We all know first impressions are important, and while you’ve probably already had a number of virtual interactions with event attendees as they perused your event lineup, got signed up to attend, and perhaps even participated in crowd sourcing efforts like helping to select topics or speakers, you should assume that event registration is really the first time attendees will interact with your brand live.
Naturally, there are certain standard elements you’ll need at the registration area, such as a clearly delineated queue, a desk area for check-in, and a polite, knowledgeable, and accommodating staff. However, you and your event management firm should also take the time to strategize innovative ways to wow attendees with the speed and convenience of check-in, as well as the aesthetic appeal of your presentation.
Says Chelsea Litos, VP Account Management at AMI, “Everyone is excited when they first show up at an event, and then they have to stand idle in the registration line, growing more bored and frustrated by the minute. Finding innovative ways to shorten the wait time and entertain and engage attendees in the meantime is essential to preserving a positive experience and setting the tone for the entire event.”
How can you and your event company work to speed the process of event registration while still giving every guest a warm welcome and a positive first experience with your brand? Here are a few innovative ways to meet your myriad goals for the check-in experience.
- Focus on Branding
You want people to know they’re in the right place, which is why it’s so important to incorporate branded materials into every aspect of your event, starting with the registration area and any badges, information packets, and other items you supply. Utilizing visual cues can help to set the tone of your event from the moment attendees walk in the door and enter the registration queue, so work with your event company to seamlessly blend your own company branding and event branding throughout the event in creative and attractive ways.
- Stick to One Line
There’s nothing worse than choosing the shortest line only to have every line around you move faster. If you want to keep your registration process efficient and fair and avoid typical attendee frustrations, simply create a single line (that winds through a roped queue, if necessary), and funnel guests to the next available staff member when they reach the front of the line.
This will keep the registration queue moving in an orderly manner and eliminate at least one of the most common frustrations of standing in line. Make sure you have enough roped area to accommodate a large crowd, have someone monitor the line and adjust ropes for the size of the queue, and add ample signage to ensure that no one is confused about where to go or which end of the line to enter.
- Add a Welcome Area
If people are going to have to wait in line to register, you might as well keep them comfortable and entertained in the meantime, and this means setting up a creative welcome area. Think about the long lines at theme parks, for example. They know people going on rides might have to wait for an hour or more to get on a five-minute (or less) ride, and they’re going to get antsy in the meantime.
This is why the long queues for these rides feature entertainment along the way. Theme parks utilize elaborate sets, animatronic characters, park staffers playing ride-themed roles, pre-recorded videos with characters and actors, and interactive displays with buttons to push and switches to toggle as guests go by. All of this makes for a more immersive experience and helps to keep guests entertained and engaged while they wait.
How can you create welcome areas that fit your event and your company branding? Experienced event management professionals can help you to come up with innovative ideas that are perfectly suited to your needs and that are sure to resonate with your audience.
- Ask your Event Management Partner to Create an Over-the-Top Display
If you want to create an eye-popping, selfie-inducing display that gets attendees in the right mood going into your event, there are a number of options to consider. For example, you could create a custom mural in keeping with the theme of your event, or add backlit displays for a more modern feel. You could also create an elaborate, themed display with larger-than-life backdrops and props.
One good example of this aesthetic at play is E3, the Electronics Entertainment Expo held annually in Los Angeles. Video game companies go above and beyond to create enormous displays that transport attendees to another world, all inside a convention hall. However, there’s always an entrance display, starting with a massive, themed mural broken up and inset on the main staircase.
- Elongate the Registration Area to Create a Walk through Experience
If you want to get creative with your layout to enhance the check-in process for guests, consider creating a walkthrough area for attendees instead of processing them at a single table. For example, guests could start with a meet-and-greet check-in desk, then move along to a badge station, and then to an area to pick up itineraries and goodie bags before moving into the event.
- Pair People and Technology
Speed and convenience are just as important in the registration process as providing an awe-inducing display, and the best way to ensure a streamlined process is to provide your registration staff with the technologies needed to make the process easy. Speak to your event company about ways to integrate tablets and intuitive software that allows your staff to quickly and efficiently process attendees.
- Add Registration Kiosks
While you don’t necessarily want to de-personalize the registration process, you can take a modern approach by adding kiosks for self-check-in, complete with attendants on hand to help as needed. This can help you to avoid long and frustrating lines and significantly speed registration.
- Talk to Your Event Company about Apps
Experienced event management companies like American Meetings, Inc. (AMI) can help you to decide on the technologies that will best suit your event and appeal to attendees. If you’re dealing with a tech-savvy crowd, consider creating an app that allows attendees to register remotely, access packet materials virtually, and even flash a virtual badge on their smartphone or tablet instead of carrying a physical badge.
