Active Houston Runners Message Board › Instruction Manual for Newbies to Active Houston (AH) › How to Find Members at Large Meetups?
Although the organizer, assistant organizer(s), event organizer(s), and event host often include a picture or ‘head shot’ of themselves on their Meetup profile, it is still very difficult for members, especially those new to the group, to locate our Meetup group at large events. In some cases, finding members of the group is similar to searching for a needle in the haystack and playing the “Where’s Waldo?” game.
As hosts for an event, we try to specify the time and location of the Meetup prior to the start of the event. To facilitate this process, we sometimes send out a preemptive email to only members of the event who have RSVPed ‘Yes.’ This email may include the description of the attire for the event host, such as, wearing a blue top, white shorts, and bright yellow fluorescent shoes (in which case everybody is staring towards the ground).
Choosing a proper location for the Meetup is not a trivial task for the event host. We have had limited success with first meeting at a small restaurant, gas station, or store parking lot that is very close to the event. Under this scenario, we choose a time that is about an hour before the event. Unfortunately, our members may fall behind schedule and get caught in traffic, thus bypassing this initial meeting spot, and they are forced to go directly to the event. Frequently, they frantically send emails to the Meetup host with their mobile device via the Active Houston Meetup website portal, and become frustrated when they can’t find the group. At times, the event hosts do not carry their phones moments before the start of the event, while other Meetup hosts may be reluctant to release their cellular phone numbers to members they have not met.
Another strategy for a Meetup location is designating a landmark at the event itself, such as, ‘meet at the starting line 20 minutes before the event.’ However, sometimes several hundred people are congregating at the starting line before the event, and this method has not always been successful. Surprisingly, the exhibit layout for popular events may vary from year-to-year, so even our more experienced organizers are shocked to discover that our previously delineated ‘brilliant’ meeting spot is confusing and inaccessible. I submit a hypothetical example: “Let’s meet at Val’s Veggie Food Truck 15 minutes before the race.” The food truck was teeming with activity at the event the past four years, but when the event host arrives to the event, he or she is dismayed and dumbfounded that Val’s Truck is absent.
Many proposals to highlight the Active Houston group have been attempted including holding signs, crazy hats, and outrageous outfits. These methods for identification of the Active Houston Meetup group are attractive for our more casual events. However, event hosts often do not want to carry extraneous props and wear ‘unusual’ clothing to more competitive events.
In conclusion, the best policy for a successful Meetup is being punctual.
Please anticipate the possibility of overloaded parking and other irregularities that may induce delays. Secondly, we invite and encourage you to participate in running, cycling, or swimming at one of our weekly or monthly rotating exercise series on our Active Houston calendar so that you can meet our event host before the weekend event, so nobody is forced to play the “Where’s Waldo (or Waldette)?” game at our weekend Meetup event. If there is any confusion as to the location or time of our Meetup, then notify the event host prior to the event. Obviously, our goal is meeting up, so your input and suggestions are valuable.
Where's Waldo???, dang, everybody's wearing fluorescent yellow??????
Edited by Stephen on Dec 16, 2012 5:49 PM