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self-check-in : Making The Right First Impressions

If there’s one thing I personally appreciate when attending an event it’s no lineups – or if there are line ups the ones that are short and flowing, meaning I’m not standing around for hours or going through a series of ‘start-stop’ motions before making it to the plenary session.  Like most people, I want to just walk up, check-in and carry on.  But why not step this up a notch and actually make the registration experience one that just feels good?

Think about it – cars have gone from boxes on wheels to become sleeker, more attractive and aerodynamic.  Atari-esque icons and graphics have evolved into the smooth sexy lines of icons and hopefully, all of us have ditched those clunky 3D buttons and drop shadow elements from our websites.  It’s all part of that continual progression towards optimum aesthetic and ergonomic refinement.  A reduction in friction, if you will.  So if it can be done with these things, why can’t the same principles be applied to registration?

This is what we’ve worked tirelessly to achieve some impressive numbers in our check-in process.  Imagine 25,000 attendees checking in with an average wait time of 4 to 8 minutes.  We’ve made that a reality – streamlining the process of event self-check-in.   Plus the visuals are smart, beautiful and branded leaving you with a feeling of happiness.

Attendees are advised – there’s no double dipping allowed.  If your badge is printed, move along! Try to double dip and you will be alerted by the screen with a friendly message to see a human!

If you’ve forgotten your self-check-in barcode, no problem – just look yourself up and print away. Now, for those folks trying to be smart and print someone else’s badge – better have your ID ready. Yes, we police that. No cheating, remember!

So here’s the deal; things every event organizer needs to think about to make sure you don’t have folks starting to spread a picnic in your lines.

  1. Cut down the chatter: When it comes to self-check-in, the goal here is to get everyone flowing constantly. My best advice here is to hire good front line temp staff. Do not put members of your organization to staff check-in. Your “Hi’s” turn into “How was your weekend?” and “We miss you!” to “OMG, I just had a baby in line!” (Yes, this actually did happen). 
  1. Go easy on the handouts: the goal of the self-check-in is to get everyone a badge and flowing into the event quickly. I think I mentioned that already, but let’s do it again. Get your attendees their badge and work out a solution for handouts around that.  Giving out a badge holder is fine; stuffing the badge into a holder is not. Handing out tickets and wristbands is cool, tearing tickets and wrapping wristbands on every attendee is not. This essentially will take you from a 15-second encounter to up to 2 to 3 minutes per attendee. 
  1. Greeters: have strong, nice greeters. Your greeters need to create an amazing first impression – making your attendees feel warm, welcomed and that they’re cared about, but at the same time are able to filter those folks who are pre-registered and have their barcodes ready from those who don’t. This really makes a difference. If at all possible, have a secondary greeter to encourage those folks who are not quite as keenly organized to have their barcode ready to go. And if this fails, employ tertiary greeters to push them to the end of the line (just kidding, but in all seriousness greeters who are poised to help move these folks through by looking up their name in the system on a tablet and showing their barcode).