An Event Planner's Guide to Running Check-in

Alex Litoff on 6/27/13 12:30 PM



Here at Event Farm we pride ourselves on being check-in experts. You might have even heard of our mobile check-in app. In fact, we've worked check-in at thousands of events worldwide and have consulted with countless clients on how to streamline the process. One of our most common questions we get from clients is, "what is the best way to manage check-in?" Well, here are some tips for making check-in run smoothly at your event:

Get Out From Behind the Table:

The default approach to check-in seems to be throwing a table out front, parking some staff behind it, and crossing your fingers you get through it. Leverage new technology and get out from behind the table! With mobile check-in on phones and tablets, you are not confined to a set space. Don't wait for guests to come to you. Once you are done with one, move right around them to the next person. This will keep your line moving and your guests happy.

Have a Solutions Person:

There is nothing worse than being next in line for an event and being held up by a guest who is taking FOREVER to get it together. Don't let a handful of people hold up the rest of your guests. Have someone at the door be the "solutions" person. Not on the guest list? Tickets under a co-workers name? Send them straight to the "solutions" person and keep your line flowing.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare:

Too often the check-in process gets put off until the last minute and there is no time to correct any issues that may arise. The more you prep, the smoother check-in will go. Test iPads to make sure they all work. Make sure you have a reliable internet connection. Leave yourself enough time to train the staff who will be working the door. These small steps can go a long way to making things run like clockwork come game time.

Traffic Control:

Arriving to an event and not knowing where to go is extremely frustrating for guests. To solve this problem, appoint a "traffic controller" to point people in the right direction. They should be both assertive and gracious when directing the crowd. Put them in charge of assessing the challenges a given entrance has and figuring out the best way to keep the lines defined and moving. This way guests will know where to go without having to ask.

Check-in Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime:

Take advantage of any and every opportunity to check people in. If the event technically doesn't start until 6pm but people start arriving at 5:30pm anyway... why not check them in early and take a little off of your plate? Instead of remaining stationary, be a mobile check-in and approach guests all around the entrance. Be active about checking people in and it will make the guests' experience more pleasant and your job easier.

Staff to Guest Ratio:

What determines how any staff members you need is the nature of your event. If you are working an open bar from 6pm-7pm, it is safe to assume the guests will all arrive around the same time in a crowd. If your event parameters are more relaxed, you could expect a steady stream of people in the beginning that will trickle down as the night continues. This understanding helps you decide how to best approach a check-in, as well as how many people you need to man the door. On average, we've found that 1 staff for every 150 guests is a good target.


Sure, you are there to do a job, but don't forget... you're in the hospitality business! Put on a happy face and be helpful and friendly. An interaction with a grumpy employee can leave a bitter taste in a guest's mouth. You are the first person they see when they arrive - send them in with a smile on their face, not a complaint about the jerk at check-in. Set the mood for the occasion by being positive.

Follow these guidelines and your check-in is sure to be a breeze!


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