How a Digital Sign-In Sheet Can Boost Event Attendance and Improve Performance
The past few years have led to a steep decline in human-to-human interaction. There can be no question that the pandemic changed and impacted how we gather and connect. It continues to be an issue in industries worldwide. After two years of lockdowns, anxiety, and stress, it is hard for things to go back to normal. But the world has re-opened. Campuses are open, patients attend in-person doctor’s appointments instead of virtual ones, and brick-and-mortar retail stores are again filled with customers. However, many enterprises are still struggling with event turnout. This is where digital sign-in sheets could help increase engagement and attendance.
Hosting an event takes a ton of logistical coordination and planning. It is draining and stressful, and the work doesn’t stop until after the event is finished and cleaned. But even with all the planning and coordination, sometimes, event organizers’ worst fears come true, and the occasion doesn’t have the turnout they hoped. This has been doubly true in the days following the pandemic.
According to a 2022 report from Skift Meeting, event attendance generally has stalled at 65% of pre-pandemic levels.
Several factors have contributed to this issue. Regardless, event planners still have to navigate a highly difficult environment that is not what it used to be. Whether it is student events at a higher education institution, corporate events at a conference center, or hobbyist events at hotels, fewer people are coming out than before. Does this mean the events industry is declining? Absolutely not; it just means navigating a new era of uncertainty and change and moving toward a different future.
One software that is sure to be a significant part of this future is a digital sign-in sheet. A digital sign-in sheet is a way of confirming event attendance, but with the QLess suite of features, it can be much more than that. Let’s explore what digital sign-in sheets are and how they can improve event attendance and performance.
What is a Digital Sign-In Sheet?
Before diving into the benefits of a digital sign-in sheet and exploring how it impacts the customer experience, let’s start with the basics. What are these solutions, and what do they do? Simply put, these are attendance tracking software that allows users to sign in to an event when they arrive and sign out when they leave. They actually function very similarly to a non-virtual sign-in sheet. Event attendees simply provide digital signatures when entering an event on a public-use computer or mobile device. This lets event organizers know who showed up to the occasion.
A digital sign-in sheet can also be used at virtual or hybrid events. It can be embedded in and pinned in a chat feature, with new entrants having to sign in when they arrive digitally or in person. Customers simply offer their electronic signature, and they are signed in and ready to go.
So, where does a digital sign-in sheet deviate from a physical one? Simply put, enterprises can glean a lot more value from them. With a digital sign-in sheet, enterprises can:
- Collect information like when attendees arrived
- View how long they stayed
- Gather contact information.
Rather than manually sorting through this information with a physical sign-in sheet, they can filter through it virtually. They can send this information to others and easily store electronic copies. It is advantageous and easy.
Many enterprises opt to use Google Sheets for their digital sign-in software, but this can be rather simplistic. It gets the job done by collecting pertinent information. But there is even more that an effective digital sign-in solution can provide. QLess is a digital sign-in software that has a suite of features designed to help enterprises get the most out of the information collected. This system allows them to boost attendance and plan better events. Below, we’ll look at the cause of declining event attendance and how a digital sign-in sheet can fix the issue.
Causes of Declining Event Attendance
We’ve mentioned that event attendance has fallen substantially in recent years. There are several core reasons why. While the world changes every year, it seems like from 2020-23, we live in a completely different place. In just three years, we’ve seen a global pandemic, a new financial crisis, a new international conflict, and more. While it hasn’t been all doom and gloom, these are significant changes that have had broad impacts on society. These could be the reasons for a decline in the number of people willing to attend an event, even if they are interested.
The pandemic is likely the biggest reason for declining event attendance. It emptied university campuses, pushed workers out of office, and made many uncomfortable in large crowds.
As recently as the end of 2022, Morning Consult’s data indicated that more than one in four US adults are very concerned about the pandemic.
Naturally, this harms attendance. Years of stress have left some people anxious about human interaction altogether, which harms virtual event attendance.
The other factors to consider are also based on the impact of the pandemic. For events that require travel, like corporate events or conventions, the travel industry has been struggling heavily due to backlogs and layoffs stemming from the pandemic. In the summer of 2022, a time many event organizers likely targeted as the perfect timeframe for an event, some major airports around the world had more than 50% of their flights delayed. This contributed to many people being unwilling to travel for events.
Another factor is that getting in touch with people is difficult, particularly for large industry events. The pandemic spurred a massive shift in the job market. This caused many to leave their jobs and seek new industries or professions. According to CNN, a record 68.9 million people quit their jobs in 2021 in the United States, a significant chunk of the labor force. This makes contacting people within a specific industry difficult, as there has been such a constant state of flux.
