By Samantha Stallard, Director of Marketing & Business Development
While we believe that your first impression with event guests begins with the initial email, check-in is traditionally seen as the starting point for the guest experience. Event guests expect a fast, easy, and seamless check-in experience, so they can begin enjoying the event as quickly as possible. A pleasant experience at check-in can stay with your attendees throughout the day and set the tone for what to expect, but a bad one can impact more than just the day for your business.
As guest management and CXM experts, one of our major responsibilities is anticipating problems. With that knowledge and experience, we have check-in solutions at-the-ready so our clients don't have to deal with any guest management issues during their events. Here are three check in disasters we've dealt with over the years and our tips for how to manage and alleviate them:
1. unexpected faces expecting to be let in
While some of your registered guests may never show up, you’ll also likely have to deal with invited guests who didn't RSVP or uninvited guests who expect to be accommodated. Whether they never responded, missed the deadline, or brought along a plus one, some surprise guests are important enough to make it past the check-in desk.
Make a plan ahead of time to anticipate how check-in staff should handle unexpected faces. Decide who has the authority to allow additional guests into the event, and how they should be added to the guest list. It's especially important that your staff not be flustered or caught off guard because they are the first people guests will encounter.
Be sure to record who came unannounced and keep a record of their attendance history in their attendee account record (humble brag, you can do all of this in the Concierge.com software).
2. slow check-in and a line that's just getting longer
No one enjoys standing in long line. This is especially true when your guests are waiting to be let in to an event and let the fun begin. For check-ins that involve multiple steps, such as handing out personalized credentials, collecting payments, or directing guests' to their next location, it’s easy for the check-in process to slow down, creating a bottleneck.
Before the event begins, review the following questions with check-in staff:
- What information will be collected from guests as they check-in? What can be collected ahead of time instead of onsite?
- What materials will need to be distributed to attendees? How can you organize your check in system to distribute these materials quickly?
- Are there different levels of guests? Will you need a VIP line to accommodate sponsors, featured guests, or other VIP attendees?
3. Party crashers that think they can outsmart the system
We already know how to handle extra guests, but what happens when someone shows up to your event that was never invited to begin with? Party crashers often get in by sneaking a peek at the guest list and pretending to be someone who hasn't checked-in yet. Make sure check-in staff to know to ask how to spell the attendee’s name to help them find it. And, if you're using an app (which you should be!), get a privacy screen for all tablets and device to make the screens more difficult to see.
For high-profile events, event crashers might already come with a prepared name. This can easily be handled by having a photo of each guest displayed on your check-in app. All it takes is uploading the photos of your guests. Not only will it make it easier on your check-in team, but it’s also an extra level of security for your event.