In-person Events: What To Look for in an Onsite Event Software Partner
After two years of virtual experiences, many people are eager to attend in-person events again. But in-person events can be daunting for organizers to plan and pull off — especially when the attendee check-in experience is on the line.
Over the last three months, the number of in-person and hybrid events hosted on Bizzabo’s Event Experience OS increased by 255% compared to the three months prior. The American Express Meetings & Events Global Forecast has predicted that 81% of events will have an in-person element this year.
Whether you’re new to in-person events or just want to maximize your efficiency, the right partner can make it easy to manage onsite event services such as check-in and onsite badge printing. The result is a smoother event experience for you and your attendees.
Best Practices for Event Registration and Check-in
Registration and check-in can set the tone for your entire event. A slow or confusing check-in process can impact an attendee’s overall event experience and even alter their opinion of your brand. You don’t want to make them wait in long lines, but you don’t want to rush them through the door.
To create a registration and check-in process that prioritizes efficiency while giving attendees a warm welcome, consider these best practices:
- Pre-event instructions: Before the event, send registrants a pre-event email with check-in tips, so they know what to expect before arriving. At the venue, post clear signs and instructions guiding people through check-in.
- QR codes: If you use QR codes, you just need to scan the code on someone’s ticket to pull up their registration information and check them in — no training or equipment required.
- Wearable event tech: Depending on your budget, high-tech badges, wristbands, and other wearables may not be must-haves for every event, but they can be a powerful data source. When attendees wear these devices, you automatically collect information like session attendance and engagement that can help you optimize future events.
- Self-service check-in kiosks: Attendees can check themselves in with self-service stations, speeding up the registration process and allowing event staff to focus on people who have questions or need extra help.
- Support staff: No matter how well-designed your event is, people will have questions, and technology may be fickle. As part of your contingency planning, ensure you have enough staff onsite to provide technical support and assist with check-in if needed.
How To Deliver a Seamless Event Experience
You have a few options for onsite services at your next in-person or hybrid event: do it all yourself or work with an event tech partner.
Option 1: Take a DIY approach.
Depending on the size and scope of your event — not to mention the size of your team — you could probably manage check-in, registration, and other critical event tasks manually with your team. This approach typically works best for smaller events, but you still need the right people and resources to make it happen. You would be responsible for:
- Training event staff
- Purchasing kiosks, printers, badges, lanyards, and other materials
- Troubleshooting software on your own
Although a DIY approach gives you full control over the experience, it can also sap limited resources that could be more effective elsewhere.
Option 2: Work with an onsite event services partner.
You’re an event maestro, but even the most seasoned event professionals need assistance sometimes. An onsite event partner can provide the hardware, software, and technical support you need to power up registration, check-in, and the overall in-person and hybrid event experience.
An onsite event partner offers the following onsite event services so you can focus on the attendee experience, not the technical details:
- Fully branded self-service and touchless check-in kiosks
- On-demand badge printing and QR code scanning
- Customizable badge design
- Automated lead retrieval for sponsors
- Real-time event data collection
4 Things To Look For in an Onsite Event Partner
If you decide to work with an onsite event partner, how do you know which one is right for you? A partner should provide the onsite event registration services detailed next.
1. Multiple Check-in Options
It’s vital to meet your participants where they are. Although some attendees want to check in with event staff so they can ask questions, others prefer a hands-off approach and want to check themselves in via self-service kiosks with built-in badge and name tag printers.
A partner that can accommodate different preferences and offer assisted and self-service check-in will be the most valuable.
2. Custom On-demand Badge Printing
Pre-printing badges can work for smaller events but slow the check-in process. Instead of searching for each person’s badge during check-in, look for a partner that enables you to print badges as attendees arrive. On-demand printing saves time and helps you accommodate last-minute changes (like misspelled names) without racking up additional costs.
You may also want to consider onsite badge printing software that offer a variety of customizable badge types and materials. Think sustainable options and smart badges with RFID technology.
3. Health and Safety Measures
Although many folks feel the pandemic is “over,” 59% of Americans are still extremely, very, or somewhat worried about COVID-19, according to a June 2022 poll from Axios and Ipsos. That being the case, event organizers must look for partners experienced in putting on safe events and using proven safety protocols to ensure attendees are protected.
