Event Registration and Check-in

Empowering your event staff with an innovative event registration and check-in process is central to successful event planning. 

In this article, we will cover various aspects of planning your next event registration process and how to choose the right registration software. We’ll also introduce you to some proven event promotion strategies and share how to effectively measure the success of the entire experience.

To ensure a smooth experience for your attendees and your event stakeholders, you will need to prioritize the planning, organization, and implementation of modern event technology. Event technology allows your team to integrate the right processes and procedures, like event registration and check-in, to improve your events and the attendee experience.

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Planning the event registration process

Before you can plan your event, you need to determine whether it is best to deliver it virtually or in person. But how will you know? 

Begin by considering key metrics like where the majority of your attendees are located. If your audience is global or somehow split between two coasts, perhaps a purely virtual approach is best. 

If your event is tailored to a local audience, then you’ll want to focus on finding the best possible venue that will accommodate everyone comfortably and conveniently. For example, factors like ample parking, or access to reliable public transportation, shouldn’t be a problem.

Once you’ve made your decision, you can begin outlining and setting clear goals for the registration process. Collaborate with your team and ensure that everyone is on the same page about your event’s purpose. Next, consider answering the following questions: 

  • What is the goal of this event? 
  • Is it to turn a profit from ticket sales? 
  • Introduce a new brand or magnify existing brand recognition? 
  • Deliver relevant and valuable content that inspires your audience to take action? 

If you don’t know why you’re hosting the event, you’ll likely miss the mark when it comes to measuring its success and overall impact. Just as important as the purpose of your event is the budget.  

You want to afford everyone the chance to attend, no matter their personal financial situation, but you also want to offer some exclusive opportunities and content at a higher ticket price, especially if your goal is tied into ticket sales. The affordable option(s) will likely bring in more sales, but the higher tier(s) is where you’ll stand to turn an actual profit.   

Be clear and confident in your resources and constraints before you begin teasing event content to your attendees. 

Keep in mind that by automating the right event registration and check-in process, you can help cut costs at your next event. 


How to choose the right event registration software

As with any business investment, you need to determine how much you can spend on event registration software before you begin shopping around. There is no shortage of options available, which can make your selection overwhelming. 

That’s why it’s important to remember the words of former United States Marine and Medal of Honor recipient William A. Foster, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”  

Given that there are so many alternatives when it comes to event registration systems, empower your decision-making with as much knowledge as possible. 

Research really is the key to overcoming the overwhelming feeling that can result from all the event registration software possibilities. Work with your team to review event management software and come to the decision that best fits your organization’s needs.

Before you review the different software options available, dedicate some time to determining the exact features and services your event team needs. Consider crafting a three-column list of “must-have” features, “nice-to-have, but not necessary” features, and “irrelevant or unimportant features.” 

By cross-referencing this list against the various software on the market, you’ll start whittling down those choices that actually aren’t a good fit for your needs or budget. Ideally, a robust event management system will cover all your event logistics needs by providing impactful and measurable features, like: 

Easy online event registration 

What you want from this feature is the ability to make registration simple or complex, depending on your event. By creating a personalized online registration experience for your attendees, you showcase your brand and strengthen the connected experience for your audience. 

Seamless and streamlined onsite event check-in

By increasing the efficiency of your check-in process, you create a better experience for attendees and ease the workload for your staff. This can also cut costs by reducing the number of staff and materials needed to manage the check-in process. Ultimately, search for an event registration software capable of reducing the check-in time from minutes to mere seconds. 

Quick and on-demand badge printing

By placing the ability to print their own badges in your attendees’ hands, check-in becomes even more seamless, quick, and efficient. 

While these features might seem to slot under the “nice to have” category, in fact, they should be considered “must-haves.” Remember, more than 50% of web browsing takes place on personal mobile devices, which is why supporting mobile responsive online registration is a smart strategy because, increasingly, it’s what your attendees have come to expect.

With all the event registration tools available, ensure your software makes the cut by leveraging this checklist: 

  • Multi-ticket types and price tiers
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Real-time membership verification
  • Customizable email confirmations
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Quick, secure credit card processing
  • Event registration website design and branding
  • Integration for easy onsite self-registration or badges

Once you’ve implemented the right event registration software, you’ll want to embrace a few event promotion strategies to help boost registrations… and your bottom line


Event promotion strategies to increase registrations

The name of the game here is to be “proactive.” 

