Five fabulous guest check-in apps for events

This week we’re answering a question posed by one of our Event Birdie Pros, Emma:
 
Could you recommend a great working iPad app for event guest check-in? We have been using Check-in Easy with much pain and we are trying to move away from paper!
 
Great question Emma! 
 
We have all been there – clipboards, flapping paper, highlighters, pens… and then the nightmare of collating all the check-in details post-event. There must be an easier way!
 
The good news is there are heaps of different apps designed to help you check-in guests at your events. On starting our research, however, we found ourselves overwhelmed with just how many there were! How on earth is anyone to know which one is best?
 
So on your behalf we have researched and tested (where possible) as many as we could find before narrowing it down to our top five. As everyone’s requirements may be different, we suggest you take advantage of the free trials on offer to find the solution that works best for you.
 
In order to narrow down the selection, we focussed solely on apps that manage event check-in as their main functionality. If you are keen to learn about the hundreds of apps that are designed to manage ticketing and registration, then we recommend you check out this e-book by Julius Solarius which is a great read for any event professional – The Event Registration Report

So here it is, our top five apps for event guest check-in…


zkipsterZkipster logo
www.zkipster.com

We really liked zkipster! It was really easy to use and their instructional videos (narrated by Gemma) ensured we didn’t waste time guessing how to use the system. It looked great, performed well and is definitely worth a test drive.

Loading the guest list…

Loading the guest list is as easy as downloading their CSV template, completing it with your content and then reloading it back into your account. In addition to the standard name and email headings, you can also add up to three headings of your choice e.g. table number, company name or VIP access. The list is easily accessed for editing on your PC and the app. You can also add guests manually.

Can you use multiple devices to check-in guests?

Yes. You can use as many devices as you wish. However in order for the guest lists on each device to synchronise with real time stats, all devices are required to be connected to WiFi. The app prompts you when you lose connectivity and reminds you to reconnect to WiFi before logging off to ensure no data is lost. It is possible to use the app without WiFi.

Are there auto alerts for VIPs?

Yes. You can set email alerts to send when VIPs are checked in.

Can you add unexpected guests during check-in?

Yes. Adding and editing the guest list is really easy on the app.

Are there real time stats on guest attendance?

Yes. However, remember that if multiple iPads are being used the stats will only collate if all devices are connected to WiFi. 

Can you download the guest list post-event for analysis?

Yes. After the event all data will be synchronised on the main account and you will be able to download reports to analyse.

Any other features?

They have great little web tutorials that make it really easy to learn how to use the system.
 
We also love that they have some awesome add-on features available including:
- Name Badge Printing - a wireless high-speed printer connected to the guest list app to print name tags on the spot;
- Guest Pictures - guest pictures seamlessly integrated into the guest list app; 
- Social Media Tracking - a social media connector (Twitter and Instagram) to activate influencer and pull social media reports for post event analysis; and 
- Dynamic Seating Charts - create floor plans, add tables and chairs, and then assign guests to their places all at the swipe of a finger!
 
We didn’t test these features, but we think they could definitely come in handy!

The app is available on… 

iPad, iPhone and Android

Cost?

From US$99/ event with seasonal plans available. 
To use the add-on features you'll need the Professional Plan which is $295/ month.




 

Attend.comAttend.com logo
Attend.com is another fabulous system and not only looks good, but works like a dream. Their packages start from US$200/ month billed annually. Their popular Pro package is US$625/ month and for their all-bells-and-whistles Enterprise package, is a hefty US$1,125/ month - so unless you’re a serious user this may not be suitable.

(Please note: at the time of writing this article Attend offered a free option with minimal features. The free option is no longer available (January 2015))

Loading the guest list…

Loading the guest list is as easy as downloading their CSV template, completing it with your content and then reloading it back into your account. It was very easy to download and upload and, like zkipster, you can easily customise three additional headings for your list.

Can you use multiple devices to check-in guests?

Yes. However, like the other apps remember that they will only synchronise if you are connected to WiFi.

Are there auto alerts for VIPs?

Yes. You can set email or SMS alerts for when VIPs are checked in.

Can you add unexpected guests during check-in?

Yes. Adding to and editing the guest list is really easy.

Are there real time stats on guest attendance?

Yes. We thought the interface for this feature was the best of all the apps. Remember though, if multiple iPads are being used the stats will only collate if all devices are connected to WiFi. 

Can you download the guest list post event for analysis?

Yes. You can download attendance reports post event. The Pro account also allows you to dowload event success metric reports to analyse. A new feature for both the Pro and Enterprise packages is integration with Salesforce and Marketo.

Any other features?

