The check-in portion of an event is one of the most crucial because it is the first in-person interaction you will have with your attendees. It gives the attendee their first impression of the event and sets the tone for the whole day.
Months and months of preparation, dedication, planning, and marketing all come down to a matter of a few minutes. You want to use this opportunity to show-off all the work you have done and impress attendees; here are 5 tips that can help event organizers create a delightful check-in experience for attendees.
1. Take Advantage Of Technology
This is one of the most important features you can integrate into your check-in experience. You want to avoid people having to queue up for long periods of time; technology can help you out!
- QR Codes: They can speed up the check-in process for attendees who have pre-registered. QR codes can be pre-delivered to the attendee via email, and once a code is scanned, a badge can be printed on the spot. Usually this is a good solution for organizers planning very large events (trade shows, concerts, major sports events), because it makes it easy to quickly check-in a lot of people. QR codes can have a downside, which is that it makes the experience feel a bit impersonal, so it might not be a great solution for medium or small events.
- iPads: This can be an ideal solution for small to medium sized events. Here an event staffer ticks off attendees on a registration list, thereby checking them into the conference. Doing this digitally makes it easy to update information about attendees that's hosted in a CRM platform. Knowing that a contact actually attended can really help with future communication via email, in person, or through other event networking platforms.
- Self check-in: Designate a specific self check-in area area with iPads, laptops or kiosks so attendees can check into the event themselves. This is a good solution for medium to large events where attendees could be arriving throughout the day. Self check-in means that organizers need fewer staff members to manage check-in.
- Event Management Software: Having a great event management software to manage check-in information and logistics can streamline the check-in process for you. Good event planning platforms will have some kind of attendee check-in functionality built in. This makes keeping tabs on an attendees experience easier.
2. Carefully Train Event Staff
For medium and large scale events, organizers will likely need to lean on outsourced staff members to make the event successful. Often staff members are involved in the check-in process, and because of this, it's imperative that organizers properly train outsourced labor. After all, they will be the first person to interact with attendees.
Make sure to train outsourced staff people thoroughly so that they can handle attendee queries in a manner befitting your event. Some other things you might want staff people to do are:
- Greet attendees warmly.
- Master the check-in tool.
- Understand the event layout / be ready to point attendees to their desired destination.
- Be ready to provide attendees with additional resources upon request. How can attendees download the event app, check their luggage, pay at the door etc.
3. Use Scale To Create Excitement
If you think back to some of the biggest events you've attended the check-in experience probably caused you some excitement. One reason for this could be that the event gave you a sense of awe during the check-in process.
As you enter Hubspot's renowned marketing event, Inbound, the first thing attendees see is a massive Inbound sign - it causes attendees to feel like they're entering something big and exciting.
If you think about entering a sports stadium, one thing that they almost always have in common is scale. There are usally large signs of favorite athletes, statues, and more. All of this causes fans to get excited for the big game. If possible, organizers should consider leveraging the power of scale for the check-in process. Installing a large sign, or utilizing large digital displays could be good ways to get people looking forward to the event.
4. Personalize Event Check-In
One of the hardest but most effective ways to create a delightful event check-in experience is to make it personalized. Often it is hard to personalize the experience at the door, since staff members are dealing with large numbers of attendees at once. But a great way to do this is at your official hotel. Each attendee can be given a personalized care package, with a hand written note.
Personalized care packages also provide event organizers with the opportunity to communicate important messages to guests. Sharing the event's official hash tag or providing instructions for downloading the event networking app can be effectively shared in a gift basket.
If your event has too many attendees for your staff to build truly personalized gift baskets, consider sorting attendees by industry, expressed interests, or by specific sessions they've registered for via your event registration software. This can make the whole check-in experience feel more welcoming. For example, providing a book related to attendees' expressed interests can get them ready for the event while also making people feel welcome.
What To Do Next
There are four key things event organizers can do to make event check-in truly special for attendees. By taking advantage of technology, carefully training event staff, leveraging the power of scale, and personalizing the experience, organizers can truly delight event goers.
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