Event and meeting planners are hyper-focused on making sure their event check-in process goes smoothly, since it’s the attendee’s first experience onsite. More and more often, planners are turning to technology to automate aspects of their events -- freeing up their time to focus on creating an impactful experience.
Imagine your worst nightmare, come event day. Does it go a little something like this?
Every single attendee shows up for check-in at the EXACT. SAME. TIME. They’re weary from a long day of traveling; they’re groaning about waiting in long lines. You can already imagine the horrific post-event survey responses.
You’re running around the venue, head buzzing from one too many shots of espresso -- and your staff is nowhere to be seen. Eventually, you take a seat behind the check-in desk, and start silently checking attendees off your spreadsheet list one by one, but the line of forlorn attendees never ends. And once attendees actually make it into your event, what are they actually doing? You have no idea…
If you’re sitting at your desk with your hand raised in the air, or you’re busily chewing a fingernail while your mind races, we’re with you. Here’s a quick run-down on how to make your event’s check-in process run smoothly:
How Onsite Technology Improves the Attendee Experience:
1. Check-in Attendees
Gone are the days of highlighting spreadsheets to check attendees in. You need a way to check them in efficiently, get them through the line, and also capture information necessary for reporting -- and it exists! OnArrival is the first event check in app that’s entirely self-service. Using an app to run your check in onsite enables you to manage your attendees in ways typically only seen at a major tradeshow/conference, at a fraction of the cost.
You can collect payments quickly and securely just by swiping a credit card, which is great for walk-in attendees or registrants with an outstanding balance due. OnArrival allows organizers to sell additional items like t-shirts, books, raffle tickets or collect donations.
2. Set Up Self-Service Registration
Go even one step further, and deploy OnArrival in Kiosk Mode. You’ll easily impress your attendees and reduce staffing needs during the check-in process. Attendees can register, check in, pay, check in their guests, and preview/edit/print their name badge all on their own.
3. Print Badges Wirelessly
Pre-printing name badges is archaic -- there are always changes onsite, new registrations, or errors on the badge. Now, you can preview and make any needed edits to name badges onsite before printing them on-demand as attendees arrive. No more pre-printed badges that can be error-prone and need to be sorted through. Technology makes designing your badges a cinch and gives you control over exactly what to include, like attendee type, registered sessions, or dietary preferences. A number of modern badge technologies are also now available, including QR Codes and RFID.
4. Track The Entire Attendee Journey
Technology helps you capture everything that attendees are doing throughout your events – from the sessions they attended, to the demos they watched, to the booths they visited.
You can better understand your attendees’ interests and needs and build more complete profiles of them – you’ll know what topics, products and services they’re most interested in, as well as how hot of a lead they are, so you can tailor event follow-up to be relevant to them. This deeper understanding of prospects and customers allows you to create more effective campaigns that increase conversions, accelerate the sales cycle, and build customer relationships.
5. Get Real-Time Reg Numbers
As a planner, accessing the OnArrival app gives you real-time insight into who’s checked in versus your registration numbers. You can also track check-in and check-out times for sessions, which is great if your event awards attendees with continuing education credits.
Having this onsite data is key for any modern event organizer. You can use the insights to make on-the-fly changes and improvements at your events. The data will also help you understand peak check-in times, so you can improve staff allocation at future events.
6. Reduced Staff Hours Needed for Check-In
One of the biggest benefits of adopting technology for the check-in process? Not having event staff onsite for the check-in process. That also means you don't have to spend precious pre-event hours training your staff, nor do you have to spend tons of event staff hours on the first day of the event. So, ditch the spreadsheets and breathe a big sigh of relief!
7. Seamlessly Integrate Onsite Tech With The Rest Of Your Event Tech
To maximize the return on your events, integration of your onsite technology with the rest of your event tech is a must-have. This makes it simple to track attendees across every stage of their journey at your event: from registration, to check-in, to attending sessions, to visiting exhibitor booths, to post-event follow-up. You’ll have full insight into your attendees’ journey, and a wealth of data to prove your event’s ROI. And with all your data in one place, post-event reporting is a cinch.
McNeel Keenan is Senior Director Product Management at Cvent.