Do you know that expression about not getting a second shot at a first impression? For events, your onsite check-in process can set the tone for your attendees. Cluttered, confusing, and overcrowded registration areas are not a good look and, quite frankly, send the wrong message. Too many steps will make your attendees believe this event will not go smoothly.
Chances are you’ve attended an event like this, queuing up in a seemingly endless line as one or two event staff members combed through pages and pages of registered participants to check off their attendance and hand them their ID badge. As an attendee, this process is painful.
That’s why cutting-edge event planners are committed to contactless event technology whenever possible. Some solutions allow you to sidestep traditional registration processes — and all the headaches that come with them. However, if you’re not ready to ride the wave of the future, we can offer some professional tips on better managing your event’s physical registration space.
Since we like to leave our readers with a bit of food for thought, after you’ve reviewed these proven strategies, we’ll explain the benefits of going contactless for your next event.
Event registration management 101: The physical space
We’ve already mentioned that crowds and clutter are the enemies of your event’s registration space. To cut down, if not eliminate both, be sure your team checks the following boxes:
Cut down on queues
Long lines look even longer when confined to narrow spaces and cramped hallways. Make sure your registration space accommodates the number of people who have registered for your event because you’ve asked them all to show up simultaneously, which means gridlock if you haven’t allocated enough room for everyone. If possible, offer multiple registration points, as this will ease overall crowding.
Think like an attendee
You’re attending the event. Where do you enter? You follow the sea of people moving in the same direction, and… gridlock. As an event planner, it’s your job to anticipate crowd movement and design the space to support that natural flow. Include clear signage to guide arriving attendees and prevent registration confusion.
Separate registration materials
Stations are an intelligent way to keep things moving and avoid long lines. Consider setting up multiple stations: one for badge pick up, another for badge printing, and another for any event materials pick up. These stations should also be located far away from immediate access points, like the entrance, exit, and restrooms. Space is your friend — use it.
Establish a dedicated FAQ or help desk – separate from the registration stations. If attendees have questions, send them to the staff at the help desk. Speaking of staff…
Make sure you have enough staff or volunteers to ensure attendees are never left wondering, dazed and confused about where to go or what to do. Train your team to be on the lookout and to proactively help people at every point of the registration process so that no one feels overwhelmed or frustrated.
Your registration signage should indicate where attendees are supposed to go and for what purpose. You’ll do yourself and your staff a huge favor by making it easy for attendees to choose their adventure and move forward independently. For instance, those who registered ahead of time should immediately see a “Pre-registered Attendee” and queue up there (hopefully not for too long). In contrast, those who have yet to register should move toward the “Onsite Registration” table. Additionally, having clear signs that point to the restrooms is always a good idea, along with posted Wi-Fi password information so everyone can stay connected.
Start with self-check-in
Establish your self-check-in station for those who have pre-registered as the first stop of the registration space. Doing so will cut down on lines at the other registration tables.
Keep connected and charged
Before you start setting up your registration tables, make sure you know exactly where all electrical and internet connections are located.
Four processes to always keep in mind
Attendees should see, without question, where they need to go and feel confident moving in those directions.
Signs should be easy to read, eye-catching, and consistent. It sounds silly, but clear communication, even at the registration stage, will engender trust in your event and those associated with hosting it.
Standing in long lines or rushing around searching for a bathroom are all too familiar at events – ones that don’t do much to ensure attendees’ comfort. When setting up the space, imagine yourself as an attendee and focus on the details that will increase comfort and enhance their experience.
Using the space strategically, ensuring signage is clear and consistent, and adequately staffing your event will up the convenience factor in your attendees’ minds, elevating your event before it’s even begun.
While these suggestions should support a much smoother registration process for you and your guests, there is an alternative. This will allow you to sidestep much of this work and avoid headaches in the process we mentioned earlier. Still, we can’t overstate the clarity, communication, comfort, and convenience provided by contactless event technology.
“Expo Logic has revolutionized our process and made the entire registration process better. The ripple effects of a nice registration process can be felt throughout the meeting. People start off with a positive experience and are happier and more satisfied with the meeting overall. Plus, our staff is happy. There is no need to work weekends anymore and we’ve saved weeks of staff time and expense.” — Erik Brown, Database and Registration Manager, Association of American Law Schools (AALS)
The case for contactless registration
Contactless technology has been on the upswing since the COVID-19 pandemic caused us all to avoid touching shared surfaces or standing too close to each other. Think about a typical registration process, pre-pandemic:
People line up practically one on top of the other, use the same pens, and shuffle the same papers at the registration desk. While no one loved this process in the past, the pandemic has made its return practically unthinkable, if not unbearable.
“This year, when our biggest rush came, the lines were only ever 2 people long. The wait to print their badges and collect their registration materials was extremely minimal and attendees noticed – in a good way. The onsite registration process was rated very well on our post-conference survey and worked seamlessly. We now want to use this for all of our clients.”
— Emily Viles, Meetings Tech Coordinator, AMPED Association Management
Choose contactless with Expo Logic
Contactless is a consumer trend that began with a determination to stay safe and has remained a preferred method of completing transactions whenever possible. One can reasonably argue that contactless capabilities aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So, why not get on board while this event technology is cutting edge?
Some of our critical contactless features that can make a difference in your registration process include the following:
Contactless registration check-in
Long lines are a thing of the past, thanks to our quick, safe, and easy contactless option for attendees to check in and print their badge.
Using our Badge[On]Demand tool, attendees are empowered to print their own badges onsite, without ever needing to wait in line.
“Expo Logic improved our attendee experience and made the check-in process easier and faster. We have also been able to scan attendees into sessions more quickly than in the past and the data collected is in real-time which is what our clients need. We are very happy with our Expo Logic partnership and would absolutely recommend them.”
— Stephanie Armbrust, Meetings Registration, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance
Keep consistent with contactless technology during and after your event
In addition to registration and check-in, event planners appreciate Expo Logic’s additional contactless options, including our floor plan management tool, which helps organize and manage the actual event space. Our exhibitor management solution also makes it easier to organize the logistics driving your event, including exhibitor participation and payment.
During the event, administrators can track session attendance, allowing them to better manage numbers for specific sessions and smaller break-out discussions. Again, safety first.
As soon as your event ends, the connections can continue courtesy of Expo Logic’s event platform and mobile app, which expand networking while inspiring engagement with your event’s carefully curated content.