With so many unique issues that have disrupted major global industries, it is fair to question how a digital attendance tracker will make any difference. But the reality is it can contribute substantially by augmenting and improving the event’s customer experience.
Digital Sign-In Sheets and the Customer Experience
The world of commerce has leaned into the idea that “the customer is always right” more than ever, as companies funnel billions of dollars into solutions designed to ensure the best possible customer experience. The reason for this is clear: improvements in the customer experience spell improvements in a business’s bottom line. The happier your customers are, the more they will continue to frequent your business.
86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a good customer experience, according to Super Office, and this is certainly true in the events industry. When people make an effort to attend an event, they expect an enjoyable experience. They want something positive to remember, something fun, without any snags or bottlenecks. With event attendance across industries still suffering, it is extremely important that enterprises deliver seamless event experiences.
A quick and helpful way to improve the customer experience is by implementing a digital sign-in sheet. Enterprises can do this through mobile event apps, a public-use computer, a shareable link, or on-site kiosks with the QLess platform. Let’s look at how digital sign-in sheets can give customers an improved experience at in-person, virtual, or hybrid events.
Easy Virtual Access
Today’s events don’t look like yesterday’s, and a big reason is the rise of virtual and hybrid events. The pandemic illustrated to consumers and enterprises that perhaps in-person isn’t a necessity for everything. With the rise of software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and more, the technological infrastructure for virtual events is now fully developed. More and more companies have experimented with virtual events. It has become clear that a substantial number of consumers prefer these to in-person occasions.
According to data from a vFair survey of industry insiders, 35% of respondents stated they believe in-person events will be the most popular in 2023, while 34% said hybrid, and 29% said virtual. The same survey showed that 77.2% of people prefer virtual events because of how easy they are to attend.
Furthermore, according to a QLess survey of higher education students, 51.2% stated they’d rather have academic meetings virtually.
Clearly, virtual and hybrid events are here to stay. With a digital sign-in sheet, event hosts can better manage their digital events. As a result, they provide a more seamless experience for attendees.
With a digital sign-in sheet, customers can enter an event through a digital meeting. They also receive all the access they need the second they enter. The QLess software virtual services features provide Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and API integrations. This makes hosting virtual events and meetings much more smooth. When customers register for an event, they can be sent a QLess link, as well as the time and date of the event. When they click the link, they can use the digital sign-in sheet to provide their details. Then, they can be immediately moved into a Zoom or Meets room where virtual events are held.
QLess can be accessed through mobile and desktop software, creating a more seamless pre-event process. It is easy for attendees to both sign-in in on the sheet and be directed to the virtual event. This ensures that event organizers can create a smooth and efficient process, so attendees maximize their event enjoyment.
Wait Time Clarity
In-person events are amazing because they offer the opportunity to forge connections with people. There is something irreplaceable about being with others. While virtual events can offer fun experiences and convenience, they can’t match the atmosphere of in-person events. However, there is one problem in-person events have that lead to many preferring convenience and ease of access: long waits. Waiting times are a problem anywhere there are crowds, and often, events will have substantial waits and lineups for attendees. Waits come with uncertainties and can cause frustrations for attendees.
A digital sign-in sheet like QLess is a unique solution that solves this issue due to its embedded virtual queue management features. When attendees enter the event, they can sign in on the QLess platform and receive links to check into various lines. If the event is a convention with several different stations, attendees can simply check into a virtual line at the station they want to visit first. They will see the line on their screen, with every customer in front of them shown. They can monitor their progress in the virtual queue and receive real-time updates on the projected wait time.
This means there won’t be any confusion about the time they’ll need to wait, which consumers love. According to a QLess survey, 57.2% said they are more likely to patronize a business if they have early insights into wait times. It also means that customers can wait remotely. Instead of wasting their time standing in line at a convention or event, they can check into a line remotely. Customers can also explore the convention, and arrive at the stall when it’s their turn.
Attending an event is meant to be a fun, positive experience. Whether consumers attend a virtual work event or an in-person school event, they hope for an enjoyable, enlightening experience. Communication is one of the pivotal ways that event organizers provide this to them. There needs to be a significant amount of communication throughout the process so that attendees have clarity on what to do throughout the event and feel like it is a personal experience. Unlike a physical attendance tracker, a digital sign-in sheet offers tools for enterprises hoping to offer attendees a more communicative event experience.
