As pc/nametag's in-house Word Wizard, Meaghan creates educational content that brings people together and drives meaningful conversations in the events industry.
There's so much excitement in finally arriving at a conference or trade show that you've been looking forward to for weeks (or maybe even months). It's at that moment that the event experience truly becomes real—and it all starts with getting in line to pick up your event badge and lanyard. 🙌
Event registration isn't just a logistical necessity; it's the first touchpoint attendees have with your event. It's up to you to set your event up for success. For more ways to make the event check-in process just as exciting as your event, read on to find my list of event registration trends to look out for in 2024.
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Event Registration Trends 2024
1. Offering customizable ticket pricing for attendees
The event registration process starts with selling tickets and getting more people in the door. That's why event professionals have begun to get even more creative with their event promotion strategies. Offering a one-size-fits-all ticket price is out; offering flexible pricing options is in.
In 2024, event attendees will expect conference organizers to offer a broader range of event ticket options. Not only does this ensure more accessibility to events, but it also broadens participation among your audience. Attendees want ticket options that work best for their needs and budget.
Examples of flexible ticket pricing for events include the following:
- Early Bird Discounted Tickets: Reward early commitment for registering well in advance.
- Regular Admission Tickets: A baseline option for attendees who miss the early bird window.
- Group Discounted Tickets: Provide a discount for tickets that are purchased in bulk.
- VIP or Premium Tickets: Elevate the experience with reserved seats and special amenities.
- Student Discount Tickets: Make the event more affordable to new industry professionals.
- Tiered Pricing Tickets: Make tickets more expensive over time to reward early sign-ups.
- One-day Passes: Cater to attendees with time constraints with a day pass to the event.
- Workshop Add-on Tickets: Create a unique upsell opportunity with bonus event access.
- Non-profit Discount Tickets: Offer affordable tickets to those affiliated with a charity.
- Virtual Event Tickets: Offer online access to your event for those unable to travel to the venue.
From early bird discounts that reward early commitment to group packages that encourage collective attendance, flexible pricing is a must for catering to your audience's unique preferences. You'll also create an environment where everyone feels welcome, whether they're seeking a cost-effective virtual event live-streaming option or an all-inclusive premium event experience.
2. Planning experiential activations for registration booths
There are a million ways to elevate the event experience, and the event registration process is no exception! 🎉 In 2024, event planners will find creative ways to turn this traditionally "mundane" experience into a fun, interactive experience for attendees. With experiential events on the rise, it's easier than ever to infuse excitement and engagement into the event registration experience.
Create an interactive event check-in process with these strategies:
- Create a themed event registration booth. Checking in doesn't have to be boring. Instead, create a memorable experience that ties in with your event theme. For instance, invite the registration staff to dress up, create themed signage, or hand out fun swag for attendees to wear right away.
- Offer color-coded lanyards. Lanyards can be used to denote different attendee categories (i.e. general attendees, VIPs, staff, etc.) Not only does this streamline identification at a glance for staff, but it also fosters a sense of community since attendees can quickly identify others who share the same lanyard color, This facilitates networking and, for VIPs, offers access to exclusive areas.
- Set up a photo booth. Next to your registration booth, set up a photo opp for attendees to snap a photo with their event badges. Make sure to have an event-branded background that shows your logo or special hashtag to increase visibility! Then, post a sign reminding attendees to post their photos to social media. A random participant may be chosen to earn a prize at the end of the event.
- Set up an interactive mural or art display. Let attendees unleash their artistic abilities! A large mural is a perfect way to keep busy and engaged the second they finish checking in. Whether attendees paint, color, or draw, remember to customize your mural to your event.
👉 Read our full list of event entertainment ideas for creating a buzz-worthy event they'll remember!
3. Infusing gamification into the registration experience
Gamification involves gameplay (i.e. scoring points, competing with others, earning prizes, etc.) to encourage event participation and engagement. These types of activities appeal to attendees because they add an interactive dimension to their event experience.