In the olden days (like a couple decades ago), companies had to advertise through print and broadcast media and hope to see a return in the way of store visits and sales. Of course, even if their marketing efforts resulted in patronage, there was no real way to know for sure if the marketing campaign was the source or if there were other reasons for an influx of business (unless consumers were willing to participate in surveys, for example).
Today, the landscape for tracking customer interactions with a brand has expanded significantly thanks to online operations and software designed for this precise purpose. This is good news for you and your corporate meeting planner because it means you can monitor activity on your event pages and platforms to see how visitors behave. What you’re likely to discover is that the bulk of visitors navigate away without signing up to receive updates or alternately, registering for your event.
You needn’t fear, though. Along with the capacity to monitor user interactions has come the inevitable ability to use that information to your advantage, most notably in the form of retargeting. What is retargeting and how can you and your global meeting planner use this strategy to boost registration for your upcoming event?
What is Retargeting?
Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a way to get your information in front of site visitors as a means of increasing awareness and desired results like conversions. The first time users are exposed to information is when they visit your event website. During this visit, you can track what they look at, how long they stay, how they interact with your site, and in some cases, even the funnels that brought them to you.
You and your corporate meeting planner can’t necessarily determine why they left your site without signing up for your mailing list or registering for your event, but with the help of a tracking pixel, you have the opportunity to approach them again and present them with compelling ads while they’re online. If people express an interest in your brand or your event, you essentially have a foot in the door to make a sale. You may just have to finesse your position by reminding interested parties of what you have to offer.
Benefits of Retargeting for You and Your Global Meeting Planner
You might be surprised to learn that an estimated 97% of visitors leave a website without making a purchase. Some even get as far as the “shopping cart” stage and then abandon intended purchases, like window shoppers. Since nabbing sales from only 3% of visitors is hardly ideal turnover, especially when you know visitors have at least a modicum of interest, you and your global meeting planner need to pursue these promising leads through retargeting.
Very few visitors come to a website and make an immediate purchase. Many like to browse, learn more, and consider their options. It may take several visits before a purchase is made, or visitors may lose interest and never return. There is also going to be a percentage of accidental visits.
Retargeting continues to expose these leads to your brand and messaging, creating opportunities for interactions and nurturing the growth of a relationship based on the initial show of interest (i.e. the site visit). Says Annie Fernandez, Director of Marketing at AMI, “Approaching just 10 targeted leads could deliver greater results than pursuing a hundred people who show no interest in your event. You and your corporate meeting planner need to capitalize on this so you can increase awareness, build rapport, and encourage conversions.”
Strategizing with Your Corporate Meeting Planner to Boost Registration
The first thing you’ll want to do is integrate appropriate retargeting software with your event platforms so that you can easily get ads in front of visitors and manage your retargeting campaign. Next, you and your global meeting planner need to determine how best to reach visitors in order to regain their interest and compel conversions.
You can display ads on different platforms and in some cases, send email through list-based retargeting software (supposing you have correct contact information). You want to use every means of retargeting at your disposal in order to increase chances of gaining notice and having an impact.
This could mean creating cohesive messaging across platforms or coming up with a variety of strategies and ads that you think will cater to users who prefer one platform over another. Retargeting can be a complex and challenging undertaking, but it’s better than doing nothing at all and allowing promising leads to slip through your fingers.
What do your promotional items say about your company and brand? When an attendee takes home your give-a-way from your meeting or event, you want them to keep it and use it, and have a positive association with your brand every time they see it.
Including and planning for promotional items as part of your overall event strategy will ensure you get the best prices and that attendees walk away with an item they’re excited about.
Our Prime Supplier, PMSI Promos recommends these promotional marketing items you should consider in 2019:
Handy Phone Pocket – Front Pocket With Elastic Expander Fits Most Smart Phones Reusable Adhesive Back Sticks To Most Surfaces.
12 oz. Vinay Stemless Wine Glass – Stainless Steel Outer And Stainless Steel Inner. Powder Coated Finish. Double Wall Construction For Insulation Of Hot Or Cold Liquids . Vacuum Insulated . Snap-On Sip Through Lid. Non-Slip Bottom.
Wireless Phone Charger & Stand – ABS Plastic Wireless charging and phone stand featuring large imprint area front and center for optimal visibility.
Desk Humidifier – Ever felt a cold coming on but know that you must still go to work? Have you ever been in an office space with very dry air? The Desk Humidifier is the answer to these problems. The humidifier produces a mist to replenish moisture in dry areas and connects directly to any USB port.
Light Bulb Cup with Straw – Have a bright idea? Brand your logo on it with our 16oz Light Bulb Cup with Straw. Each clear light bulb cup is 7″ tall by 3 1/2″ at the widest ‘bulb’ part. Each cup comes with a screw on metal top and a 9″ clear, reusable, flexible straw, perfect for when you’re serving your signature drinks at your next party or promotional campaign.