they prefer a specific hotel? Do they have a preferred room type or room location?
  • Do they have any dietary restrictions or preferred beverages?
  • Will anyone else accompany them on this trip, such as a spouse or children? If so, it’s important to make sure those additional guests are also cared for.

Let Them Know What to Expect

Celebrity VIPs have certain expectations when they attend events, but you do too! As the event organizer, setting your own expectations is also part of the job of developing VIP protocol. This means talking with the VIP or their agent in advance and letting them know what’s required of them when they attend your event.

For instance, a VIP guest at a conference or trade show may be a keynote speaker. For celebrity VIP events, different kinds of activities are involved. Do they need to walk the red carpet, pose for photographs, or do a meet-and-greet session with event attendees? There may be some negotiations, but coming to an agreement before the event helps prevent last-minute confusion or problems.

Note that if your VIP guests are ticket-purchasers who have paid a premium for a VIP experience, this aspect of the event doesn’t necessarily apply. When your VIPs are people who’ve paid to upgrade their event experience, they don’t have obligations to fulfil, as they’ve already done so by paying for a premium ticket.

14 Ways to Impress Your VIP Event Guests

  1. Give them the true VIP treatment by making their event experience more convenient and comfortable: upgrade their seat on the plane, arrange for a private car to take them to the hotel, and make sure their registration and check-in at the event is fast and hassle-free. Make sure they never have to wait in line for a drink, and give them access to a private restroom.
  2. Upgrade their accommodations by arranging for private VIP concierge service and other hotel perks. Book their hotel stay starting the day before their arrival, just to make sure they don’t have to spend any time waiting to check-in.
  3. Assign your VIPs their own assistant who can help them get from place to place and make sure they have everything they need.
  4. Make sure they have access to free Wi-Fi at the hotel and during the event, and pop a portable charger into their gift basket.
  5. Invite them to a VIP-only networking group on LinkedIn or any other social media platform where your event has strong community reach, and provide exclusive access to special content.
  6. Provide free spa services, such as skin treatments, massage, or grooming appointments. If your VIP is flying in the day before the event, this can give them a chance to relax before their appearance. Or add a spa gift card to their gift basket or swag bag so they can choose when to use it.
  7. Talk to your event sponsors and find out if they’re willing to add something to the list of perks for VIP attendees. For instance, they might help fund the green room in exchange for additional advertising or provide some of their own products for VIP gift baskets. This can be great exposure for them, especially if a VIP with lots of online followers chooses to tweet about or tag their business.
  8. Provide complimentary tickets for your headlining attraction. Once your event schedule is finalized, you should have a good idea of what the most popular sessions or experiences are, so offer your VIPs free tickets and great seats.
  9. Add some special perks to the private green room at the event, such as favorite snacks and drinks. If you have several VIP guests, a private chef may be a great option.
  10. Add a VIP-only networking or social meet-up to your event schedule. A dinner or cocktail hour just for the VIPs can help make the event feel special, especially if you line up a gourmet menu or hire a private bartender.
  11. Invite speakers and other guests to enjoy some VIP perks too, such as the VIP green room or VIP-only networking and social events. This way, your VIPs also have the bonus of getting to meet and mingle with special guests.
  12. Arrange for a special VIP experience, such as a city tour, a special culinary experience, or a visit to a local craft brewery or winery.
  13. Personalize their gift baskets or swag bags with handwritten messages. If they have a history with your company or event, mention your appreciation of that in your note. Otherwise, try to reference something they’ve said to you during the event. This helps personalize the message.
  14. Create a VIP-only newsletter with bonus event content and giveaways. After the event, offer a VIP ticket for next year’s event at early-bird pricing.

A Great VIP Experience Makes Your Event One They’ll Want to Return To

Having VIP guests at a corporate event can pay off in more than one way. Your VIP guests might be paying more for the experience, of course, but, more importantly, offering a VIP experience gives you another way to make and maintain relationships between the host company and its client base. Adding the creation of a great VIP experience to your event planning ensures your VIP ticketholders will be happy to repeat the experience next year.