Once attendees get checked in, invite them to participate in a program where they can earn points, badges, or rewards for completing various steps at your event. For instance, instruct them to visit specific areas of the event venue, collect stamps on a passport, or scan QR codes on a digital scavenger hunt.
More Ways to Use Gamification at Meetings and Events:
- Implement a leaderboard. Track and display points or achievements earned by attendees. Then, recognize top participants to create a competitive spirit or track who earns a prize.
- Create interactive quizzes or trivia. At your registration booth, give attendees a sheet of paper where they can earn points for correct trivia answers (or utilize your event app to keep track).
- Design a photo or selfie challenge. Encourage attendees to take themed photos around the venue, with vendors, or with event sponsors at designated locations. Award points for creativity and share the submissions on event screens or social media.
- Host live polls and voting. Gamify audience engagement and feedback with live polls and voting. Attendees can earn points for participating and see instant results on leaderboards.
- Offer a "Secret Word" scavenger hunt. Gamify how attendees interact with exhibitors! Instruct each booth to choose a secret word. When attendees stop by and chat, they earn access to the secret word. Attendees who collect a certain number of answers can write them down (or submit them via the event app), to earn a prize.
4. Integrating event social media apps and technology
Never underestimate the power of social media event marketing! Social media has the power to increase your brand's reach, boost event registrations, and build a larger audience reach. In 2024, event professionals will infuse more event technology into the conference experience.
Event planners can leverage social media app integrations strategically to boost audience engagement before, during, and after the event.
Maximize the impact of event social media with the following ideas:
- Create an event-branded hashtag. Display your hashtag on signage to encourage attendees to use it on their Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, or "X" (formerly Twitter).
- Gather User Generated Content (UGC) from Event Attendees: After registering, invite attendees to post a photo or video of themselves in your event app's networking space. You can also invite attendees to share their event experience on social media by using an event-branded hashtag.
- Display live feeds of social posts. Get attendees excited to see their posts featured on your event feed! Broadcast posts that use your event's hashtag on screens around the venue.
- Enable social sharing. Make it easy for attendees to share their favorite event highlights directly from your event app to their social media profiles. These posts will fuel user-generated content.
- Facilitate networking through social media app integrations. Allow attendees to connect based on shared interests or profiles.
- Create dedicated networking spaces within the event app. Here, attendees can engage in discussions and exchange contact information.
- Host Contests and Challenges: Launch social media contests or challenges with enticing prizes to encourage attendees to actively participate and share their experiences.
- Leverage Push Announcements: Keep attendees informed in real-time by pushing live updates, announcements, and schedule changes through social media channels integrated into the event app. Use social media platforms to tease upcoming sessions or surprise activities, building anticipation.
- Use UGC in Post-event Engagment Strategies: Continue the conversation through post-event engagement! Share highlights, photos, and exclusive content on social media, within your newsletter, and on your website.
Your goal is to encourage attendees to capture and share their experience with their personal and professional networks. This type social proof will give you free access to grassroots marketing among your audience.
5. Using badge ribbons as attendee networking tools.
Have you ever been to a conference and seen those little, customizable accessories you can stick to the bottom of your badge? Those are badge ribbons! They come in all sorts of colors and often feature funny, witty, or creative titles. You can attach a single ribbon to your badge or wear multiple by stacking them on each other.
In 2024, more events will use badge ribbons as cost-effective giveaways at registration. Badge ribbons are a fun way to help attendees break the ice, start conversations with one another, add identifiers to their badges, or share useful information with other people. Plus, we think they’re a lot of fun to wear.
Creative ways to use badge ribbons at during event registration:
- Prepare attendees for an icebreaker activity. Attending events can be nerve-wracking, especially for introverts and first-time attendees. Use badge ribbons to let attendees show off their personalities while also easing those first-day jitters.
