Knowing exactly who turned up at your event and what sessions they attended is something that every event planner wants to know. The information helps us figure out popular topics and sessions. It helps us profile our attendees. It is also one of the many ways we measure event success. Yet having this information at the end of the event is a bit of a lost opportunity.
Event planners can become a lot more proactive in the way they manage attendance around their sessions through the use of on-site mobile apps. An industry poll from Eventsforce this month found that 54% of event planners are already using mobile apps to record and manage attendance at their events. And the reasons for this are two-fold. First, they provide a fast check-in process for attendees. Second, they give event planners immediate insight on important performance metrics, including things like actual attendance figures, no shows, room capacities, session popularity and more.
How Do On-Site Apps Work?
On-site apps can be downloaded on tablets and smartphones and are typically integrated with the registration or event management systems you’re using around your event. The app brings up registration lists for a particular event or session, which on-site staff can use to track attendees using alphabetical drop-down lists and Google-like search tools. They can also use the device’s camera to scan barcodes on attendee badges.
The app brings up the attendee’s profile, which will include details like their name, photo, their attendee category (delegate, speaker, VIP, exhibitor etc.), payment status and the days and sessions they have booked to attend. One quick tap on the relevant date or session and the check-in process is complete.
Why Use On-Site Apps?
On-site apps simplify the whole process of recording attendance at your events and sessions. You will no longer need paper lists or desks – you’ll also be able to use as many devices as you wish. The only thing you have you have to think about really is a secure and reliable Internet connection. But there are other benefits too. Let’s take a quick look:
1) Improve Your Attendee Experience
The app eliminates the need for desks, laptops or expensive barcode scanners – on-site staff can use the app on their smartphones or tablets to provide a very quick and easy check-in process for your attendees. And if you have a situation where someone shows up to a session without having registered, then the app can automatically redirect staff to the event website where they can complete registrations on the spot.
Knowing which sessions your attendees have already checked into also helps with health and safety regulations. In the case of an emergency evacuation, for example, your app can give you a quick and accurate view of whether or not your attendee is in a particular session room or never showed up in the first place.
2) Deal with Accurate Data
As the app is integrated with your event’s registration solution, any changes to session bookings or attendee profiles is automatically updated in both systems. This way, the data is always kept accurate and up-to-date. So, let’s say you have a situation where your event has already started but you have new attendees signing up and booking sessions at the main registration desk. The integration makes sure that any new registration data is automatically updated in the app and that your staff recording attendance outside the session rooms have access to the latest registration lists.
Accurate attendance recording also means that organisations like associations can do a better job of tracking the sessions and events their members are actually attending. This helps them issue attendance certificates and manage CPD (Continual Professional Development) accreditation a lot more effectively.
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3) Save Valuable Time
The on-site app saves time by eliminating the need to manually upload attendance data into spreadsheets or other event management systems. Many event planners use barcode technology to scan delegate badges and record attendance around their events. The data may then have to be uploaded into the back-end systems, which can take time and may be prone to error. Also, the more sessions you have and the more scanners you use, the more time it will take for you to collate all your data – there’s also the risk that you may lose some of that data along the way.
Automatic updates between the app and your registration system also ensures that you have access to important information at the touch of a button – regardless of where you are at the event. So, you’ll no longer need to waste any time logging into your back-end systems to see if an attendee has made his payments or has access to VIP privileges.
4) Get Better Data Security
Data theft is a problem for any organisation that has valuable information to protect and the events industry is no exception – let’s face it, the amount of information we collect from visitors and attendees is a potential goldmine for hackers. On-site apps eliminate the need for paper-based registration lists – which is great for your green credentials, but more importantly, it significantly cuts down the risk of valuable attendee data getting into the wrong hands.
You can also use the app to control which of your staff has access to all your attendee data. For example, you as the event planner may decide to have access to registration and attendance data for all the sessions around your event but you may choose to limit your on-site staff to access data for one particular session.
5) Become More Proactive
On-site apps can help you make well informed decisions by providing important management insight on the day of your event. At any point in time, you’ll be able to get up-to-date insight on how your event or sessions are doing in terms of registrations, attendance and room capacity. For example, the app can tell you that 30 people have already checked-in to one of your sessions and that you’re expecting another 10 to show up. You also know that the room capacity of that particular session is 50. You can use that information to encourage people to attend through different channels, including digital signage, social media or direct notifications though the event app.
The app can also help manage payments on the day. So, if it’s a ticketed event, it will automatically show whether or not an attendee has any outstanding payments. It will also help prevent the same person from checking in twice or that two people aren’t sharing the same ticket.
Would you like to use on-site apps at your events? Eventsforce On-site helps event planners with accurate attendance recording and valuable real-time insight on registrations, attendance and room capacity on the day of their events. For more information on the app, please click here or get in touch here.