By Kat Thomas

The registration and check-in process associated with live events is a topic always up for debate, and every event organizer has a strong opinion. If smooth, it can be one of the greatest aspects of your event. If confusing, inconsistent, or difficult, it will be one of the largest pain points for your participants. In this day and age, there is no reason for it to be the latter. Participants should leave your website and check-in tent thinking, “that was easy” and quickly transition to the main event.

We made the change to utilize technology to streamline the on-event check-in process a few years ago. The transition from a paper based system to online didn’t come without hiccups, but what change doesn’t? Data is downloaded from our existing CRM (Luminate) and uploaded into Chronotrack. This system allows us to track fundraising, teams, rewards, etc. for each participant that checks-in and to assign bibs dynamically. If you haven’t made the technology jump, there are a few basic tips you should keep in mind as you decide what software is right for your event.

Time is money, right? Respecting participants’ time when it comes to pre-event registration and checking-in on-event is the first step to success. This will help ensure retention numbers once registration has started and will improve the overall outlook of their experience while on-event.

Remember to always be user-friendly. This year, MuckFest® MS went from being a mobile-friendly registration platform to being mobile-first. When everyone is carrying around a tiny computer in their pocket, why wouldn’t we all go mobile first? The world is at our fingertips. Work with your IT team to bring them into the world of your event (ok, I’ll shush the geek in me). What can I say about it, you ask? Participants and volunteers are happy, and survey scores are on the rise!

To the point
It’s important to be sure your procedure is down, that instructions are simple, and that the process is easy to relay. This will help volunteers to facilitate check-in and increase the overall satisfaction of your participant experience.

This also goes for your plan B. We all know that the unexpected worst-case scenario can happen. A once secure Wi-Fi signal can fail, or you could experience massive loss of power. Your Command Center could burn down…the list goes on! Always make sure you have a printed participant list in case technology fails you, because the last thing you need is to find yourself on the wrong end of a technology snafu.

Keeping these simple tips will enhance your experience with registration and check-in, but more importantly, it will improve the experience of your participants and volunteers.

Kat Thomas found her niche at Event 360 in 2010. As the Event Production Manager for MuckFest® MS she spends most of her time working onsite and connecting with the community. 

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