5 Pro Tips for Your Guest Check-In Area


by Laura M. Miller

Event Check-In: Last minute detail or critical element of event success? In a world where first impressions mean everything, we think the latter!

Does anyone remember studying “the halo effect” in sociology 101? This theory asserts that first impressions lead to an overall bias as to how follow up experiences are perceived. It’s a fancy way of saying that first impressions count, and pave the way to guests enjoying (or not enjoying) an entire event. Talk about a lot of pressure! For this reason, the importance of a smooth guest check-in cannot be underestimated. With over 20 years of event experience, Steve Feder, founder of CheckIn Tech, shares with Event Journal his 5 tips to make guest check-in areas both inviting and seamless:

1. Don’t Overwhelm Guests – Throwing around copious amounts of staff and signage isn’t always a fail-safe check-in approach. When possible, ensure that 1 smiling human being greets guests when they arrive, (versus a “Welcome” sign on an easel). A little personal warmth goes a long way!

2. Meet Guests at Eye Level – Greeters sitting behind traditional 6-foot tables should be reconsidered. There are times low banquet tables are unavoidable, but try using high-top tables instead. This allows greeters to meet and check in guests, eye to eye, and facilitates a more personable interaction.

3. Consider Your Ratios – Use the 100:1 rule. For every 100 guests, assign one individual to check them in. If check-in is more involved than simply looking up a name, then adjust this ratio. The appropriate ratio will yield an optimal check-in time of under 5 seconds to avoid long lines.

4. Avoid Alpha Order Check-In – Do you still use the old “A-F, G-L, M-P, Q-Z” signs that funnel guests to their respective check-in lines? This antiquated approach has been supplanted by more efficient, high-tech options, such as tablet check in. Typically, folks use alpha order when they need to distribute assigned name tags or guest materials. But we have a better solution for that too … read on!

5. Embrace Two-Step Check-In – One stop check–in is perfect for a seated formal event or cocktail reception. However, when name tags or materials assigned to specific guests are indicated, consider enlisting a two-step check-in process. It will speed things up and eliminate lines. Instead of handing out name tags and materials when a guest checks in, split the two procedures up. First, check the guest in using tablet technology. You can even use a service like CheckIn Tech (shameless plug). With tablet check-in, you eliminate the need to send guests to specific tables to check in. Instead guests approach anyone free with a tablet. Once guests have been verified and checked in, they proceed into the event and stop at a second table. This table has name tags and labeled materials displayed outwardly in alpha order. Guests help themselves, with a staff member on hand to assist. If someone can’t find their name tag or were added at the last minute, send that guest to a help desk where a name tag can be printed. This two-step system dissolves the stress and chaos associated with name tag check-in.

Remember, the event check-in area is THE introduction to your event! Consider the above tips and don’t minimize the importance of creating a positive first impression.

Steve Feder is the founder of CheckIn Tech, the #1 on-site, event check-in service in the country. Focus on your event and leave the equipment set up, orientation of volunteers and processing of guests to the experienced on-site managers, included in your packaged pricing. Want to take it up a notch? CheckIn Tech can also provide wireless printers for on-the-spot name tag printing and additional staffing, if volunteers are not available. Contact CheckIn Tech for additional information.



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