Why 8 In 10 Guests Prefer Assigned Seating

November 30, 2017

Are you of the view that assigned seating is old-fashioned and overly formal?

Shouldn’t you just let guests choose where to sit? Isn't that more egalitarian, more "cool"? Well, maybe not.

You might be surprised to discover a YouGov survey found 51% of guests preferred being given a specific seat, 33% wanted to be assigned to a table where they could choose their seat, while 13% were happy with sitting wherever.

For guests aged over 50, a whopping 92% wanted assigned seating which suggests the vast majority of them would be very upset if you made it "free choice".

If you're planning a a corporate event here's why you should consider working out your guest seating plan:
  • There may be a rush for the ‘good’ seats ie near the VIP guests
  • It will take a lot longer to get guests seated. They may still be milling about while the food is being served.
  • The last few guests end up walking around looking for seats, a bit like the unpopular schoolkid at lunchime.
  • Couples may stick together or get split up - when you don't want them to
  • Elderly guests may end up seated where they can’t hear or see anything.
  • If people turn up uninvited, they may take seats intended for your invited guests
  • An allocated seating plan is a more popular arrangement for guests - plus they appreciate your effort
  • It makes it much easier for waiting staff to deliver meals (think: dietary requirements, children's meals) to specific guests
  • You can ensure that speakers and VIP guests are seated in the most appropriate seats
  • It's a good opportunity for you to do some matchmaking for your single guests!
  • Avoid mixing age groups too much. Seat young children with their parents. Older children can be seated with their parents, or on a table together.
  • Try to put families together and put work colleagues together.
  • If you know people don't get on, try to seat them at separate tables. This is not the time to force a reconciliation.
  • Try to create balanced tables, with even numbers of males and females.

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