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Written by Craig Drushella, Onsite Operations and Logistics Manager at CDS. In the past eight years, Craig has managed onsite operations at more than 180 events across numerous industries.
Planning registration for your event can be stressful, especially if opening day lines have been a concern in the past. Wouldn’t it be great if every year you had all the space you needed in the convention center to handle your expected crowds? The reality, however, is that there are always limitations to overcome at every venue, and often the obstacles are out of the show manager’s control. Here are three modern methods you can use to reenergize your registration setup onsite, move traffic, and shorten lines.
Knowing exactly where and how to offer hotel registration is the key to creating a smooth and efficient process. Determining whether you want to offer a full-service registration area or just a badge pickup area for pre-registered attendees is a critical decision to make. Offering full service registration includes payments and upgrades, requiring more knowledgeable staff to be present and the potential for longer lines. All attendees and exhibitors appreciate the convenience of having one less step in the check-in process and avoiding the need to pick up their badge at the convention center. The most effective hotel registration areas are close to the lobby and along the convention center traffic routes. Communicate your hotel registration plans with all attendees through targeted email campaigns, and be sure lobby signage clearly displays location and hours.
Shuttle Bus Registration
While providing a shuttle bus service is convenient for your attendees, bottlenecks can be created in registration if shuttles arrive at the same time. There is, however, an opportunity to expedite check-in. Inquire with your registration vendor about mobile registration capabilities and the ability to print badges remotely for preregistered attendees or exhibitors. Best practices for shuttle bus check-in are to scan registration confirmations when people enter the bus at the hotel, during the bus ride to the convention center, and while exiting the bus at the venue. Once attendees arrive to the venue, they are dropped off at the registration area where their printed badges are waiting for pickup. Consider staggering where attendees are dropped off at the convention center to lessen the time needed for check-in.
The latest satellite registration concept event managers are considering is airport registration. In many ways, offering check-in at airports is similar to offering hotel registration as a matter of convenience and a benefit to your attendees. Potential obstacles working with the airport directly, such as logistics and multiple vendors, must be considered and analyzed. The airport will want to discuss IT, staffing, and security standards. Equipment will need to travel to and from, and in some cases, outside of the city limits of your event. Examples of factors to consider include whether the airports have built in offices that can be used for registration or if counters need to be constructed. Additionally, there could be limitations on which terminals are available to use within the airport.
Let’s face it—no one wants to wait in lines. Attendees want to be constantly moving to maximize time away from the office. Offering modern methods for check-in and registration can enhance any show experience. By creatively spreading out your registration area, you can avoid the buildup of large crowds that can create an appearance of disorder.