Registration is the first point of contact with your guests, and a smooth check-in process keeps excitement levels high and sets the tone for a great event. On the flip side, a disorganized and time consuming experience can leave the crowd grumbling all the way up until your event kicks off. With so much riding on the registration table, you definitely want to get it right the first time. Follow this checklist of essential to insure you get off to a good start.
Bigger is Better
Simple math tells us that large crowds will require more manpower if you want to avoid long lines. I recommend one attendant for every one hundred guests, and one floater for every two hundred guests. As far as table needs, assume two attendants per eight foot table and add an additional table to this calculation for supplies and work space.
You don’t want to be running through the halls searching for a power outlet or internet connection, so be sure to get these lines run to your table in advance. You’ll also want to bring a laptop even if you don’t plan on using it. Online access can come in handy if you need to check emails or help lost guests find their way to and from the venue. Last but not least, check the lighting situation. If the hallway is dimly lit then you might want to add a few desk lights to help with reading your lists.
Don’t Forget Office Supplies
Every planner should have a tackle box filled with office essentials like tape, scissors and an assortment of markers. Other notable items for your packing list include blank nametags, table numbers and reserved signs to use as needed. Yes, your venue will have access to most of these things, but the time and frustration you save by having them next to you is priceless.
One of the biggest disruptors to your “registration rhythm” will be the barrage of simple questions coming from both volunteers and attendees. You can prevent these inquiries from slowing down the registration line by setting up a help table. You’ll be amazed at how much more efficiently check-in table can run when you have a dedicated person answering questions like “where is the bathroom?”
It is essential to keep at least one person at the registration table throughout the event. You don’t want a relatively minor problem to snowball into something larger because no one was available to help. This usually happens when guests are forced to look elsewhere when your team can’t be found. It only takes one poorly timed bathroom break to send an impatient attendee off towards the kitchen area to request a salad without onions!
Keep Your Friends Close
There are a few contact numbers you’ll want to get well before the event kicks off. The first is the mobile number for your venue coordinator. There won’t be time to scour the building when the paper towels run out in the bathroom, so this number is an absolute must-have. Another good number to have for food-related issues is that of the catering manager. Finally, confirm the best emergency numbers for the police and fire departments. Some hotels have their own security staff who are often the best point of contact in these situations.
Registration tables should provide more than just a welcome sign and name tag. From the guest’s perspective, they represent the customer service center for your event. But in order to live up to this expectation you have to be prepared. After all, if guests can’t make it past registration, then the rest of your planning efforts will go unnoticed.