The QLess digital sign-in software has bi-directional communication features that will enable event organizers to implement back-and-forth conversations into their event attendance organization. The QLess software allows for automated, scheduled customers or personalized ones. For example, when customers sign in to the event on the digital attendance tracker, they can automatically receive a message explaining the breakdown of the layout for the event. They can also see where everything is situated, and other logistics. When they check out of the event, they can receive a thank you message or additional information.
Personalized messages are a helpful way for attendees to get queries answered. If a customer messages staff using the software, they can ask for updates or request assistance. Staff can then respond with personalized messages. This customer service feature will allow for a more personalized customer experience and better connections between staff and attendees. It also creates an omnichannel element to an event that aligns with consumers’ love for multi-channel experiences.
While attending an event might not be the same thing as shopping, consumers’ habits remain consistent throughout many of the things they do. A common theme is that consumers love omnichannel experiences.
According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, 73% of consumers use multiple channels in their shopping experiences.
With communication features, customers can interact with events physically and through their phones. Events can get creative, planning different methods automated at different points, directing specific customers to specific areas, and more. With improved communication, the customer experience benefits substantially.
Digital Sign-In Sheets, the Customer Experience, and Event Attendance
There are many reasons enterprises are implementing digital sign-in sheets, some of which we will discuss later. For many enterprises, the goal of implementing this software is to improve the customer experience to help increase event attendance. We’ve touched briefly on how these solutions can improve the customer experience through improved communication, wait time clarity, and simplified virtual access. Now, let’s consider how those changes will improve event attendance.
The customer experience is everything to enterprises, and as we’ve mentioned, it significantly impacts a business’s bottom line. Customer experience is also integral to customer retention. The happier customers are, the more likely they are to return to a business, and according to HubSpot, just a 5% increase in retention can increase a business’ ROI by 25-95%. The better time customers have at your event and the smoother the process is for them, the more likely they are to come to your next one.
Another factor to consider is the disregard consumers have for long wait times. If your event is congested with long waits for attendees, chances are, some will leave. They will also remember the inconvenience the next time you host an event. The average person dislikes long waits and a lack of wait transparency. Let’s say; for example, you are hosting an event in the education industry. Students are your primary demographic. If students arrive, see substantial lineups, and don’t consider the event essential, they won’t stick around.
According to a QLess survey, 54.78% of students said they’d skip an academic appointment if the wait was too long.
But things change if you have a digital sign-in sheet like QLess. This software has a whole suite of features designed to improve the process. Let’s go back to that educational event example. With the QLess for education digital sign-in sheet, students know the wait times before arriving at the event. They can enter virtual lineups remotely, arrive at the event when they are at the front of the queue, and maximize their experience. Instead of a stilted customer journey that ends in a walkaway, they’ll enjoy a convenient, fast event experience.
The happier your event attendees are, the better. The customer experience matters for event organizers and is a big part of attendance. Investing in a digital sign-in sheet solution like QLess, which has been found to increase customer satisfaction by up to 100%, will broadly impact increasing event attendance.
Benefits of Digital Sign-In Sheets for Enterprises
We’ve discussed how a digital sign-in sheet can improve the customer experience. This is a significant part of what these software solutions provide. Event attendance will be boosted by making the event experience more frictionless and communicative for customers. But even though the primary goal is to increase attendance at events, there is more to the equation than that. A digital sign-in sheet has the potential to help in several crucial ways that event organizers may not have realized.
The benefits of digital-sign in sheets extend beyond customer experience and immediate attendance boosts. Because these solutions are digital and can track and store information, they have additional value adds that can transform how event organizers run their events. The backend benefits of a digital sign-in sheet are what enterprises should consider when implementing these solutions. This is because the backend is where a significant portion of their value can be found.
With the increased organization of customer information and the ability to track data on certain sign-in solutions, there is a lot of information that enterprises can glean and a lot of ways to use that information. Let’s look at some ways enterprises can use digital sign-in software to their benefit.
Highly Valuable Customer Experience Data
Knowing your customers and the experience your business offers them is crucial to business success. The better you understand your customers, the more you can tailor how your business caters to them. In the events industry, it can be very difficult to keep track of the experiences of a large group of customers. Many enterprises rely on surveys to better understand how the experience went. But with the right digital sign-in sheet, businesses can collect data on the event experience and gain a significantly improved understanding of how the event played out.
