As trivial as it might seem, planning how you will hand out the name badges at your event could save time and frustration to your team and most importantly the guests.
Here are some of the best strategies and the situations they best apply to.
Shipping the badges
This strategy is by far the most expensive and complicated to deploy for the management team, but also the most elegant and non-intrusive for the attendees.
You basically order all badges ahead of time and create individual envelopes with the assembled badge and lanyard and you get them mailed. This can be done by your team or by a fulfilling company that charge you for a service like this.
This works for premium events, where personalization and attention to detail is very important. After paying $1,500 for admission, you don’t want to wait 20 minutes at the registration table to get your badge.
You will still need an on-site solution, like ours, that let’s you create and print badges on the spot. There’s always someone who forgets the badge at home or simply looses it during the event.
Also, for this strategy to work efficiently you need to add QR codes that when scanned they check-in the attendee, otherwise keeping count of who attended can get tricky and would kill all the time gained by mailing the badges.
Emailing the badges
In you have a limited budget and your event is rather small you could generate PDF name badges and email individual copies to your attendees for them to print at home.
This will take time, but it will save you money on ink and paper.
Don’t forget that attendees still need to attach or hang the badge somehow to themselves so you will still need to source lanyards, pins or clips, and maybe badge holders too.
In my opinion, this is the worst way to hand out badges, it’s painful for attendees and for the management team.
If you’re tight on money I recommend creating PDF badges and printing on self-adhesive labels, you will save money on attachment mechanisms and holders.
BONUS: On the other hand, if your audience is tech-savvy emailing the badges is a perfect way to save resources.
They could display their badge in their phone. True, the main idea of badges is to know a person’s name and other info with just a quick glance. Having to take out your phone sort of defeats that purpose.
BUT If you add vCard QR codes to your digital badges, you still leave the attendees the opportunity to do lead retrieval easily.
This can be the best or the worst way, it heavily depends on the team’s organization skills and equipment. Taking these two variables out of the equation this strategy works for both big and small events.
But a third variable is the most important. I’m talking about the flow of attendees. If your event is made almost entirely of walk-ins. Or if it’s a massive free one (even if registration is needed), because a lot of people might not show up, leaving you with unused badges and wasted resources. So you must print on demand.
Now, let’s talk about organization skills and equipment.
If you have a rather large event, you might want to split the registration table in 4 or 5 separate ones, based on the attendees last name for example (Table 1 last names from A-F, Table 2 G-L, etc). You could also have a few lanes per table to speed things up even more.
Equipment-wise, you will need a laptop and a printer. Depending on which solution you choose for badge making, you might also need an internet connection, special sized paper, etc. If you choose our service, in terms of printers, you only need one that accepts PDF files, some label printers accept this kind of files too. With us you can also get custom-made micro-perforated paper that prints one double-sided badge at a time, so no waste.
If you are organizing an event (big or small )where attendees pay for the admission, it’s safe to pre-print all badges in advance and only have a backup print station, for misspelled names and walk-ins.
Lay out the badges
This works great for small events (up to 100 attendees). You basically take out the badges from the box they came in lay them out on a table, you can put alphabetical tabs separating the name badges by the last name’s initial letter.
TIP: Do not attach the lanyards to the badges, the table will look like a mess, and lanyards will intertwine with each other. Next to the table put a small hanger with the lanyards and let attendees take one and attach it themselves to the badge, it won’t take them more than 5 seconds and it will save you an hour of work, easily.
Lay out the badges — Tray variation
Instead of putting the badges directly on the table you can buy these trays. They can hold 50 badges each and look nice on the registration table.
For large events the only drawback is the space the take and shipping these can be costly, because of their volume.
Also if you are buying them try to reuse them in future events, it’s a lot of plastic waste.
Hand them out one by one
This strategy might be the least time-consuming and easier to organize.
Basically, an attendee arrives, you comb the names, hand out the badge and lanyard. You’re done.
You can also check attendees in with a scanner or manually on a spreadsheet, this way you kill two birds with one stone.
TIP: For high profile events, you can easily add a layer of security to this method by asking for a photo ID.
For big events, as with other methods, , you can split the registration table to accommodate guests faster.
Here at Conference Badge we deliver the badges in small boxes of about 100 badges each, all neatly organized with alphabetical tabs to easily find a attendee’s name. This setup has proven to be the most cost effective (where customers pay less in shipping) and the fastest when looking up for an attendees name.
So there you go those are the 6 most conventional way to hand out name badges at events.
If you have other ideas, go ahead and add them in the comments!