They have a range of event management tools that help you plan, produce and improve events. This includes name badge printing, mobile agenda apps, online surveys and event success metrics. We didn’t look into all these features, but it’s clear that this system can help you with a lot more than just event check-in!

The app is available on…

iPad and iPhone

Cost?

From US$200/ month billed annually.



 

Event FarmEvent Farm Logo
Event Farm claims to be the first company to design an iPad check-in app for the industry. After reading the online reviews it seems this oldie is still a goodie for most users. We, however, found the desktop interface a little harder than the others to use, but that could just be us…

Since writing this post, we've recently revisited Event Farm (April 2016) and they have had a major make-over of their website and product. Their key selling point now is that they provide users with a brandable landing page for your event registration in conjunction to their check-in service app. The price for this service is a lot more. However, on searching a little harder, we discovered their check-in app only service is still available - we reviewed that below.

Loading the guest list…

Loading the guest list is as easy as downloading their CSV template or one you have created yourself, completing it with your content and then reloading it back into your account. You can also manually add guests.

Can you use multiple devices to check-in guests?

Yes. However, like the other apps remember that they will only synchronise if you are connected to WiFi. 

Are there auto alerts for VIPs?

Yes. You can set email alerts for when VIPs are checked in.

Can you add unexpected guests during check-in?

Yes. Adding and editing the guest list is really easy.

Are there real time stats on guest attendance?

Yes. However, like the other apps remember that they will only synchronise if you are connected to WiFi.

Can you download the guest list post event for analysis?

Yes. After the event you can download reports on the guest list to analyse. 

Any other features?

They offer additional services such as e-invitation design, ticketing and digital event activations. The event check-in app can also connect to your Salesforce account should you use that system too.

If you are looking for more than just a check-in app, then Event Farm's new brandablity service might be worth a look too.

The app is available on…

iPad, iPhone and Android

Cost?

Using the app for events with up to 100 guests is FREE! From US$75/ event for events up to 3,500.



 

GuestsnowGuestsnow Logo
Guestsnow, previously Gjests, is a solid contender in the competitive market of check-in and RSVP management systems. It’s also the first app to allow seamless integration with your Facebook events. 

Loading the guest list

Upload with either a CVS/Excel template or manually input via the app or desktop platform.

Can you use multiple devices to check-in guests?

Yes, you can use up to 5 devices at the one time but more if you want to upgrade it. However, like the other apps remember that they will only synchronise if you are connected to WiFi.

Are there auto alerts for VIPs?

Yes.

Can you add unexpected guests during check-in?

Yes. 

Are there real time stats on guest attendance?

Yes. Although the system will only sync if all devices are connected to WiFi.

Can you download the guest list post event with reports?

Yes. You can access a range of reports and analytics from the moment you email your invitation to when guests check-in – including a timestamp on arrival. 

Any other features?

Guestsnow is not just a check-in app, it also allows you to send invitations and track RSVPs from the system. It also has a team collaboration feature which allows different types of users to input guest lists without seeing other event or guest list data.  

Plus Guestsnow claims to be the only check-in and RSVP app to fully integrate with Facebook events.

The app is available on…

iPad, iPhone and Android

Cost?

Their all-included packages start from US$89 per event or US$233 per month for unlimited check-in & events.



 

AttendiumAttendium logo
Attendium looks fairly good and has some great features. It is a little harder to set up initially than the other options, but once you get the guest list template up and running, this is a good option.

Loading the guest list

There are instructions on how to set up your Excel spreadsheet, but no template to download. 

Can you use multiple devices to check guests in?

Yes. However their monthly fees differ depending on how many devices you have. 

Are there auto alerts for VIPs?

No.

Can you add unexpected guests during check-in?

Yes. Although we found the predictive text on the text fields slowed us down when inputting information.

Are there real time stats on guest attendance?

Yes. Although the system will only sync if all devices are connected to WiFi.

Can you download the guest list post event with reports?

Yes. 

Any other features?

You can allow guests to sign-up to your events via a Facebook app or a widget you can load onto your website.

The app is available on…

iPad and iPhone

Cost?

They only offer a monthly option from US$113/ month (max 5 devices).


 

 
Snafflz
Snafflz claim to be the number one guest check-in app… However despite the site looking great we were unable to upload a guest list to test the app properly. We downloaded their great template, followed all the instructions and…nothing. It is disappointing as Snafflz looked as though it may have some good features and, compared to some of the other options, was priced fairly well. Feel free to try it out yourself – you may get better results. www.snafflz.com



Are you using any of the above apps – any tips and tricks on event guest check-in? If so, we’d love to hear your comments below.

*Content last updated on 11 April 2016