The QLess digital sign-in sheet has business intelligence features that allow enterprises to gain customer data that can be used to improve their future processes. When customers use the QLess app or link to check in at an event, the app can track details about their experience. QLess has the capability to monitor how long the lineup takes. When they check out and leave, it shows what time they leave and how long they were there for. All this information is then stored and displayed on graphs and charts, which event planners can use to spot trends.
Some metrics reported on the QLess dashboard include:
- Median wait time
- Number of customers received in a day
- Transaction time
- Employee utilization
- And much more
Event organizers can clearly understand how the customer journey played out. They can see how long customers stuck around at the event, and whether any crucial bottlenecks impacted the experience. There is much to learn from high-quality data from a digital sign-in sheet.
Enterprises that make decisions based on data are likelier to see better results. According to Data Ideology, enterprises driven by data are six times likelier to retain customers and 19x likelier to be profitable. Using insights from the QLess software, event organizers have the knowledge necessary to make tweaks to an event that lead to better overall experiences. Whether that’s allocating resources to trim wait times or creating additional offerings to ensure attendees stick around longer, having the knowledge is a crucial step toward driving change.
Create Accurate Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas
With the QLess data features, you can collect useful information on the customer experience. This data can be used to better understand your events. But the digital sign-in sheet software also helps enterprises create highly accurate profiles of who exactly the attendees of their event are. Fully understanding this information can lead to substantial positive benefits. Customer profiles and buyer personas are excellent ways to better understand an organization’s most important customers. Digital sign-in sheets make developing these much more efficient and accurate.
With a digital sign-in sheet, enterprises can request information from customers when they sign in such as their:
- Job position
- How they found out about the event
- And more
When customers enter this information, it can be stored on the software and saved for later use. Once this information is saved, enterprises can filter and sort through it. This gives them an exact sense of the people attending their event. This information will be crucial in creating a customer profile or buyer persona.
Customer profiles and buyer personas are two commonly used tools for businesses looking to shape their marketing strategy. They are hypotheticals of varying specificity designed to give organizations a clear sense of who their customer is, their pain points, what they are looking for from an event, and more. While these are hypothetical-based marketing solutions, they have very real results. According to HubSpot, organizations with a strong Ideal Customer Profile have a 68% higher account win rate.
Using information collected and analyzed through a digital sign-in sheet, highly accurate personas or customer profiles can be constructed. These will allow event organizers to increase personalization in their marketing. They have the ability to connect more deeply with the consumers they are hoping to attract. According to StartUp Bonsai, 70% of customers only give their loyalty if a brand understands their individual needs, and with accurate profiles and personas, event planners can gain that high-level understanding of their customers’ wants and needs.
Solicit Customer Reviews
Something that has long been crucial to businesses is their reputations. In every industry, what people think of you matters. This is, of course, true in the event planning industry. The better the reputation of your event, the easier it is to attract crowds to show up. In the internet age, word of mouth remains important. However, public reviews of your business or event that can be found online are likely to be even more important. Online reviews can sway consumers’ decisions in either direction. With the right digital sign-in sheet, soliciting customer reviews is made easy.
The QLess digital sign-in sheet has a customer feedback feature that allows event organizers to request customer reviews. This will naturally improve the reputation of their event. When customers enter their information on the sign-in sheet, organizers can use the customer feedback features on the software to make it so that once attendees leave the event, they receive a pulse feedback review request. They can choose to make this request a link to a Google Review page for public feedback or make the feedback a private survey that they can store to learn more about what attendees thought about the event.
If event organizers secure more positive public reviews, this is a significant boon to their reputation and can help with attendance. Positive reviews go a long way in the minds of consumers.
According to BrightLocal, 91% of 18-34 year-olds trust reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends.
Even if reviews come from strangers, consumers trust their validity. These reviews are often a significant part of their decision-making processes.
Nine out of ten consumers read reviews before making a purchasing decision, so it is important to have strong positive public feedback. With the QLess digital sign-in sheet, you can send mass requests for public feedback. This will make it more likely that your event will have the large volume of reviews necessary to positively sway prospective customers’ decisions.
Remarketing is a crucial component of many brands’ blueprints. Just because a customer has attended an event doesn’t mean your work is done. Once someone has already attended one of your events, they are much likelier to come to another because you have already forged that connection and got them over the initial hump of debating whether or not to come. If they enjoyed themselves at the event, convincing them to come to another one should be easy. Continuing to convert on people who’ve already frequented an event is important, as retention is key to success. With an effective digital sign-in sheet, remarketing to established customers is simplified.
