Posted by & filed under Tips and Ideas.

Doors open, meeting attendees flood in and immediately track down the nearest person in a brightly colored “staff” t-shirt. Lines form at registration, and grow, and grow, and grow.  Your staffer at the customer service desk starts to panic.  

Onsite registration is a beast. In the office, it feels as if you plan and prepare for weeks, only to squeak through those first few registration hours at the event long-lined and shorthanded.  Registration is often the first experience a meeting attendee has at your event.  Here are 5 tips to help make it as smooth as possible and set the stage for positive post-evaluations.  

  • Keep a record – If you haven’t already, start keeping a record of daily attendance and registrations. This will help you plan next year when the busiest times could be. 
  • Consider the time – When do your educational sessions start? When is the evening reception? Meeting attendees generally swing by registration on their way to the main events to get their goodie bags. Plan to accommodate extra traffic 30 minutes to an hour before and after those events start. 
  • Over staff – In the association world, more is almost always better than less, and the same goes for registration.  Plan to have “floaters” or an extra person during high intensity registration times, so your remaining staff can stay at their post and keep the lines moving.  
  • Man-accordingly – Signage on the walls won’t always catch the average meeting-goer’s attention. Post extra volunteers in strategic places to direct traffic; i.e. around the corner from registration, in front of the registration line markers to help direct traffic to alpha-organized lines, or where bus or shuttle drop off occurs.  
  • Practice Understanding –Be prepared to make adjustments for the Mr. Smith who comes to pick up his packet in the A-F line, and Ms. Jenkins who forgot her registration invoice.  Accommodation, within reason, will lead to a positive experience, good evaluations, and return attendees.  


Happy conferencing!