When to use self-registration terminals at an event?

Sep 27, 2018 | Event Registration, Expertise

Self-registration terminals vs Staffed terminals

The trend through most industries has been to remove the need for human interaction at the point of transaction. Whether this is banks of self-service checkouts at the supermarket, and their ubiquitous warnings – ‘Unexpected item in the bagging area’, or the cheque paying in machine at the bank.

The exhibition industry has been no different and it has become common sight to see rows of touchscreens with keyboards in the entrance for event registration that allow visitors who have not pre-registered to register themselves on-site.

As we have just released our new self-registration interface it seemed like a good opportunity to compare self-reg and staffed terminals and look at when best to use either method.


One of the key benefits of self-registration is simply that it looks more modern, it shows your visitor that you are embracing newer technologies and if your event has a tech focus it is likely the route to take. Visitors who are used to being able to self-serve throughout their daily lives, at the airport, at the cinema etc., will look at a paper registration form and pen with an air of confusion as if it is parchment and a quill.

In this new era of GDPR and customer awareness of their data, nobody wants to worry about data in hard copy form if they can help it. Our self-reg software removes the need for any unwanted data protection concerns by storing data directly onto encrypted drives.

Many of our customers now take advantage of our online approve/deny system allowing the organiser to vet the audience before approving their registration if certain entrance criteria need to be met. With this technology in use you need to consider whether self reg is the best method for dealing with your new registrations. New registrations can be held until approved using supervisor access codes, but it may well be easier to direct new visitors to query desks who can process the registration straight away.

In the same vein if you are taking payment for entrance to your event, it is much simpler to allow this to be dealt with by one of the registration team who will be fully trained in cash and card payment handling.

Staffed registration

Filling out a paper copy form and handing to member of staff may seem old hat but it is still quickest and most efficient way to process onsite registrations. Skilled typing staff can check the entries on the paper form are complete (and legible!), quickly add the details needed for the badge and then the visitor can be on their way. Later in the day, when the rush of visitors has gone in to the show, the full details from the form can be added to the database.

There aren’t many events that have large volumes of onsite registrations anymore but for those that do nothing beats this method for getting people through the door quickly and efficiently.

There is a common misconception that having staffed registration terminals is more expensive as you are paying for the typing staff, however, when you consider the extra self-registration screens you need to handle the same volume of visitors and the staff needed to help those poor lost souls not used to self-service staring blankly at a touchscreen, the costs are fairly equivalent.


First impressions are key, and registration is likely the first contact the visitor will have with your event on-site. No one method of on-site registration is better than the other, so you need to consider which is the most appropriate for your event and your audience to give them a great start to their event experience. JET has the software and skilled on-site staff to do both and will work with you to plan out the best options for a smooth and efficient registration area. Having a consultative approach is something we pride ourselves on here at JET. We know the ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work in the varied world of events.

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