When attendees enter your event, they will input their name, information, and contact details on the QLess digital sign-in sheet. You now have everything you need to get in touch with them later. While the same is true when using a physical sign-in sheet, with a digital sign-in sheet, the information is organized in a much more accessible way. If you want to make sure it is okay with your customers that you remarket to them, you can have a box on the sign-in sheet that customers can check if they want to hear information about other events and promotions.
Having loyal customers that continue to attend your events will help you boost attendance and worry less about your advertising budget.
According to Zippia, it costs 6-7x more to acquire new customers than retain current ones.
With new customers, enterprises have to take additional steps to connect with people who might not be aware of their brand or events. But if you remarket to the people you already have connected with that have left their information on the digital sign-in software, it is less time-consuming and has a higher likelihood of succeeding.
Build a Customer Journey Map
One of the ways that many organizations are trying to improve how consumers experience their business is by creating a customer journey map. A customer journey map uses the personas and profiles we discussed and several other considerations, like a timeline and touchpoint guide, to map out what the exact customer experience they are trying to create looks like. It requires analysis of every aspect of your event, but creating a customer journey map can lead to a more seamless and effective customer experience. Businesses use customer journey mapping for websites, retail experiences, and more, but with a digital sign-in sheet, event-based organizations can map out the customer journey of their virtual, in-person, or hybrid events.
We’ve mentioned how QLess offers data collection features that empower event organizers to build personas and alter their processes. They also allow enterprises to map out accurately what they want the customer journey to look like. They can set ideal amounts of time that they want attendees to spend at the event, target a specific number of different areas they want customers to go to, and highlight maximum wait times that they feel consumers will be comfortable with. Then, with the data reporting features, they can see if these benchmarks are accurate.
Mapping your event journey out is an impactful way to organize an event, and it will allow planners to meticulously craft the event experience they are hoping for. Even if it is a simple panel discussion, it is still crucial to organize the customer experience to have the best possible results. With the QLess customer journey mapping, enterprises can schedule automated communications sent at various phases of their customer journey and use accurate metrics to determine whether the journey is efficient. Ultimately, they have the tools necessary to meticulously craft the ideal version of their event.
Bring Events Back After the Pandemic Lull With Digital Sign-In Sheets
For many event organizers, the pandemic was an event there is no going back from. The pandemic brought such a substantial change in the industry that the thought of things simply returning to normal seems majorly unlikely. The pandemic forced organizers to adapt to a new environment, and many found this incredibly challenging.
According to Skift, 55% of event organizers stated that COVID-19 was the biggest challenge they faced when planning in-person events.
While many guidelines have dropped, and many people are now more willing to attend events, the event industry is still dealing with reduced attendance.
Consumers remain concerned even with the pandemic’s impact greatly diminished in the past several months. According to data from the Audience Agency, as of August 2022, only 52% of consumers stated they’d be happy to go to a large event if it was something they wanted to see or do. This is a stark increase from 16% in November 2020, but it is clear that many consumers remain uncomfortable.
That is why virtual and hybrid events are now incredibly common. Customers don’t have to interact face-to-face if they are still concerned, and enterprises can still host engaging and exciting events with large attendances. This doesn’t mean physical events are dying; it just means the industry is changing. For whatever changes come, a digital sign-in sheet is a solution that can make a hugely positive impact across the event industry.
With a digital sign-in sheet, event organizers have a tool that is useful for physical, virtual, and hybrid events. As we move away from the difficulties of the pandemic, these solutions make it easy to organize events and monitor who came and when. They are useful tools that are helpful at a pivotal time in the industry, where much has moved virtual.
Key Takeaways on Digital Sign-In Sheets
The event industry is one created to bring people together. Whether hosting an event for the education industry, a healthcare conference, or a hobby convention, the purpose is to unite people with a common passion. This has been made difficult by a pandemic that has severed many social ties that bind us. But as we move away from the stress of the past few years, even with attendance remaining lower than pre-pandemic levels, the events industry’s future remains bright. This is partly due to useful industry innovations like the QLess digital sign-in sheet software.
The QLess digital sign-in sheet software improves the customer experience and offers backend benefits for event organizers. It allows for the easy organization of event attendance, but it has features that go significantly beyond that. By improving virtual access, providing a transformed waiting experience, and adding communication, the event attendee experience is changed for the better. And with the digital sign-in sheet, enterprises can collect data to build personas and a customer journey, solicit reviews, and improve customer loyalty. The QLess software is an impactful way to bring attendance back after a pandemic lull.