- Hand out badge ribbons relating to your industry or event theme. Capture your favorite industry expressions on badge ribbons! Printing witty catchphrases on a wearable accessory will help attendees identify with your event.
- Celebrate diversity and inclusion. Badge ribbons have the power to create a more welcoming event experience. Subtle pronoun ribbons, for example, let people display their pronouns right from their event badges.
- Add value to sponsorship packages. Sponsorships are an easy way to offset event costs and promote your event's mission. Give out silver-, gold- and platinum-level “SPONSOR” ribbons to increase the value of a brand’s sponsorship reach.
- Reward event volunteers. Volunteer ribbons can help spread awareness, recognize volunteers, and thank them for their help. You can also opt for custom themed ribbons that feature your organization’s mantra, mission, or vision.
You can learn a lot about a person just by looking at their ribbon stack. That’s why we think badge ribbons are one of the most fun and inclusive ways to spark conversations and leave lasting impressions on people at your event:
- Custom Badge Ribbons: Choose your own ribbon color, foil, wording, and artwork.
- In-stock Badge Ribbons: Explore hundreds of ready-to-ship titles from pc/nametag.
- Badge Ribbon Packs: Shop a variety of themed, pre-assembled badge ribbon collections.
6. Prioritizing sustainability with eco-friendly event badges
Event sustainability is becoming one of the fastest-growing trends in the meetings industry and for
good reason. Today’s event professionals are more climate-conscious than ever before, and they’re
already doing their part to save the planet. While the events industry offers awesome contributions of
learning, entertainment, and networking, its waste and carbon footprint are undeniable.
In 2024, the demand for sustainable events will grow, including the need for eco-friendly event badges, name tags, lanyards, and other event supplies. Attendees want to witness your commitment to the planet first-hand, and choosing to go green with badges is an easy win.
- Choose sustainable event badges. There are plenty of options on the market, and you don't need to sacrific on quality to go green. The following suggestions have been a hit with our planners.
- Pair event badges with sustainable lanyards. My favorite is the recycled lanyard, with is made with reclaimed plastic soda bottles. You might also like the customer-favorite Organic Cotton Lanyard and the upscale Bevl™ Organic Cotton Lanyard.
Aiming for full sustainability will come with time, but let’s start by working to reduce your impact
step-by-step. I'd suggest taking a look at our eco-friendly event supplies look book, or downloading my free event sustainability guide below!
7. Saving time with event badge preparation services
As an event professional, you’re in charge of managing every aspect of your event right down to name
badge preparation. While this process may seem simple, handling it yourself can take away valuable
time from other mission-critical tasks on your to-do list.
In 2024, event planners will lean into vendors to help prepare show-ready event badges. Save yourself unnecessary stress by getting expertly designed name tags, event badges or staff IDs—fully
alphabetized and organized—shipped directly to your office or event.
Name Badges to Go, for example, helps eliminates the need to prepare your own name tags
for meetings and events. We handle every step from start to finish. Simply send us your attendee list
and we’ll do the coordination, printing, assembly and shipping for you (...easy peasy)!
- PRO TIP: Make your event registration booth look clean and neat an event badge organizer tray (seen below). Not only does this look slick, but it also helps staff locate attendee names quicker. I'd suggest the OneWay Stack for flat name tag trays, and the OneWay Flex for space saving trays.
8. Using AI and chatbots to make event check-in easier
By now, you're likely familiar with the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and chatbots on the event planning process. Event planners are already using ChatGPT to make event planning easier, ai-powered event check-in apps, and chatbot engagement tools to meet their goals.
In 2024, event professionals will continue to use artificial intelligent to expedite and improve the event registration process. AI technologies can help you automate time-intensive processes, add more personalization, and boost efficiency so you can focus on creating unforgettable experiences.
Additionally, chatbots are a simple way to provide instant assistance, answer queries, and guide attendees through the registration journey, ensuring a seamless and user-friendly process.
