Registration is the face of your event. It is the first thing your attendees experience. Fortunately, there are some tried and true ways to ensure registration goes off without a hitch.
Although most people will pre-register for the event, you’ll still have to check them in as they arrive, give them an agenda, name tag and offer some guidance for navigating your conference.
Since the registration process is the first impression attendees have of your event, you’ll want to avoid long lines and make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible.
Tips to Ensure Registration Goes Off Without a Hitch
What Are Your Registration Goals?
What is your overall goal with registration at the event? Knowing the exact purpose behind your registration will help you know how to streamline the process.
- Do you need to collect more information from registrants?
- Do you need to collect some type of payment?
- Is there vital information you want to be sure they hear, have a print out of and a reminder throughout the weekend?
Once you know what your goals for registration are, take a closer look at those goals. Is there anything that can be tossed? The less you do at registration, the quicker the process will be. Instead of going over every workshop offered, can you provide an agenda and simply remind them to look at the agenda for a detailed list of workshops?
How to Set Up Registration
According to About Guide for Event Planning and hospitality and event industry expert Geoff Beers, a good rule of thumb is to have one volunteer per 100 registrants. So, if you have 2000 people pre-registered, then you’ll want 20 volunteers minimum.
Per eight-foot table, two people and registration materials should fit. If you have a large number of printed materials or goody bags, you may need to place an additional table to the side or behind each table.
So, for 2000, you’ll want a space large enough to accommodate at least ten tables. Skirt and cover the tables. It is also a good idea to either hang vinyl signs or secure them to the front of the tables. The signs should be in a simple bold font that matches your conference colors and should say “Registration”.
For a large number, you may want to set tables up by last names. So, you might have a table for A-E and another for S-U. Try to pay attention to how many attendees you have in each alphabetical category and divide them up evenly or you risk one table getting much more traffic than the others and the lines for that table backing up.
Think ahead about what you’ll need to register people. Will you use notebook computers and the hotel’s wireless connection? Then you’ll need electrical outlets so your computers don’t lose power and die mid-registration.
You’ll also need a backup plan should the hotel’s WIFI go down. For example, you might invest in a few temporary mobile hot spot devices or find volunteers who don’t mind using a bit of their data to create on the fly hotspots with their own mobile devices.
Choose a couple of people to be a runners should you run out of something, run into a major problem or need supplies from a nearby store.
Greeters Set the Tone
As attendees arrive, they may feel disoriented. They’ve likely traveled to the venue and may be uncertain about where to go to register and what to do.
Having a few greeters on hand can smooth this process and let attendees know everything is well organized. It can also help a first-time attendee feel more welcome and less anxious.
Greeters should all dress alike. Ideally in black slacks and a polo with your event logo. The greeters should also wear a name tag that labels them as greeters.
The greeters should be on the lookout for people looking a bit lost or even familiar faces from past events. A simple greeting with a warm smile works best. “Hello! Are you here for the XYZ Conference?”
If the person has simply wandered into the area and is not part of the conference, he will be impressed. If the person is there for the event, the greeter can then guide him to the correct table.
Look for Ways to Expedite Registration
Use online registrations and payments to speed up the registration process. For example, you could use Attendee Events to have participants register and pay and to update their information before they arrive. When they arrive, they’ll just need to each be handed a bag full of goodies, a schedule and a name tag.
Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression on how organized and professional this particular event is. Make sure the registration process flows smoothly and attendees will see the work and thought you put into the planning.
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