Yes, even though conferences, expos, annual meetings, and tradeshows are business events, they still come with enticements that attract unwelcome guests.

Here are a few tips for recognizing the seven types you will meet at conferences:


Freeloading crashers have let the basest human desire for free things, no matter how unnecessary, overtake their better judgment. They snuck into your event to take things intended for attendees, because these things appear to be “free.”

Unsanctioned Salespeople

Enterprising, yes. Unwanted by your attendees, probably. They’re here to crash your show because they see a potential sales opportunity.

Party Animals

These guys and gals noticed the open bar cordoned off exclusively for attendees. Before you know it, they are saddling up to it with two words in mind: free booze.

Other-Session Interlopers

Members of this group aren’t crashers in the literal sense. They registered and paid to attend at least a portion of your event, but for whatever reason, be it confusion or a desire to switch tracks or hear a specific speaker, they aren’t where they are supposed to be.

Confused Hungry People

This is bound to happen, especially if your event has a networking component in a semi-public space, like a hotel restaurant. You have arranged for a nice spread of drinks and hors d’oeuvres for attendees, but other hotel guests begin digging in.

Mild Thrill Seekers

Mild thrill seekers are in it for a fleeting adrenaline rush. They aren’t there to cause trouble – they just want to high five and eventually recount the story of when they slipped into a conference on vacation unnoticed. Stealth mode!

Now that you know what you’re looking for, here are some simple ways to stop crashers in their tracks:

  • Do a pre-event site inspection and staff all possible entrances
  • Hire extra security if you need it
  • Prepare hotel staff to be on the lookout
  • Use mobile check-in technology for registrations and sessions
  • Have self-serve kiosks for on-demand badge printing
  • Stay vigilant

How do you prevent event crashers? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Happy planning!