Kahle Williams is the CMO for CompuSystems, a premier event registration provider. He is a seasoned events industry executive, leader and strategist with a successful track record and 15-plus years of experience spanning marketing, sales, client management, operations and human resources.
Onsite Registration Best Practices for Reducing Wait Times and Improving User Experience
Onsite registration is often the first time attendees experience your brand. Long wait times and poor user experience can cause frustration and unwanted callouts on social media and discourage attendees from returning to future events. Here are some best practices to ensure a smooth and efficient onsite registration process so your attendees can quickly get their badges and take advantage of everything your event has to offer.
- Pre-Registration: Encourage attendees to pre-register for the event. Offer incentives such as early bird discounts or freebies like swag, drink tickets and parking reimbursement. Also, online registration should be quick and easy, especially for returning customers. Auto-fill contact information when possible to significantly speed up the process. If it takes longer than five minutes to register, it’s probably too long.
- Remote Self-Serve Kiosks: Think airport check-in. Implement self-serve badge pickup kiosks around the convention center for attendees to quickly print their badge before they arrive. Focus on areas where you expect a large inflow of people, such as airports, hotels and bus drop-off locations. Strategically placed kiosks can reduce foot traffic in the central registration area by up to 50%, which can be the most significant factor for reducing wait times and boosting customer satisfaction.
- Remote Self-Serve Carts: This option is like the self-serve kiosk above but is mobile. They can be moved around easily to busy areas. For maximum speed and efficiency, carts should have onboard battery power, Wi-Fi, and reliable scanning and printing capabilities to keep them running smoothly.
- Registration QR Codes: Include QR codes on strategically placed signage around the convention center for people to register on their smartphones. Then, the registration confirmation will direct them to nearby self-serve badge printing stations. Be sure your registration website is mobile-optimized and has a simple registration flow.
- Self-Serve Registration Stations: For attendees that did not register in advance, offer self-registration stations in your central registration areas. This technology allows attendees to register, pay and print their badge in just a few minutes. Furthermore, it reduces the number of registration counters and temporary personnel needed.
- Mobile Badge Printing App: Equip your team members with a handheld badge printing app to proactively alleviate long registration lines “on-the-fly.” Approach pre-registered attendees waiting in line, enter their name or registration number and direct them to a designated printer location to collect their badge. It does wonders for quickly clearing out bottleneck areas.
- Queue Management: Use queue management techniques such as floor markers, rope and stanchion, and signboards to guide attendees in an organized fashion. While simple management techniques may seem obvious, poorly organized registration areas can increase wait times by up to 35%. Consult your registration provider when designing your registration areas.
- Real-Time Updates: Provide real-time updates on wait times and any changes to the registration process to keep attendees informed and reduce frustration. Display updated information on the show app and registration dashboard or make it accessible via a chatbot.
- Feedback Mechanism: Collect feedback from attendees and exhibitors on the advance and onsite registration process to identify areas for improvement for future events. Offer a simple feedback form directly on the registration website or include a link to a survey in your registration confirmation email.
In conclusion, by implementing these best practices, you can ensure a smooth and efficient onsite registration process, reducing wait times and improving the overall experience for attendees. This will help you build a loyal attendee base, improve the overall success of your event and increase customer retention.