Popular events draw huge crowds.
Crowds call for a streamlined ticket scanning and check-in flow. You don’t want to keep people waiting longer than necessary.
So how do you handle check-ins?
Let’s look at five ways to check people in, along with their pros and cons.
1. Manual check-in
This is the classic way to check people in. You simply cross out names on a printed guest list.
While decidedly low-tech, some venues still prefer their trusty A4 sheets. There’s just something comforting about physically crossing a name off the list with a pen.
A somewhat more upgraded take on this is to pull up a digital version of the guest list on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Then you can virtually cross guests off as they arrive.
The best thing about manual check-in is that it requires almost no setup time and very few expenses. However, it certainly limits the amount of guests you can process at a time; it’s by far the slowest method of checking people in.
To speed things up, you could try…
2. Smartphone ticket scanning
It’s easy to turn your camera-equipped smartphone or tablet into a perfectly capable barcode scanner. All you need is one of the many apps made for this exact purpose.
If your attendees’ tickets use scannable barcodes or QR codes, a smartphone camera can read these. Many scanning apps can also integrate with your ticketing / guest tracking platform and will automatically update the check-in status of your guests as they come in.
This approach saves you the hassle of having to manually look through names on a guest list, verify their tickets, and cross them off by hand. It doesn’t require purchase of specialised equipment, plus many scanner apps are completely free to download.
Yet smartphone scanning still has the limitation of relying on a person being present at each check-in point to scan.
3. Professional barcode scanners
You might also go for a professional barcode scanner. These are typically handheld and capable of scanning both barcodes and QR codes.
Pro scanners have a slight edge over smartphones when it comes to scanning tickets.
Smartphones are designed to perform a number of different tasks and are therefore not optimised specifically for ticket scanning. Professional barcode scanners, on the other hand, are single-purpose devices. They tend to be more reliable and efficient at quickly scanning multiple barcodes.
There’s always the hybrid approach: connecting a handheld scanner to your smartphone or tablet. The scanner will pick up the barcode information quickly. The phone can then help store and send the information to whatever software you use to keep track of guests.
Pro scanners may end up being a bit of an investment, depending on the amount of entry points at your event and the exact functionality you require. They also don’t really solve the issue of having to be operated by a person.
4. Turnstile access
If your events always take place at the same venue, installing turnstiles may just be the way to go.
Turnstiles usually have a built-in barcode and QR code scanning functionality. Plus they don’t require any additional staff to operate. (Although you’d probably want to have someone standing by to assist guests and ensure nobody tries to sneak their way in.)
For fixed-location events with a large number of attendees, turnstile access will dramatically speed up visitor flow.
Even so, turnstiles can be a major investment and don’t make much sense for one-off events or events that change location frequently.
5. RFID bracelets
RFID bracelets have become increasingly popular in recent years. There’s a good reason for that.
RFID bracelets replace printed or digital tickets and can easily be used in conjunction with the other check-in methods we’ve outlined.
You might use an NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet to scan such bracelets. Or you could invest in a turnstile that opens upon scanning an RFID bracelet.
In addition to that, RFID bracelets have plenty of other benefits. They can be coded with an attendee’s individual information to let them reclaim personal vouchers or gain entry to areas restricted to other guests. They can help organisers better track floor traffic. And so on.
RFID bracelets come in a range of prices, so it’s usually possible to find a setup that fits your budget.
An event platform FOR any check-in...
In the end, event organisers will likely opt for a mix of ticket scanning and check-in methods. No matter your chosen setup, you’ll want to have the right guest management software and tools in place.
If you’re using an event management platform for your events, make sure it supports your way of doing business, including guest check-in.
Billetto Enterprise is a complete event management platform that works out of the box with whatever ticket scanning method you use. It’s designed to fit into your existing setup and integrate with any business software and third-party apps you have in place.
If you’re looking for a platform to manage your events, Billetto Enterprise should fit the bill.
To learn more about our scanning and check-in suite, check out our “Scanning” page: