How to Improve the Event Check-In Experience

Long lines and low-tech solutions don't cut it with today's attendees.

After a long day of travel, the last thing attendees want to do is stand in a never-ending queue when they arrive at the conference at last, or find that their badge and other materials aren't ready.

A poor check-in experience can leave a bad taste in someone's mouth for the rest of the event. Yet, 72 percent of meeting professionals say their process could be improved, according to Social Tables, an event-planning software provider.

Below, we've rounded up a few tips for streamlining your check-in process, which will lead to more satisfied attendees.

1. Don't Overlook Location

Site-selection checklists can be long. Planners must consider meeting room capacity, transportation options, venue security and costs. But there's one thing that should always be scoped out before any contracts are signed: the check-in location.

Accelevents, an event-ticketing company, advises selecting a spot near the entrance that allows for smooth foot traffic and will not get congested easily. Conference coordinators should also add ample signage and have enough staff members on site to guide guests to the check-in area.

2. Send a Pre-Event Email

To make sure attendees know exactly where to go at what time, it's important to send a pre-event email with those details. ActiveCampaign, an email-marketing software, recommends sending a reminder the day of the event, as well as the day before. 

Be sure to include key details such as check-in hours, how to get to the check-in area (will they need to ride the elevator to the second floor or go to a specific room?), and what, if anything, they should bring with them. Providing this information up front will ensure that everyone comes prepared and the check-in process is as smooth and swift as possible. 

3. Urge Attendees to Download the Event App

Event apps serve a number of purposes -- they can be used to send out surveys, connect attendees with one another over a private social network and even streamline check-in.

According to Bizzabo, another event-software company, people who download the app prior to the event can get push notifications on when and where to check-in. They can also scan a QR code when they arrive on site to check-in within minutes.

4. Set up Self-Check-In Kiosks

Another option for planners to consider is for attendees to check themselves in at self-help kiosks. Guests can enter their information manually, scan a QR code or even use facial-recognition software for live badge printing. 

Event-technology company Aventri reports that face-based registration can be used to print meeting badges in about nine seconds. It can also help improve security -- notifying the events team of anyone who has been flagged or banned from the conference. Whichever check-in method you decide, it's a good idea to have some staff members on hand to help out in case there are any technology issues or confused guests.