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A Guide to A Smooth Sailing Onsite Event Experience

Nothing else can make your event attendees more frustrated than a bad onsite event experience. For those who are wondering about the term, the ideal “onsite experience” ensures attendees feel welcome and taken care of at the very first moment they arrive at the event venue – and first impressions are, as the cliché goes, everything. The onsite experience can set the right tone for the entire event, or be a party pooper.

If you are going to put your best face forward, you will need to run your onsite registration and check-in as smoothly as summer cherries.

Read on, as we will show you step-by-step how to do just that!

A Dry Run Keeps You From Running Dry

Wedding Rehearsal Dry Run A Guide to Smooth Sailing Onsite Event ExperienceEven a wedding needs to be rehearsed. Source

When it comes to event organizing, the good old military motto “the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war” still holds true. A dry run or fire drill with the entire team will expose the things that won’t work and missing elements in your seemingly perfect plan. This allows the team to review their execution and make it better on the day of show time.

Usually for big projects, people from different teams in the organization come together to organize an event. It is likely that some of the folks are unaware of the risk assessment and planning in the beginning. A dry run is a great time to bring everyone on the same page. Likewise, it is a chance to brief everyone on the greeting team of his or her role during the event. Ensure they know what attendees expect and where to find the answers to most questions.

Set Up As Early As Possible

A Guide to Smooth Sailing Onsite Event Experience Venue SetupSource

Setting up involves many activities and a significant amount of stress if time is too short. It is important that you begin setting your event at the venue as early as possible. Make a full checklist for setup activities and have a sufficient number of people on hand to carry out tasks.

Conduct a final tie-down meeting with the venue team: the front desk lead, concierge, housekeeping, catering and so on. These are your go-to people. Let them know all your expectations and requests. They will be able to offer you great help with their expertise.

If you are still at the preparation stage when people arrive, expect that the attendees will have the first impression that you are disorganized and amateurish – even if they are early – and it will shape their opinion of you for the rest of the day.

Use a Smart Event Registration and Check-In System

A Guide to Smooth Sailing Onsite Event Experience Smart Event Technology Event Management Platform GEVME

So we’ve come to everyone’s favorite part of going to a highly anticipated event – waiting in line to get in! Just kidding. Yet, just because event check-in is a compulsory part of going to an event doesn’t mean it can’t also be an enjoyable onsite experience.

You need more than Excel sheets for that. Whether you use a Mobile Ticketing App or Event Management Cloud-based Software, a smart registration and check in system to handle the data collection while managing check-in and onsite sales in real time will be of great value. This makes for convenient reporting and follow-up after the event.

Scan Tickets with Barcodes

If you have a large-scale event, scanning tickets is faster than browsing names. The fact that attendees tend to forget to bring their invitation cards adds to the overall time taken to clear the queues. This impacts the starting time of the event, as well as the overall event experience. Scanning tickets can be printed barcodes or QR codes and be scanned from a ticketholder’s laptop, smartphone or tablet. This also ensures security as a barcode is assigned to each attendee’s identity. Read about how to prevent uninvited attendees with unique barcodes/QR codes.

Event E-Ticket with Barcode and QR Code GEVME Sample E-Ticket with Bar Code and QR Code

When GEVME was supporting a big event for Pico Art, we assigned QR codes associated with the guest classification and seat number for VIP guests. Name badge printing was only triggered when an attendee checked in. (Is this a good way for e-ticketing to boost corporate social responsibility?) This helped with the last minute changes of seats as any updates of allocated seats were done via the database management module within our system, where each guest is assigned their own QR code.

Set Up a Digital Self Check In Kiosk

Picking Up Badge Set Up a Digital Self Checkin Kiosk A Guide to Smooth Sailing Onsite Event Experience

Stop mailing out your badges before the show. Source

Employ self-registration on-site kiosks where walk-ins or attendees can check-in, make payment and produce a badge. These kiosks will significantly reduce your queue times – especially for large-scale events. Most big shops and supermarkets have self-checkout counters. More and more countries have adopted the Immigration Automated Clearance System as well. Clearly, they are all looking for an efficient solution for reducing queue times.

self checkin kiosk A Guide to Smooth Sailing Onsite Event Experience

Nearly 90% of guests were checked-in using at the wireless tablet kiosks at a Supreme Court Singapore event. Source: GEVME Case Study

The Supreme Court of Singapore brought over 500 distinguished guests from the legal industry together to kick off the opening of the legal year. With the help of self check-in kiosks, they were able to clear about 60 attendees within 5 minutes. “It [the platform] also contributes tremendously in terms of time and manpower savings,” said Charmain Lee, Senior Head (Office of Public Affairs) for Supreme Court Singapore.

One Important Note When Leveraging Event Technology

smartphone battery A Guide to Smooth Sailing Onsite Event ExperienceThe shortest horror story: Flat Phone Battery. Source

Ensure quality Wi-Fi accessibility and full batteries for your devices. Double-check that you have a strong accessible wireless network or 3G connection and be sure to charge your devices at all times.

Make Queuers’ Waiting Pleasant

queues for iPhone A Guide to Smooth Sailing Onsite Event ExperiencePeople queuing for iPhone 6 in China. Source

Sometimes, queues are inevitable at certain events. The last time I went to the Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios event, my total queuing time was almost 5 hours. However, if you look on the bright side, there was an opportunity for engagement during the long wait! It’s not often you get so many of your guests right in front of you! (And they won’t go anywhere!)

Many event organizers opt for ambient music during registration. Some serve freshly baked brownies and hot coffee. If possible, talk to them! Get to know them, collect feedback for future event check-in exchanges and get them hyped for your event. It is also important that everyone is queuing in the correct lines. At one of our customers’ events, we set up three queues based on the seating classification, with an additional queue for VVIP guests who are accessing from the car park. We then assigned some queue monitors to greet the attendees and ushered them to the right queues.

Don’t Forget Backup Plans

Everyone loves things to go according to plan, but we must face the reality. Even the best-planned event is subject to the whims of fate and inconveniences of things going wrong.

What happens if a restroom is out of order? What happens if the venue’s Wi-Fi goes down? If a speaker gets sick, do you have someone who can fill in for the same topic? If there’s a disruption with public transportation, will people still be able to get to the venue? What if it rains on the day you planned the perfect outdoor event?

My advice? Try to think of everything that could possibly go wrong, and prepare for it. Go out of your way to minimize the risk of ruining your life your event.

What do you think?

Do you have any thoughts on improving the attendees’ onsite experience? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

If you still crave more tips on delivering the best onsite experience, read on these recommended articles from our Blog!

Cloud-Based Event Management for Governments and Enterprises Talk

Enhancing Onsite Experiences of Attendees

7 Tips to create an Awesome Onsite Event Experience

10 things you need to know about Online Registration

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