6 Key Features of an Event Check-In App

  • Speed.
  • Security.
  • Integration.
  • Hardware.
  • Distribution.
  • Cost.


Conference registration is a two-part process. Registration software lets event organizers know which individuals plan to attend. Check-in software and devices confirm their arrival. In recent years, event check-in apps have flooded the market, such that it’s becoming more difficult to choose among the many options available. Due diligence in some key areas can help event planners explore some of the newer technologies and select the most appropriate event check-in app for their event.


Fast check-in is the goal for most event planners because it enhances the attendee experience. Passive check-in technologies—those that require the least amount of attendee effort—tend to be the fastest. For example, the newest check-in software is facial recognition. To use it, attendees upload photos in advance and, as they enter the check-in area, the software scans their faces to find a match. The scan only takes a second or two, and by the time the attendee walks to the printer, his or her badge is ready for pick-up.


There are other passive check-in technologies. Radio frequency identification (RFID) readers can read a badge embedded with an RFID tag as the attendee walks past. The badges are sometimes mailed to attendees in advance. Near-field communication (NFC) readers can detect an attendee wearing a wristband (occasionally mailed before the event) with an embedded NFC tag in it. The wearer taps the wristband on a reader (a smartphone or a tablet) to gain access to the event.


Most conference organizers are concerned that the attendees who register for the event are the same individuals who attend. Some events absolutely require—for security purposes—that individuals in attendance have met certain security requirements. Facial recognition is one way to ensure that the right people are in the room, and at the very least, software that requires other forms of identification (besides a registration confirmation email) can also help conference organizers feel more secure about their attendees.


Many corporations invest considerable resources in maintaining their customer-relationship management (CRM) platforms. So, another consideration is whether an event check-in app integrates with the company’s CRM. Such software records check-ins and on-site registrations in the CRM automatically, removing the need for manual data entry after the event.


Different types of hardware are needed for event check-in depending on the software being utilized. For example, a facial recognition event check-in app requires a device with a camera—tablet, smartphone, laptop—plus a badge printer. The most common event check-in app uses a handheld or stationary scanner to read a barcode (printed on a registrant’s confirmation email or embedded in a text message) and a badge printer. A greater number of more expensive devices drives up the costs of check-in.


Most event organizers distribute check-in barcodes or confirmation numbers via email. Sciensio can deliver them to the attendees’ smartphones via text: a registration code, hash, or QR code is sent via text in a one-way communication, or a chatbot responds via text to the attendee’s on-demand request for his or her confirmation code. At check-in, attendees place the codes under a scanner to trigger the badge printer. And, once the text channel is open, other opportunities for planners and stakeholders to exchange and control information via the chatbots emerge.


For many organizations, the event budget influences the event technology decisions that planners and event marketers make. Fast check-in—the kind that involves the least amount of human intervention—is generally the most expensive, even though the costs continue to drop as adoption increases. And the more devices the event host has to supply to complement the event check-in app (tag readers, self check-in kiosks, scanners, printers), the more expensive the check-in process becomes.

To learn more about innovations and configurations for event check-in, contact the experts at smartsourcerentals.