When it comes to increasing registrations, you’ll want to take a multi-faceted approach to promoting your event. This is where some marketing prowess comes into play and it’s worth noting, the majority of these tasks are best done leading up to the event. In other words, if you do a great job on these items, you’ll reap the benefits during and after your event. 

Pre-event promotion strategies

Before the event, you’ll want to create an engaging landing page or website where all event stakeholders can easily access event details. This space should be appealing and really sell your event offering. This is an ideal opportunity to showcase your speakers and sponsors. 

Whether you opt for a page or site, be sure to embed clear and compelling CTAs or call-to-actions throughout. In order to do this, you’ll need to understand what you want your audience to do. 

Is it simply to register? Then make sure there is a clear Register Now or Click Here to Register button in several spots on the page, or each page, depending on the size of your site. 

If it’s to purchase tickets, you’ll want the same kind of buttons and frequency. 

Pro-tip: include the option for your audience to share whatever action they’ve just taken on their own social media pages. 

You’ve seen this before. Someone registers for an event and then can share that they’ve done so, which links to the event page on their own Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media page. This is a great and free way to attract additional attention and increase exposure to your event with a broader audience. 

Speaking of social media, ensure that you and your team are also sharing the event and exciting details or updates about it on your social media pages as well. The greater the exposure and reach, the more likely you’ll exceed your registration or ticket sales goals. 

On the order of ticket sales and registrations, it’s a great idea to communicate urgency (Spaces are limited! Tickets are going fast!) and offer incentives like an early bird or group discounts, along with cost-cutting coupons. 

Another great idea you can leverage before and during the event is to run raffles and online giveaways. This can incentivize registration and enhance attendee engagement, which are both wins for your team. 

Finally, you’ll want to make sure you have access to analytics to track the progress of your efforts and initiatives. Without the ability to see how your strategies are performing, you’ll never know what works and is worth repeating in future campaigns. 


Empower your event check-in process

In order to set up your event check-in process for maximum success, you’ll need to establish a few key responsibilities and the roles responsible for completing them.

First, you’ll want to ensure that the registration desk is set up correctly, looks welcoming, well-staffed, and clearly accessible by attendees as they enter the venue. 

Part of a successful setup involves establishing the best check-in method. For instance, does your team prefer QR codes or barcode scanning? Which option is easier? Faster? The goal here is to cut down on time and eliminate lines at your check-in stations. 

Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll need to sufficiently staff your registration stations so that any attendee with a question or concern can be addressed without waiting. 

You’ll also want adequate numbers of trained staff to address any issues that could arise with any technology you’ve decided to implement in order to better facilitate the registration and check-in processes. 

Consider this cautionary note from Bill Gates, “The first rule of any technology used in business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” 

In other words, no matter how innovative and amazing your event technology is, it will only match the organization and effort you devote to creating a smooth, streamlined, and robust check-in process. 


Measuring the success of the event registration and check-in process

No matter how smoothly your event registration and check-in process appeared, you’re still responsible for reviewing event performance data in order to track actions and behaviors with accuracy. 

These insights will prove invaluable to you and your team as you look ahead to subsequent events because, as Peter Drucker observed, “What gets measured gets managed.” 

When evaluating the data, you’ll want to determine specific numbers, like the ratio of registrations to attendees who actually showed up. If the number of registrations far exceeds the number of attendees who checked in and participated, you’ll need to investigate the reason and brainstorm how you can shrink that gap in the future.

As you consider your performance data, consult with your team and invite their observations about what worked and what didn’t. Ideally, you’ll want to craft clear notes on those areas that could stand improvement for future events and start collaborating with your team on how to implement those improvements.

How to get started

If we’ve done our job, then this article has effectively illustrated the importance of a successful event registration and check-in process. It cannot be overstated how much staff need to precisely plan and organize events to create a smooth attendee experience. While this was once a daunting undertaking for even the most accomplished event management team, we now have the technology to streamline and simplify the process, starting with event registration and check-in. First impressions are everything, which is what makes integrating event management software so compelling. Event registration systems benefit all event stakeholders, making them an obvious investment for professional event managers.

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