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attendee checking in at a conference registration
Madison ShepherdJun 3, 2024 9:40:24 AM5 min read

Pros and Cons of Onsite Self Check-In versus Face-to-Face Registration

Pros and Cons of Onsite Self Check-In versus Face-to-Face Registration

Contemplating which method of registration is best for your next corporate event?

We understand the dilemma: weighing the efficiency of self-check-in against the familiarity of face-to-face registration.

In the world of event planning, your choice of check-in method can greatly influence attendee satisfaction and operational efficiencies. 

Let's dive into the pros and cons of onsite self check-in versus traditional face-to-face registration to help you make the right decision for your next event.

woman checking in at event registration desk

What is Onsite Event Self Check-In?

Onsite self check-in refers to the process where event attendees register themselves as they arrive at the event venue, typically using electronic kiosks or mobile apps. 

Attendees will input their information into the device, receive their badges, and gain entry without the need for direct assistance from event staff.

What is an Example of Onsite Self Check-In?

For example, at a large conference, an attendee will use self-service kiosks stationed near the entrance to check in by scanning their QR codes or entering their registration details. 

The kiosk will print their badges on-site and allow them to proceed to the event area without needing to wait in any registration lines.

Pros of Onsite Self Check-In

Here are some of the advantages of choosing onsite self check-in for your next corporate event: 

  1. Efficiency: Speeds up the check-in process, reducing wait times for attendees.
  2. Convenience: Provides flexibility for attendees to check in at their own convenience, especially for those flying in late at night or early in the morning.
  3. Potential Cost Savings: Reduces the need for registration staff, though you might need to hire technical staff on-site to manage the systems.
  4. Accuracy: Reduces errors in attendee information entry by allowing participants to input their own details directly into the kiosk or via phone.
  5. Language Accessibility: Accommodates attendees with language barriers by allowing them to select their preferred language at the kiosk for check-in. This is especially important if you are hosting an international event or conference with attendees from around the world. 
  6. Reduced Chaos: No more pre-printing and sorting badges, then reprinting onsite if something is spelled wrong!

Cons of Onsite Self Check-In

Here are some of the disadvantages of choosing onsite self check-in for your next corporate event: 

  1. Technical Issues: There is a risk of potential technical glitches with self-service kiosks or mobile apps, which can be frustrating and cause delays. 
  2. Lack of Personal Interaction: Removes the opportunity for face-to-face interaction between attendees and event staff. 
  3. Technology Accessibility: Poses difficulties for attendees with limited technological experience, leading to congestion of kiosks if attendees are not tech-savvy.
  4. Connectivity: Hopefully your chosen venue has a stable internet connection, but in case it doesn’t, online self check-in requires wifi which may be unreliable in certain venues or regions. 

man checking in at front desk registration

What is Face-to-Face Event Check-In?

Face-to-face check-in, on the other hand, involves attendees interacting directly with event staff or registration personnel upon arrival at the event venue. 

Attendees provide their information to registration staff, who then issue them with their credentials or badges before granting entry to the event.

What is an Example of Face-to-Face Registration?

For example, conference attendees will physically go to registration counters where event staff greet them, verify their identities, and hand them their event badges.

They may also receive event materials and information packets and can ask any questions they may have on the spot. 

Pros of Face-to-Face Registration

Here are some of the advantages of choosing face-to-face registration for your next corporate event: 

  1. Personalized Service: Offers a friendly welcome and personal interaction with event staff, enhancing the attendee experience. Registration staff can also provide personalized recommendations and information about the event, such as session highlights or venue directions. 
  2. Assistance Available: Provides immediate assistance and support for attendees with questions or special requests. If there are any issues with attendee registration, staff can address and resolve the issue on the spot. 
  3. Security: Allows for manual verification of attendee identities, enhancing security and ensuring only registered participants gain access.  
  4. Human Touch: Adds a personal touch to the attendee registration process, ensuring guests feel well cared for.
  5. Feedback Collection: This provides an opportunity to collect immediate feedback from attendees about their first impressions, helping you improve future events.

Cons of Face-to-Face Registration

Here are some of the disadvantages of choosing face-to-face registration for your next corporate event: 

  1. Longer wait times: This can sometimes result in longer queues and wait times, especially during peak arrival periods.
  2. Staffing Needs: Requires you to hire additional staff to handle registration desks, increasing labor costs.
  3. Space Constraints: Keep in mind that the venue you choose must have dedicated space for registration desks, which can be challenging in smaller venues.
  4. Limited Flexibility: Offers less flexibility for attendee check-in times compared to self-service methods, especially with differing arrival times or flight delays. 

group of attendees watching a corporate event presentation

Is Anyone Choosing to Use Self-Check in at Corporate Events?

According to a study by CB Events, event registration technology is both the most used and deemed the most important technology used in the event space, with 41% of event planners incorporating it into their processes.

The percentage is even higher for early adopters of technology and those who have an attendee engagement strategy. 

Event Technology Usage

Source: CB Events

Discover why having an attendee engagement strategy is important and explore activities you can incorporate to enhance your upcoming event experience.

How to Improve Check-In for Your Next Event?

Your check-in process is typically the first in-person experience your attendees have at your event, so it's vital to make a good impression. 

Attendees have higher expectations for events, and there are several ways to make that initial touchpoint exceptional.

Take a look at 10 ways you can make your check-in process incredible.

man checking in at conference registration desk

What Registration Method Do We Recommend?

For the majority of events, face-to-face registration is the preferred check-in method.

The best registration method for your event depends on its size, your budget for additional registration staff, and the type of experience you want to provide for your attendees.

If your event is very large, having self check-in can help smooth out the process. If it's a smaller event or one where you want high-touch, personal service, face-to-face is likely better. 

If you’re still unsure which check-in method to choose for your upcoming event, consider offering a combination of both and allowing attendees to choose their preferred check-in option. 

This way, you can observe which method attendees favor and make an informed decision for future events.

Check out our top 7 event registration software apps and tips on how to make the most of your event registration platform. 

Make Your Event Check-In Process Shine with GoGather

Ready to look at specific strategies to improve your event check-in? Let’s discuss your goals and explore innovative ways to make check-in both efficient and enjoyable.

let's plan your best event yet


Madison Shepherd

Madison Shepherd is a Marketing Specialist at GoGather. When she's not writing blogs or sending out social media posts, she enjoys hiking, traveling, or reading at one of the many beautiful beaches in San Diego.