You’ve planned an amazing event. The venue looks perfect. Your sponsors can’t wait to meet your attendees, and your exhibitors are ready to demo. But then you look at the entrance and see that the absence of an event check-in app threatens all your hard work:

  • An unorganized mass crowds the check-in table.
  • A line winds out the door (and maybe into the rain).
  • Staff fumble through a sea of papers and printed badges.

Anxiety starts to climb. Every second your attendees spend at check-in, after all, is another second they’re not networking, hearing your speakers, or engaging with your sponsors.

But there’s some good news. With an event check-in app, you do more than avoid these delays. A better check-in experience also increases attendee engagement. Guests breeze into the venue full of energy, ready to connect with your event partners.

What Is an Event Check-In App? 

An event check-in app is a mobile application that allows you to quickly check in your attendees. Some common examples include:

  • Mobile apps that scan attendees’ unique QR codes.
  • Digital guest lists that help staff check in guest with a few taps.
  • Touch screen kiosks where attendees enter their information.

These apps can serve as the basis of an event check-in system, too. For instance, some apps sync with wireless printers for instant on-site badge printing.

5 Ways an Event Check-In App Makes Life Better for Attendees, Sponsors & Organizers

1. Fast, Smooth Check-In Prevents Long Lines

The faster attendees get through the line, the more time they have for what they came for. According to EventMB, corporate event attendees most want these three things:

  • Networking (82%).
  • Learning (71%).
  • Entertainment (38%).

Think about check-in’s impact on networking. Many events dedicate the first hour to networking, which is also when the most attendees arrive at once. The slower they get through, the more their moods will sour.

IMEX America attendees at event check-in

But get them through quickly, and the more excited they’ll feel for your event. They’ll spread that energy when they show up to sessions, promote your hashtag, and visit exhibitor booths.

2. Lower Costs & Better Event ROI

Yes, an event check-in app can help you lower event costs. First, you may be able to use a free event check-in app, depending on the nature of your event.

For instance, if you search for “free event check-in software for iPad,” you’ll come across a variety options. Some are free for certain events, such as those with 100 attendees or less. Others offer free trials so you can try them before making a decision.

Second, reduced check-in friction makes attendees feel empowered. Since happy attendees are more likely to engage with your sponsors, you’ll have more partners that will want to work with you in the future.

3. A More Productive Event Check-In Staff 

Have you ever been to (or maybe even planned) an event with 20 people assigned to check-in? Instead of making things move more efficiently, the check-in desk seems to get louder, more crowded, and more uncomfortable.

By using an event check-in app, you extend the power of your team without overwhelming your attendees. The best event check-in software fully automates everything so you can redeploy staff elsewhere.

4. Wi-Fi-Proof Reliability 

Even at the best-equipped venues, the WiFi occasionally goes down or slows down. The best event check-in apps handle this seamlessly by storing info offline in your device’s memory. When the connection resumes, all that data uploads to the cloud.

This does more than create a smooth experience for attendees. It also gives you confidence in your event check-in management system, knowing you’ll have all the data you need at the end of the event.

5. Less Paper for a Greener Event

More and more, events are coming under scrutiny for their environmental impact. Cheap swag is a big problem. Paper is, too. An event check-in app helps here because it cuts down on printing. No more stapled packets of attendee names to flip through.

Instead, all the data you need organizes into easy-to-access digital documents. Not only is it easier to look back at all the registration and check-in data from your event, but you’ll save some trees.

How to Choose an Event Check-In App 

Wondering if now’s the time to invest in event check-in app? Here are a few questions to help you answer that.

Would an event check-in app be a have-to-have or nice-to-have? 

Do your events regularly face long lines, or is it just every now and then? Are check-in issues surfacing in your event feedback? Ask gut-check questions like these to give yourself clarity.

Event check-in staff with attendee

Also remember that no matter how intuitive or plug-and-play an app claims to be, there’s always a learning curve. Make sure you have enough time for a test run.

Do you need a point solution, or an integration? 

If you need a standalone solution, finding it can be as easy searching for “best event check-in app for iPad” and downloading the one you like the most.

But what if you already have an event app, registration system, or badge printer you love? Connecting a check-in app to your existing software can be a powerful way to capture even more data.

What are your data needs?

There are two things to think about here: the data you want to capture, and the data you need to protect. For instance, if you expect lots of walk-ins, look for solutions that capture non-registrants’ info for attendee list retargeting.

And of course, no matter the check-in option you choose, make sure it meets your organization’s security standards.

Which apps do event professionals trust the most?

Ask other planners and see what they use. Check out G2 reviews, too, and other software sites. They’ll help you develop an informed perspective.