Almost everyone will make a good first impression, but only a few will make a good lasting impression, said author Sonya Parker. And what is a better way to make your guests’ first impression memorable than a smooth, painless check-in experience at your next event?
Gone are the days where the event check-in and registration desk was the first place your guests made a beeline to at your event. While vaccines that fight Covid-19 are slowly being rolled out across the world, it will be several months, maybe even a few years, before the world is rid of the deadly virus altogether. It will be a long time before physical events, as we knew them, will return, if at all.
Hybrid events are here to stay. Globalization was having the event industry inch closer to that reality, and the pandemic stepped hard on the accelerator and drove us right to it in record time. Hybrid events marry the best aspects of virtual and physical events. Whether you’re hosting a conference, a seminar, a summit or even a sporting or music event, you can use a format that has a small-scale in-person component, and an extended virtual component.
This is your cheat sheet for great hybrid event check-ins
Keep safety right on top
How event check-ins are conducted is going through a massive change. The concept of check-ins for virtual guests is a new paradigm, while for physical guests, a completely safe contactless process will be of prime importance. Check-ins will have to be completely paperless – your guests are not going to be too happy to accept a physical lanyard and sling it around their necks anymore. The smart use of technology will eliminate the need to do this altogether.
Keep your eye on unified data
Hybrid events mean your audience is in two buckets – those who are attending in person, and those attending from around the world through their devices. In order to receive a live view of the attendees during the check-in process, you will now need to capture data from both channels and make a unified view available. Your event data is invaluable, and you cannot let any of it slip just because it’s harder to consolidate. Choose event technology wisely, that will let you visualise your attendee statistics regardless of whether they dialled in or walked in.
Maximize the merits of physical check-ins
Your guests are already very familiar with the process of physical check-ins, whether it elicits a groan or delight from them. You will need to ensure that the best aspects of physical check-ins are still part of the experience:
Think about the best check-in experiences they are used to
Your guests are familiar with smooth, tech-driven check-in experiences, especially if they’ve travelled with the world’s best airlines and through the best airports. They expect nothing less from their event check-in experience.
Think about how consumers are used to instant gratification
Increasingly, consumers around the world are getting used to whipping out their mobile phones to get instant service – be it for food, to find their way, to find a means of transport, to get information quickly, or just about anything else. They expect that there will be instant access to the event the moment they arrive. A smooth check-in process, as simple as scanning a personalised QR code, will be the least they expect.
No one wants to think about long wait-times
No one likes to wait in long queues, while the event staff fumbles through hundreds of badges! Check-ins should be as quick as walking into the venue, not a minute longer. Your event staff can instead use their time and energy to welcome the guests, while ensuring the event runs like a well-oiled machine.
Think about where your staff’s time is best spent
You will not even need as much staff as you did before, if your check-in experience is tech-powered! Fewer people are needed to manage logistics and welcome your guests. Our customers are even shifting to self-check-in counters!
Think about all the things that can go wrong, and pre-empt it
Gone are the days when printed-out Excel sheets and stacks of paper covered the check-in desks – your event desk can now be more responsive and flexible. Change in the event timings? Last minute guests dropping in? Your caterers need an up-to-date number? Your event tech is much more adaptable to changes than anything before.
All of the positive changes that event tech brought to the physical check-in process continues to be critical for the success of hybrid events.
Boost the virtual check-in experience
Your guests may be dialling into the event from all around the world. They may attend select parts of the event, or all of it. Some of your sponsors command more of their attention than others. Regardless of where your guest is joining from, you still need to know who they are, what they’re here for, and make them aware of all that they are entitled to in this event. While there is no physical badge to give them, how they register and how they’re welcomed into the event is important, not just for them, but for you, the event organiser also.
- Guest data is key – you want to capture the most critical data that will inform your event logistics
- Guests care about the safety and privacy of their data – encoding of the QR code they use, ensuring that only the most essential data is captured, where the data is stored and who has access – these are all crucial aspects to think through carefully while designing your event check-in experience. GDPR compliance is mandatory!
- Guests need assurance about the reliability of the event platform, right from the get-go. Your check-in experience is the first impression that will bias their perception of the rest of the event. Your platform tech needs to be 100% reliable and any glitches should be completely invisible to the guests.
Hybrid events are here to stay – they are an opportunity to marry the best practices from the physical and virtual event worlds, and create a seamless, awe-inspiring experience for your guests.