First impressions are, as the old cliché goes, everything. It might feel like something of an afterthought, but the way you handle guest registration at your event can set the tone for the entire day.
Guests that feel frazzled and harassed by their sign-in experience within the first five minutes of their arrival will hardly feel enthused and inspired to get the best out of the conference from the word go and, once the atmosphere is sluggish, you’ll have to work hard to get the energy levels back up again.
If you’re going to put your best face forward and start your event on just the right note, you’ll need to run your on-site registration and check-in like a well-oiled machine.
Here are seven ways to do just that.
- Pre-register where possible
The most straightforward way to ensure that arriving at your event will be as painless as possible is to let them do it well in advance. Establishing a reliable system for allowing people to register online and print their tickets will keep the lines moving and cut down your on-the-day frustrations and delays immeasurably.
- Set up well in advance
If you’re still in preparation stage when people arrive, expect to hear a lot of clucking tongues and see a lot of very irritable faces. Nothing screams disorganisation like an event that isn’t totally visitor-ready when the first few people arrive – even if they’re early – and it will shape their opinion of you for the rest of the day.
- Never underestimate the importance of great staff
When you seek out your speakers, seminar leaders, producers, caterers and technical team, you’re looking for the best of the best, right? So why, when it comes to the very first faces people see – the people they ask for help and directions, and are most likely to interact with – do so many event co-ordinators fail to give their hiring the same thought? Friendly, helpful staff that have been properly trained for the role will be an invaluable asset to your team. Don’t forget it!
- Have experienced events managers on hand
Faced with thousands of impatient people all arriving at once, people can quickly panic and chaos ensues. At times like this, you need a safe pair of hands to direct the troops. Make sure there’s someone senior around to get everyone over this first, and all-important, hurdle.
- Plan out your assembly line
Make sure that everyone on the greeting team is 100% sure of their role. Lay everything and everyone out as logically as you can, for example: your greeter, ready at their computer to look up names of people as they arrive, followed by the printer and the person manning it, someone to quickly assemble and hand over the name tag, someone to hand out programmes or bags of goodies, someone to point people in the right direction so they don’t hover or cluster around the entrance. It might sound like overkill, but the slightest delay will cause a giant pile up.
- Monitor the queues
Nothing sends a queue-r into a bad mood faster than realising they’ve been in the wrong line all this time. To keep everyone on the right track, appoint a couple of cheerful “line monitors” to work their way along, greeting people, asking who they are or where they’re headed and directing them to where they need to be.
- Assign counters by purpose
Don’t try to push everyone through the same funnel. If you have VIPs, speakers, headline sponsors and the like arriving, make sure you have a separate check-in to ensure their experience is especially swift. Think about where you’ll send press visitors or anyone else who might have special requirements that could potentially hold up the line. Be prepared for any eventuality – if you’ve thought it through well enough, no curveballs will mess up your perfectly orchestrated registration!
Have any great tips of your own for keeping events running smoothly throughout the day? Share your thoughts in the comments below.