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As an event planner, one of your major responsibilities is anticipating problems. Even more important, is to have a solution at-the-ready so your client or your boss doesn’t have to worry.
Some of the most common problems arise during guest check-in, luckily they can usually be handled quickly and easily if you prepare beforehand. Here are the five biggest check-in hurdles and how to handle them seamlessly.
While some of your registered guests may never show up, you’ll also likely have to deal with a few unexpected attendees. Whether they never sent in their RSVP, missed the RSVP deadline, or brought along a plus one, it’s important to have a plan in place for those extra attendees.
Speak with your client ahead of time to determine how your check-in staff should handle those extra guests. You don’t want them to be caught off guard, especially since they are the first people your guests are encountering.
Decide who has the authority to allow additional guests into the event, and how they should be added to the guest list. Make sure you go over these questions with your client:
• Do additional guests need to be cleared with the client first?
• Can any of your check-in staff allow for additional guests or should one point person be assigned to handle all questions?
• Is there any additional information they need from unexpected guests?
Then, once you’ve planned on how to authorize extra guests, train your check-in staff on how to update your guest list. With a guest list app like zkipster, it’s easy to add new guests and plus ones to the list. And those lists are seamlessly synched for all of your staff to see the updates.
Once the doors open, you want your guests to start enjoying the event as soon as possible, and no one likes to wait in a slow line.
With traditional paper guest lists, event check-in can take forever as your staff flips through page after page of names. Using a check-in app on an iPad or other tablet, checking in each attendee only takes a few seconds. The faster you can move guests through the line, the happier they will be.
The other key when designing your check-in area is to provide an area just past check-in where guests can ask questions or find out information. That way your check-in staff can focus solely on greeting guests, and then direct any additional questions to a designated person. The most your check-in team should have to answer is where guests can find the coat check and the bathroom.
Handing Out Materials
Handing out name badges, wristbands, or escort cards as part of check-in can dramatically slow down your line and leave you with some very impatient guests.
One way to solve this problem is to create a smart layout that leads attendees away from the check-in tables to pick up their materials that are they are already on display.
Or further increase your efficiency and cut back on prep work, by setting up wireless printing via your guest list management software. By connecting your guest list app with a wireless printer, you can quickly handle name badge or escort card printing for each guest as they arrive. Not only will unexpected guests be able to have name badges or place cards, but you’ll also save by not printing materials for guests who don’t show up.
Living Up to the VIP Experience
While check-in is important for all of the guests of your event, it's especially important for your VIPs. You want to be sure they know where to go and that any of their needs can be accommodated.
The best way to manage this is to designate certain members of your staff as VIP or key account handlers, but alerting them when a VIP arrives can be a bigger challenge. Luckily, with a guest list app, you can enable internal staff alerts to subtly notify key team members and hosts when important guests check in.
Then, they can actively greet guests at check in and guide them through the event — no shouting across the room necessary.
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? The most common trick to crashing an event is to catch a glimpse at the guest list and pretend to be a guest who hasn’t arrived yet.
If you're using a paper list, keep it close and don't let anyone look at it, even if it seems like they're just trying to help you find their name. Train your check-in staff to ask how to spell the attendee’s name to help them find it before just showing the list to let a guest point it out. If you're using an app, get a privacy screen for your device to make it more difficult to see.
For high-profile events, your 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.
Preparing for these problems beforehand will ensure that your check-in will go quickly, smoothly, and securely. For more tips and advice on making your check-in process run smoothly download the Definitive Guide to Event Check-In e-book.
Attendees have expectations. Digitize your guest list management and check-in process to earn extra brownie points with your guests. Not to mention, you will also be better prepared for the unexpected. At the end of the day, your job is to make people happy. But you also deserve to enjoy the results of your hard work when the doors open. It is best to be organized from the beginning so you can relax. The perfect welcome starts with a smile.