After months of work considering every details of your event, the attendees are finally entering your event venue. They’re excited to meet up with new and old colleagues and get HYPED for that all-important opening day keynote speaker.
The only thing between them and enjoying your event is the check-in and badge process. This is the first face-to-face interaction between your event’s brand and the attendee. Will it be a positive one?
The check-in and badge printing process is both an art and a science. During the peak arrival time for your event, groups of attendees are anxiously hoping to find a prime spot at the keynote while last-minute exhibitors want to race over to their booth and prepare. You need to help them get there with minimal wait and frustration.
While event technology can play a large part in the process of quickly producing badges, the overall flow of the interaction including staff, signage, badge holders and lanyards all contribute to whether the attendee is welcomed to the event with an overall positive or negative first impression.
We’ve gone over this before. It’s tempting to know that all the badges you need for your event are already printed and ready to hand over to attendees, but it can be burdensome to search through hundreds or thousands of badges to find the right one while your attendee waits and watches. The process can quickly collapse and your brand could look foolish right off the bat.
Having the correct badge instantly produced using high-speed printers is the best way to go for a fast and simple badge hand-over.
Having the correct badge instantly produced using high-speed printers is the best way to go for a fast and simple badge hand-over. It takes less than one second for modern printers to spit out a badge - even the best-organized event staff can’t match that.
You won’t cramp up your desk space with lanyards and left-over badges and your attendee will receive their badge moments after giving their name.
Keep in mind that while your event staff is printing and assembling the badge, your attendee is simply standing and watching the process. Does this process look confident and planned, or frantic and disorganized?
One of the best ways to make sure the badge process looks well organized is to keep it as simple as possible. Imagine your event staff searching across the desk for stickers, papers, scheduled, promos, drink tickets, flags or special lanyards.
Standard pick-ups like lanyards and paper schedules can be moved away from the check-in desk and made available at their own station.
Instead, simple standard pick-ups like lanyards and paper schedules can be moved away from the check-in desk and made available at their own station. For a more personal touch they can be handed out by staff as the attendee moves to their next most likely destination: a keynote room or the trade show floor.
Look at your check-in space holistically and anticipate the flow of attendees from the most used entrances to their likely destination. If your check-in process is along this route, along with all its hand-outs and pick-ups, then the process will have shorter lines and a more fluid, active and pleasing flow.
While having a line-up at your event is never ideal, the occasional lineup gives event organizers the opportunity to passively convey important information that can make the rest of the check-in process easier.
While they’re in line, attendees are looking for entertainment and information, so give it to them! Staff members can keep attendees engaged by welcoming them, helping them install the event app, and get some bonus attendee research done by asking them about what speakers they’re most looking forward to hearing from.
Digital screens and posters can be used to give helpful information about how to prepare for check-in, schedule changes or other alerts. Do you need to prepare a ticket, business card or photo ID? Rather than waiting at the desk, the attendee can prepare these documents while they’re standing in line.
Friendly and adaptable event staff can have a big impact on attendees’ event experience. Some events have multiple check-in desks for different ticket types, VIPs and exhibitor booth staff. Proactive event staff and signage can be very helpful for getting people where they need to go without the attendee even having to ask the question.
Before your event, literally walk through your check-in process from entering the venue to your show floor or keynote room. Consider where people could get lost or confused and add the needed signage or staff to prevent crowding and confusion.
We’ve written about the advantages of self-service technology in the past, and check-in lines at the events are another arena in which letting the customer help themselves gets the task done faster.
If you use pre-printed badges, this error is not quickly or easily corrected.
One of the most common attendee-related hiccups in the check-in process is to correct a typo in the name or job title fields. If you use pre-printed badges, this error is not quickly or easily corrected and could lead to the attendee being sent to stand in another line.
Spelling a name out loud can be a frustrating experience for many people - avoid the situation entirely by getting the attendee to type their name themselves. However, self check-in systems (including PheedLoop!) lets the attendee make the changes on the check-in screen. We’ve found it to be fastest and most efficient way to make edits and get the attendee on their way.
The check-in experience won’t make your event, but it can break it. The check-in process can be the first and most important opportunity to show that your event is well organized and intends to deliver on what it has promised.
Taking a methodical approach to your check-in and badge printing process on the day of the event can deliver the right message. Having the right event technology, which empowers both the attendee and the event staff, is equally important.
Think about the last event you went to: Was the check-in fast and friendly? If so, you know the glow it adds to any event. Living up to this standard just takes a little bit of planning, flexibility and the right technology.