Have you heard that old saying, "you only get one chance to make a first impression?" When your attendees arrive at your event, check-in and badging is where they get that significant first impression. Will they be impressed with the speed, convenience, and efficiency of the check-in process, or will the first experience they have at your event involve waiting in a long line, only to endure a lengthy process once they finally get to the front? Streamlining your check-in and badging process is a vital first step to a successful event.
Automating a self check-in process using the latest event technology is the best strategy. Its benefits extend beyond check-in, continuing throughout the duration of the event and into post-event measurement. The solution you select should not be complicated, and part of its ease should involve compatibility with your registration system. Setup should be as simple as downloading an app and entering an event code.
Some questions you might consider before selecting a check-in and badging solution include:
1. Does it have Self-Check-in Capability?
Imagine how convenient it would be if your attendees could check in with a QR code on a smartphone, tablet or if needed, paper. QR codes can be generated and sent to your attendees pre-event. Attendees can access and scan the QR code straight from their smartphones or from their printed confirmation notice to easily check-in and obtain their conference badge. If a QR code is not available, be sure your solution has other ways to access the information.
2. Does the Solution Integrate real-time with your Registration System or Marketing Automation Tool?
There are many registration systems and marketing automation tools (MAT) out there, and you might already have one from companies like Cvent, Certain, Eventsforce, Marketo or Eloqua. Finding a solution that integrates seamlessly with your registration system and/or MAT is imperative. When I mention seamless, I am not referring to a text file but to solutions that have API’s which can push the necessary data back and forth between the systems. If you don’t have a registration system in place, find a check-in solution that is flexible enough to customize a registration solution for you.
3. Does the Solution Offer the Ability to Provide RF Technology and QR Code Printing Options?
There are many badging technologies, including QR, 1D, 2D, RFID and NFC, and your system should support all of them. Paper or plastic? Both, please.
4. Can your Badges be Customized by Attendee Type?
It is possible to design and customize badges for every attendee type, and you can even create personalize badges by adding a photo. Choose a solution that enables you to brand your badges according to your company or event guidelines.
5. Will On-demand Badge Printing be Available?
There is no longer a need to pre-print, sort, and alphabetize your badges. With the right solution, your attendees should be able to check-in and print their badges in seconds, allowing your registration desk to run smoothly with no queue lines.
6. Can Administrators Easily Check-In Attendees?
Having a simple swipe approach to check-in allows an administrator to quickly search and easily check in attendees. "Line busters" can be used to check people in and have attendees proceed directly to the registration desk to pick up their badges.
7. Does it have Real-time Reporting Capability?
That all-important ROI is a critical function when selecting the right check-in and badging solution. Be sure you can obtain access to real-time reports to measure which attendees have registered against which attendees have actually checked in. If there is a way that reports can be broken down by attendee type or demographic of choice, your reporting process will be much easier.
Overall, selecting the right check-in and badging solution involves good planning. Take the time to find the right fit for your company, current technologies, and objectives. Ask potential providers if they have the capabilities described above, and ask for demonstrations. Schedule as many demos as you can. Walk through the functionality essentials listed above. It will take some time, but isn’t that first impression worth it?