Every event planner wishes that, on game day, they could be everywhere at once, but unless the laws of physics have changed recently, its not going to happen. You're going to have to delegate and one of those places you'll definitely be delegating is at check-in.
The check-in procedure often gets little attention compared to the, I would argue, great importance of the process itself. Think about it. What is the first real interaction your guests have with your event, oftentimes, before they've even entered the venue? I'll give you a hint; it's your check-in team.
If your guests have problems getting in, you can bet it will color how the attendees anticipate the event will go. It's like putting yourself behind the 8-ball, and you don't want to make life harder on yourself. The event professional’s life is hard enough as it is. This is why the most important thing you need to do to have a smooth check-in process is to have a properly trained and properly equipped check-in team.
The most important thing you can do is to give the people on your frontline everything they need to succeed. To start, it's the 21st century. You should be using the event planning technology available to your advantage. Equip your team with a dependable and easy-to-use guest list app. Don't have your staff searching through pages and pages of names, wasting their time and more importantly your guests. Do everything digitally
Make time for going over check-in procedures. Make sure every one is up to date. One hour before the event starts meet with your check-in team and go over any problems that may arise. Some things to discuss:
- Where can staff send people not on the guest list?
- How should staff deal with event crashers?
- Can staff add new guests or does a senior member have to approve?
- Can guests of guests enter separately or do they have to come in together?
- Can guest substitutions be made?
- Are there any specific directions, i.e. obtaining a badge or pin, exit and re-entry rules?
- Where are coat check and bathrooms located?
Don't wait for problems and questions to arise. They invariably do. With event planning, it's always best to anticipate and the same is especially true for check-in. There will always be someone whose name isn’t on the list, or who is one more guest than allowed, someone who RSVP'd late. How you handle the situation is what’s most important, and more like than not, it won’t be you handling it, it will be your staff, and the only way to guarantee they represent you well is if you train and equip them well!
This article was brought to you by zkipster—Guest List Solutions, a guest list app that eliminates the need for paper guest lists at non-ticketed events, and written by Christina Olenick, content marketing coordinator at zkipster and check-in manager at countless New York City events. To find out more about how to set up event check-in, visit zkipster.com and download a free version of their latest eBook