First impressions are everything and when it comes to events, onsite registration is your opportunity to set the tone and let your attendees know that they are in for a best in class experience.
We have all been to events where this crucial moment has gone terribly wrong – long confusing lines, inaccurate or lost records, pure and total chaos. It’s unfortunate because that could have been a "wow" moment for your attendees. Instead, they are stuck in line passing the time tweeting things you probably don’t want to see pop up on your social media wall.
But hey, it’s happened to everyone and I’m here to deliver the rundown on the dos and don’ts so that it doesn’t happen twice.
Let’s start with a few items you need to consider when delivering a best in class experience:
- Electronic Ticketing
- Self-Service Check-in and Badging on Demand
Your onsite registration should be an extension of your pre-registration system, and integration is key in making sure nothing falls through the cracks. The less human interaction with data transfer and manual scrubbing the better. Integrating your platforms allows for a constant stream of updates and additions to your data.
- Changes to schedules, attendee types, meal preferences, etc.
- Late registrations (no need to close online reg)
All of your attendees’ details and preferences captured on the pre-registration site should flow directly to the onsite platform and be reflected in your attendees’ check-in experience.
Typically, after registering for an event online you’ll receive a confirmation email. You take a moment to review the details and then you archive it into the abyss that is your inbox. It has served its purpose, and you will likely receive a few more helpful emails between that initial online registration and the event.
But the email I want to focus on is the one that will provide your attendees with a fast and efficient means of breezing through onsite registration. It should be sent the day before and/or the morning of the event. It should be clean simple and mobile phone friendly.
“We look forward to seeing you tomorrow! Please bring this ticket to the event to speed through check-in!”
This ticket should be flexible, allowing attendees to print out, bookmark it and most importantly download to Apple Wallet, Windows Wallet, etc. It should also include:
- Geo location notifications
- Time-based notifications
- Direct links to social media sites
This ticket will be scanned at check-in to automatically populate their record and immediately print their badge.
Self-Service Check-in and Badging on Demand
Just say no to alphabetized lines! All attendees should have the ability to walk up to any counter with their event ticket and print their badge instantly. Don’t make your attendees wait in line only to discover that they are in the wrong section of the alphabet, then wait in another line only to discover that their name has been printed incorrectly.
“Sandy? My name is Randy!”
“Sorry ma'am, you’ll have to go see the assistance desk.”
By allowing all attendees to register from any check-in counter you eliminate confusion and increase your throughput.
But what about Sandy? Well, your self-service check-in solution should allow attendees to make simple edits to their records so that Randy’s badge prints correctly the first time. But the key is to keep this process simple. You will be tempted to present a list of additional questions to your captive audience, but try to limit it to three. Instead incorporate them into your online registration process, and if you are utilizing an integrated platform then don’t worry, Randy’s VIP status will be passed directly through to the onsite check-in. He will be presented with a badge that indicates his status and a VIP specific identifier will be printed on his badge.
All of your attendees deserve this kind of best in class experience and you can give it to them.