We will not discuss personnel or training methods for hostesses, but we promise this article will be very interesting to read (and we will go back to the subject of hostesses one day!). Now, let us focus on tools.
The Event Check-in module of CONREGO software brings in two important functions:
- Check-in - intended for efficient handling of attendees at reception areas,
- Access control - which allows you to identify access rights of attendees regarding selected zones within the venue.
However, it would not be possible to ensure the correct operation of event management software without appropriate tools. What is the practical side of things? The correct application of the system guarantees that attendees of your event will be greeted professionally and with lightning speed. The entire process of attendee check-in can be reduced to mere seconds! You can read more about that in our article: How to Ensure Efficient Event Check-in?
For the time being, let us go back to the main subject of this article - equipment.
We can choose from a multitude of different pieces of equipment, starting from desktop computers, through all-in-one devices and notebooks, to tablet computers. Let us take a closer look at each one of them.
Desktop computers occupy a lot of space and they seldom look attractive. As for all-in-one computers, they are smaller and neater but screen sizes of all-in-one computers start from 19.5” – and we rarely need screens bigger than 15” to handle reception areas. To make things worse, such computers are relatively expensive.
The best possible option is to use relatively cheap notebooks or netbooks. A notebook at the check-in counter proves to work out perfectly due to its small size, a physical keyboard and also the fact that even the cheapest models are equipped with as many as 3 USB ports. You need to realize that the number of available ports is of paramount importance. Why is that?
- The first port will be connected to a QR code reader.
- We will need the second port if we plan to print out badges or labels at reception areas,
- As for the third port, you could use it to connect a mouse to speed up navigation.
What's more, notebooks usually have more capacious batteries compared to tablet computers so you will not experience any interruptions in the operation of reception areas if there are power failures.
However, tablet computers are a better solution for access control that takes place at entrances to rooms, since the mobile nature of tablet computers makes it possible to move around. In addition, it will not be necessary to use manual search since access control usually requires using only QR codes. CONREGO Check-In app uses the device's built-in camera, removing the need to use dedicated QR code readers.
The Motorola LS2208 code reader is a device we have tested in action. This model will meet your expectations if you are looking for a cheap and reliable solution. The reader comes with manufacturer instructions that contain code tables, which will make it easier for you to program the reader to automatically add a tabulator after each scanned code. It is particularly important, as that is exactly the configuration of scanners required by the On-site Service module of CONREGO event management software.
Approximate price (March 2020): net $80.
If barcodes are not something you like or you’d rather rely on the enhanced functionality offered by using QR codes with CONREGO (downloading vCards – .vcf files – onto smartphones or redirecting to any URL), then choosing Motorola DS4208 will be a reliable solution.
This scanner costs more than twice as much as the model capable of reading one-dimensional codes. You can look for cheaper alternatives if you need to keep your budget in control. However, cheaper readers are not as easy to program as the model we recommend. One of our customers bought Datalogic QuickScan QD2430 scanners but the included manufacturer instructions did not explain any method to call the Tab key, and it took significantly longer to configure the reader.
Approximate price (March 2020): net $166.
A much cheaper, and in most cases more convenient and impressive alternative is using CONREGO mobile event check-in app available in CONREGO All-in-One subscription plan. To use it, you only need a device with Android or iOS and equipped with a working camera. Yes, a smartphone will suffice. The app gives you all the features of the On-site Service module with the exception of printer support. Read speed is comparable to that of QR code readers, while a mobile phone takes up much less space and is more handy than a laptop with a code reader.
What printers should you use to print out event badges?
Some time ago, we discussed methods of printing badges. Now, the time has come to recommend a number of printer models, divided according to the methods described a couple of weeks ago.
Printing plastic cards
As far as printing plastic cards is concerned, we recommend equipment manufactured by Evolis, the Zenius Classic model. The printer has a feed mechanism that holds 50 plastic cards and it will take approximately 20 minutes to print them all with colored design. If you opt for printing in black and white, it will only take 6 minutes to have 50 cards ready to use. This way, the average time of printing a single card is 5-7 seconds, depending on the area of printing defined for that particular design.
The mentioned equipment provides 300dpi printouts of good quality. You need to keep in mind, though, that plastic card printers have a print head that is susceptible to damage. Therefore, it is not advisable to print perforated cards.
Approximate price (March 2020): net $1300.
Thermal transfer printing
The Zebra GX430t printer is the only product we are familiar with that offers excellent printing parameters of adequate width (104mm) at a reasonable price. This printer model is capable of applying the print at 300dpi resolution, which is standard for offset prints.
Approximate price (March 2020): net $660.
Printing self-adhesive labels
We have chosen the best printer based on such criteria as quality and printing speed. Its size, the availability of consumables, and the low cost of purchase and use were also among the aspects that we took into account. What is the model we gave the highest grade? It is Brother QL570. Its excellent design perfectly matching our HP notebooks in aluminium color, its superb quality and speed of printing on 62x100mm labels, compact size, and its price. All of these qualities made it unnecessary for us to look for any alternatives. In August 2016, we bought 10 of these printers.
Approximate price (March 2020): net $90.
Take a look how a label printer works during event check-in:
Ink or laser printing
The product range for such equipment is much more diverse than in the case of the printers we have discussed earlier. What is more, the details are crucial. The maximum thickness of paper fed to the printer, the quality and speed of printing, the type of toner, the cost of use... Unfortunately, none of the products tested by CONREGO has beat the others by any stretch. Consequently, we are forced to abstain from giving recommendations.
What are the tools you need to handle reception areas at an event?
Do you need any other equipment? Besides notebooks, readers, and printers, you may need network equipment, such as switches or Wi-Fi routers. It will all depend on the location you work at. Many locations provide good Wi-Fi range near reception areas. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to predict the availability and stability of internet connection at entrances to the rooms where you would like to deploy the Access Control module. But I will discuss that some other time.
You also need to take into account that in “risky” locations, such as outdoor events, it is worth considering buying an emergency UPS system, which will provide power supply for at least an hour, should there be a power outage.
And this concludes the subject of equipment at an event. Best of luck!