A lot of things go into having a smooth event check-in process and the list changes from event to event. It can’t be broken down into 10 black and white steps. However, we’ve broken down 10 key elements that play a major role in having a successful onsite registration. Use these as a guide when planning your event and you’ll be on track to have happy attendees, fewer lines and less headache onsite.
Include every detail in what onsite registration will look like. This includes: what materials are needed, how many stations are involved and what each station looks like, how many staff or volunteers you’ll need, the roles each staff or volunteer will play, what registration looks like to attendees, etc. Be sure you have the supplies and materials you’re accounting for.
2. Map It Out
Put together a layout of what registration will physically look like in the venue. Map it out to scale and use the latest version of the layout that the venue can provide. This will help you visualize the flow and realize what items you may need to rent (extra chairs, tables, sign holders, stanchions, etc.).
3. Get Approval
Be sure the layout is approved by the venue, fire marshall, and your team. If the fire marshal approves a 7ft clearance between the doors and your first station, be sure you measure the space out during setup. Be sure that your layout gets the green light from the venue. They may be able to share lessons learned from previous events. It never hurts to ask the venue what layout’s they’ve seen that have been successful and what layout’s they’ve seen that haven’t worked well. Run the layout by your team to be sure everyone is able to share their input. It’s important to consider how your registration setup will impact the overall flow of the event.
Most of your help onsite at registration will come from volunteers. Start recruiting them early on. It’s always better to overestimate when it comes to volunteers. There will always be some that cancel at the last minute and there are always things that come up onsite that could use extra volunteers. So don’t be afraid to recruit more than you originally think you need. Plan out shifts that overlap so when new volunteers arrive, the previous volunteers can train them before leaving. Have your volunteers work at least two shifts but give them access to the event once they’re done working. This will keep them motivated and invested in sticking around!
5. Pre-event Communications
1-2 months before the event you should begin communicating day of logistics with attendees. Be sure to include information on registration. Outline the following information: venue location, any special instructions on arriving if needed, what time doors open for registration, what time the first session kicks-off, what time registration closes, what attendees need to bring to registration (ticket, ID, etc.), what information attendees need to check-in (name on ticket, order number, company name, etc.)
Be sure you’re also communicating with volunteers leading up to the event. Let them know where they need to go when they arrive, who they are reporting to, what role they’ll have, and the exact times of their shift. Giving volunteers all the information they’ll need ahead of time will mean they can get right to work when they arrive.
Plan out what signage you’ll need for registration. If the venue has multiple doors but only some are being used as an entrance, you may want to have signage pointing out where to enter. If you’re breaking down registration by last name be sure to create signage outlining which names go where. Keep in mind that registration will be a busy area so signs that can be read from overhead are better than signs that are eye level or on the ground.
7. Be Prepared – Extra Badges
If you’re having badges printed ahead of time order extra blank badges. You’ll have attendees who have recently registered, want to update the information on their badge, or need to transfer their ticket to a new attendee. You can print updated information onto clear labels and apply over blank badges. This lets you easily make changes onsite & is relatively unnoticeable.
8. Speaker & Sponsor Check-in
Have a line for general admission registration and then a separate line for speaker & sponsor registration. Some speakers will show up close to their session time and you don’t want them wasting time standing in line. A separate speaker check-in will help them get in the door faster. A separate line for sponsors is also helpful since they will most likely be able to check-in at different times than general attendees. A sponsor check-in also gives you the opportunity to share any sponsor-specific information that you may want to say as they check-in.
9. Speaker Runner
A speaker runner is a person whose job it is to escort speakers from registration to the green room. The speaker runner can communicate with your team to let you know when each speaker has arrived. Having someone escort the speaker to the green room ensures the speaker doesn’t get lost or distracted, is able to find the room, and stays on schedule if time is pressing.
10. Help Desk
Have a dedicated help desk where you can send attendees who are having issues finding their badge/ticket, need to change information on their badge, need to transfer their ticket to a new attendee or have a detailed question or request. Having a dedicated desk for these requests will keep the rest of registration running smoothly. The help desk is a great onsite location for your registration manager or the person who’s managed the tickets on the backend. In most cases, this person will have a very thorough understanding of the issues that may arise and will be able to quickly help attendees.
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