Jack Connolly

Executive Creative Director

As an experiential creative director, Jack prefers to draw outside the lines. He tells stories with original content and impactful design to ignite meaningful conversation.


Jack brings 20 years of event industry knowledge to ProGlobalEvents. He specializes in building live & virtual platforms for audiences to connect, engage and immerse themselves in the power of a shared experience. His skills range from ideation and concept development to defining an attendee journey through storytelling and design.

Jack understands the creative process is not linear, but a collaborative process between agency and client. He manages teams of designers and technology developers to pioneer impactful brand experiences. His diverse skillset and leadership ensure for award-winning results and memorable impressions.


In 2019, BizBash named Jack one of the top event designers in North America. SXSW awarded his work the “People’s Choice in Innovation” in 2021.

Jerome Nadel

Chief Marketing Officer

Jerome Nadel is Internationally experienced design-led marketing executive (CMO and GM) with a track record of improved market position, revenue growth, and M&A. He is an advance degreed psychologist and user experience product/service design expert, board member and advisor.


Prior to joining ProGlobalEvents |ProExhibits |XtendLive, he has had a variety of chief marketing officer and chief user experience officer roles at companies including Rambus, BrainChip, Human Factors International, SLP InfoWare, Gemplus, and Sagem. He started his career in the IBM Human Factors Labs.


He is also an avid cyclist with National and multiple California State Champion titles.

Ivan Fujihara

Chief Financial Officer

Ivan brings 25+ years in senior level management experience from a variety of technology industries.  His background includes accounting management, analytics and audit management for technology companies.  He has worked with companies such as THX, Ltd, Recruitology , Double Click, Creative Labs and more.  Ivan has also served on the board of Lincoln Families, a non-profit that supports East Bay children with the objective of disrupting the cycle of trauma and poverty.

Matt Rulis

Vice President of Sales

Matt is a marketing professional and has been managing marketing strategies, campaigns and environments for a diverse client base for over 15 years. From a service perspective, Matt and his team of Account Executives focus on fostering relationships to uphold a greater than 99% customer satisfaction rating year-over-year. Additionally, with extensive experience on the client-side of the industry, he understands that alignment between expectation and budget is paramount to a successful project. As a result, ProGlobalEvents' clients can expect a competitive advantage paired with top quality products and services. Matt is an avid fly-fisherman, enjoys most outdoor activities and is a true college football fanatic.

Tom Foley

VP of Operations

Heading the fabrication side of ProGlobalEvents is exhibit and event industry veteran, Tom Foley. For over 35 years he has been responsible for building amazing exhibits and environments for clients. Tom started out in the production area and has broad experience in project and operations management. He currently oversees production, warehouse, graphics and project management departments. Tom studied machine tool technology and welding before entering the industry. As a true "builder" he also enjoys restoring and modifying classic American cars.

Dick Wheeler


Dick serves as President of ProGlobalEvents and President of ProExhibits and is a board member of CEMA (Corporate Event Marketing Association). At ProExhibits he has been nationally recognized as an innovator and driving force in the fast-growing trade show exhibit and event industry. Under his leadership in 1997, the firm received INC magazine’s INC 500 award as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. His informative articles on developments and innovations in the trade show exhibit and event industry have appeared in national trade publications. Dick has a B.S. degree from Wittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire and has completed the Entrepreneurial Executive Leadership Program sponsored by MIT, YEO and INC. He is actively involved in Vistage, an interactive group of over 20,000 CEO’s and presidents worldwide and is a member of CEMA and EDPA.

Jody Tatro

Chief Executive Officer

In addition to being CEO of ProGlobalEvents, Jody is also the CEO of ProExhibits. With Jody at the helm, the company has been recognized repeatedly as one of the Top 50 Women Owned Businesses in Silicon Valley. She has set the outstanding client service standards for which the firm’s account management team is noted. Jody is a recipient of the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award, the Junior League Community Volunteer Award and is listed in Who’s Who of Women in Business. Following her graduation from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Jody held various sales positions in several technology companies.