I’ve noticed recently in working with conferences and events some organizers have embraced technology in new and remarkable ways. For example, electronic fobs can be given to attendees to scan at a vendor booth to trade contact information, e-brochures, and more without having to keep up with all the paper. A TweetWall or InstaWall is another great way to engage with attendees, follow the conversations happening throughout the event, or keep up-to-date with the tone and atmosphere of the event. However, with all the new technology and resources available, it is not uncommon to walk up to an event’s registration table to find staff or volunteers checking-in attendees with spreadsheets and using a highlighting system of yellows, greens and blues that would make even the most organized person scratch their head.
To help you out, here are some popular apps and programs that you can utilize to streamline the event check-in process; allowing you more time to greet presenters, make sure the icebreaker reception is all set, or at the very least, take a deep breath before everything kicks into high-gear!
This company does events large and small from meetings to music festivals. It is also free to use if your event is free. Simply fill in your event details and choose a ticket style or name badge. There are a range of options to reach new audiences or promote to your own audience. For a small fee, they can also handle registration fee payment processing. At check-in, simply scan an attendees ticket or name badge using their free app that is available on all platforms. Using the app dashboard, you can track registration fees, attendees and more. For a large or complex event, Eventbrite can even do the work for you.
zkipster is one of the highest rated apps for event check-ins. Average check-in time is about 2 seconds per guest, which will help speed up your check-in lines. If your event has any VIP guests, simply flag their name to receive an email alert when they check-in so that you can come greet them; you can also flag someone who owes a late registration fee. This app makes it easy to add or edit names on the fly and gives you real-time statistics on guest attendance. It has the ability to integrate with Twitter and Instagram, and also provides extensive analytics. If you need to print name badges on site, a wireless high-speed printer connected to the guest list app is all you need! If you are expecting a large number of guests, you can provide multiple tablets connected to Wi-Fi and they will automatically sync together.
For a clean and simple event check-in app, try ClickOn. This app allows you to import an Excel document or Google Sheets with your guests basic information. You can still add guests on the fly, search guests, and even allow them to take a selfie at check-in so you have their picture for the remainder of the conference. The app can work without Wi-Fi, but internet is necessary for login and synchronization with other devices. New features now include support for NFC (near field communication) badges.
EasyTag is an event check-in and badge printing application all rolled into one. You can import attendee information from various ticketing platforms like Eventbrite or from a spreadsheet. It has a built in QR and barcode generator, built in themes, as well as the ability to print attendee types such as “First Timer” or “Speaker.” This app works on Android, Apple, and even has a Web Platform to work from your laptop.
VisitorPlus is not your standard check-in program. It goes well beyond your standard name badge and event check-ins, so this may not be for everyone. This program was designed to handle pre-registration, registration, check-ins, check-outs, watch lists, emergency evacuation lists, and even door entry access using RFID (radio frequency identification) badges. This cloud-based database allows you to store event data year-over-year without ever having to start over. The real-time analytics can also help you spot and interpret trends among your event attendees, even to the point of using historical data to give you actionable insights to your event. If your event is by invite only, you can use your iPad to scan their state issued ID card or driver’s license to verify identity and check-in guests. It’s easy to import and export guest lists in Excel or CSV formats; it can also be branded with banner ads and can even store photos of each attendee. Something remarkable about this program is its security. Through the iPad app, an attendee’s fingerprint is their sign-in, making it safer than most of the other apps and programs I’ve seen.
Like with most apps and software, sometimes the free or trial version is all you need to get through your event. However, if you are hosting multiple events a year and often with larger audiences, it may behoove you to invest in one of the more comprehensive packages that simplifies your life and makes it easier for your staff or volunteers to process check-ins. The check-in table is such a very small part of your event, but it’s often the first impression that your attendees get. Who knows? Maybe the money you could save paying for check-in tables, tablecloths and table skirts event-after-event would be enough to cover the cost of the app. Ditch the binders of spreadsheets and scattered pens and highlighters for something that is faster, more organized, more secure, and lets you take the time to greet VIPs or help a speaker get his presentation queued-up.