The right event partner will understand the importance of putting on healthy, safe events and will provide and follow a variety of safety measures, including:
- Complying with all safety guidelines mandated by organizations, event producers, venues, and local governments
- Offering sanitization stations throughout the event space
- Making sure all equipment is sanitized before attendees arrive, throughout the day, and at the close of each day
- Wearing masks or other equipment in accordance with the event organizer’s protocols
- Setting up equipment in a way that adheres to the event organizer’s recommended traffic flow and spacing and social distancing requirements
- Following all of the event organizer’s onsite protocols and committing to healthy, safe behaviors throughout the event
- Using purpose-built health and safety tools, like Crowdpass, which enables event organizers to prescreen attendees to make sure they’re cleared to participate (e.g., by showing proof of vaccination or a negative test)
4. Stellar Customer Support
It may seem obvious, but the ideal onsite event partner is friendly, helpful, and dedicated to the attendee experience. They should offer the same level of support you’d expect from your team (because attendees won’t be able to tell the difference, after all).
Because unexpected challenges are part and parcel of any event, looking for a partner that offers multiple support channels is essential. Depending on the issue and when it arises, you should be able to contact your partner in the most convenient manner — whether that’s over Slack, a video call, the phone, or in person.
You should also look for an event partner that offers an integrated event management platform so you can leverage a team of professionals to ensure long-term event success for years to come.
Deliver Better Events With Bizzabo Onsite Services
If you want to deliver better, more engaging events, Bizzabo can help. Our self-service and fully customizable Onsite Services enable event organizers to transform the entire event experience with badge printing, contactless check-in, session scanning, lead capture, and more. Here’s why today’s leading event organizers choose Bizzabo’s Onsite Services:
- It’s fully integrated, with no need for additional software. You’ll find everything you need in the Bizzabo Onsite Command mobile app.
- It’s mobile-ready, with an app available on your rental device or in the Apple App Store.
- It’s always stable, with a system specifically designed for stability — even when WiFi is unreliable.
- It’s easy to set up, with the ability to get up and running in just a few minutes.
Whether you’re looking for a do-it-yourself solution or a complete full-service option, we’ve got you covered.
Bizzabox: The DIY Solution
The Bizzabox gives you all the tools and equipment you need to put on an event with up to 1,000 attendees, including the following:
- Aluminum stands
- WiFi router
- Prepaid T-Mobile data credit
Coming in two sizes (standard and large), the Bizzabox can be rented weekly or monthly. You can also add additional devices (e.g., session and lead scanning). When you order the Bizzabox, you get access to Bizzabo’s support team, including Bee, our virtual assistant, and direct access to our team via Slack and Zendesk.
Full-service Onsite Event Services
Want to lean on Bizzabo’s decade of experience with in-person events? No problem! Our full-service offering enables you to spend more time on your event and less on technical details.
When you choose this option, you get access to a team of onsite technicians that ensure the hardware is correctly set up and configured. In addition to offering onsite software support, these technicians will train your team if needed. Throughout the event, our technicians will regroup with you at the end of each day to make hardware or registration layout adjustments. Then, once the event is over, the technicians will break down all the equipment, so you don’t have to.
This option is best for events that meet the following criteria:
- Have more than 1,000 attendees
- Require hardware for session scanning
- Have sponsors with LeadMagnet scanning devices
- Require assistance setting up and breaking down equipment
If you have any questions throughout the engagement, technicians will be your point of contact. If you opt for onsite specialists, they’ll also meet your health and safety expectations to ensure a top-notch event experience.
Create Seamless In-person Events? Check!
The shift to in-person events is exciting, but it isn’t without its challenges. Limited budgets, dwindling event staff, travel restrictions, health and safety challenges, and changing attendee expectations won’t stop you from doing what you do best. Still, they certainly add more to your plate.
An onsite event partner can provide the support you need to navigate these changes, reimagine the in-person experience, and create meaningful events. Ready to check seamless in-person registration off your to-do list? Schedule a demo of Bizzabo’s Event Experience OS and onsite event services today.