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You focus on every detail when planning any event, right? Don’t overlook your registration and check-in process. This is most likely your attendees first interaction at your event and it sets a stage for their whole experience; never-mind that everyone wants to get to the business at hand. Realize the importance of planning a well-organized check-in and registration area.

There is a big difference between having a desk with one person checking people in and conference set up with a tech-based process. Walk yourself through the steps to help best determine your needs.

Here are five event check-in tips that can guide you toward success:

Adequate Space & Staffing

1. Choose your check-in area carefully. Layout may not be a big deal with a small event, but the more people in attendance the more important this becomes. Funneling a large number of people unto a small area is the fastest way to turn crowd against you! Cramped quarters are not fun (and potentially not safe); you don’t want people second-guessing their decision to attend before they ever join the action.

2. Have enough people working to ensure that check-in lines don’t become too long. The number of people you staff with this responsibility should be based on the number of people you are expecting to attend. Test how long a single check-in takes. Look at your allotted check-in time according to you itinerary. Finally, estimate your number of registrants and total attendees. If 2000 people are checking in over the course of an hour, and check-in takes 1 minute…you do the math!

It is better to have too many people check-in guests (or consider a self-check-in process) than not enough. Nobody wants to wait in a long line. Remember, this is a professional event not a line for a rollercoaster!

Directions: Signs & Lines

3. It may seem obvious to you were registration is located, but nothing is worse than showing up at an event and not understanding where you should go. Use signs to guide people. Even if your event space has one entrance, designate your registration area with a sign. Assume your guests have never been to your event space and that they may not even realize registration is required!  It is an absolute must to display signs that guide attendees in the right direction.

Hint: think about all the ways in which your guests may arrive at your event and place signage providing direction at all potential entrances.

4. Designate separate lines when applicable. You may use multiple lines due to sheer volume or because different attendees have different requirements – a pre-registered will-call vs. payment and registration at the door. You may have a separate line for vendors or media. Lines make it easier to funnel people in the right direction, keeping your check-in better organized and moving people through the process more quickly.

If your event is very large or the registration process is long, assign staff to greet attendees prior to reaching the check-in desk – working the lines themselves – directing traffic, providing information and answering questions. A long line can create a vibe you don’t want; interacting with your lines can quickly lighten the mood. Think about when you visit the Registry of Motor Vehicles, you’re a whole lot more calm when someone takes a moment to tell you you’re waiting in the right line with the right documentation.

Technology & Record Keeping

5. Take advantage of technology. OnArrival from Cvent is a popular solution for those who need assistance with onsite event registration. Check-in technology speeds up registration significantly, and facilitates intake of valuable data while often reducing manpower requirements.

Most useful check-in technology will search your guest list based on name, company, confirmation number, form-of-payment or email. Furthermore, you can use filters to find out who has checked in and who has yet to arrive; bar codes can track entrance and exit traffic or who attends which breakout sessions.

Hint: check-in data can be incredibly useful when doing your post-event review and attendee follow up.

For more information regarding OnArrival from Cvent, check out this article as well as this one.

With these five check-in tips showing you the way, it is easy to ensure success during this crucial part of your event.