Ideas for leveraging AI to elevate the event registration experience for attendees:
- Add intelligent personalization. AI can analyze attendee data to personalize the registration experience from suggesting relevant sessions to pre-filling forms with known information.
- Use ChatGPT to create an email marketing series. sfsf
- Automate attendee support. Chatbots can answer common conference-related queries and provide instant assistance. Learn on this technology instead of staying glued to your computer answering emails.
- Gauge attendee satisfaction levels. Use ai-powered event technology to track your net promoter score (NPS) year over year. Use it to gather attendee feedback for future event improvements.
By incorporating these technology-focused solutions, event planners can not only simplify the registration process but also enhance the overall attendee experience. Explore how to use apps and tools to optimize workflows, reduce manual efforts, and ensure that the registration process becomes a seamless and enjoyable part of the event experience.
9. Surprising attendees with custom gift boxes
If there’s one thing people love, it’s getting a surprise gift box filled with event swag. Custom event gift boxes are one of the trendiest ways to show appreciation, whether you’re looking to surprise attendees, thank sponsors, add value to VIP level event tickets, or add flair to a welcome reception.
In 2024, event professionals will utilize gift boxes as part of the event registration process to add value and improve attendee satisfaction. The advantage of custom gift boxes is they can feature virtually any type of event-branded apparel, personalized gifts, or sponsored swag items you'd like.
They're also a fun surprise when mailed, especially for 100% virtual conferences. Or, invite attendees to pick up their gift boxes before the event, at registration, or from a booth at their convenience.
How to Use Gift Boxes as Part of the Attendee Registration Experience:
- Start with a gift box theme. For example, an “industry innovation" box could include items that improve productivity such as a notebook, pen, water bottle and a healthy snack. A "coffee break" box could include an event-branded mug, locally roasted coffee and a Bluetooth speaker to play some relaxing tunes. And lastly, a company-themed box could include fun branded items with your organization's logo.
- Select colors for your box and packing paper. Tie your colors in with your event's branding or color palette. Then, adhere custom art to the inside and outside of the box, add branded apparel or gifts, then finish off with a handwritten thank-you note to add meaning.
- Include badges and lanyards in your gift box. If you're distributing gift boxes at a welcome reception, include attendees' credentials right inside their boxes. This is a creative way to cut down on long registration lines.
Need more curated gift box ideas? From tasty treat boxes to sophisticated client appreciation boxes, find ideas and inspiration here.
10. Integrating processes with event software.
Event organizers are no strangers to data analytics. But now, they're getting more creative with using event software platforms to personalize the registration process. Tailoring registration forms and experiences based on attendee profiles and preferences is a surefire way to enhance satisfaction.
Most event management software provides a suite of tools to simplify and enhance the event registration process. From efficient attendee data collection to seamless event check-ins, software platforms can alleviate many of the tedious tasks and complexities of organizing events.
Use event software to improve the registration experience in the following ways:
- Automate email campaigns. Set up automated email campaigns to send personalized invitations, reminders, and confirmations before, during, and after event registration.
- Customize your registration forms. Software like RSVPify lets planners create customizable registration forms tailored to the specific needs of their event. Collect relevant information from someone's name, title, and company, all the way to their meal preference or shirt size.
- Collect real-time event data. Leverage reporting and analytics tools to gain insights into event registration trends, attendee demographics, and engagement metrics. This data-driven approach enables conference planners make informed decisions for future events.
- Create mobile-friendly registration. A great perk of event software is the ability to sign up for an event on a smartphone, tablet, or other electronic device. Look for event registration software that features plenty of field customization options and responsive design.
- Integrate data with your CRM system. Some event management software lets you integrate data with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This integration streamlines attendee data management, fostering better communication and relationship-building.
- Offer QR Code event check-in. Use your event software or check-in app to let attendees get signed in by scanning a QR code. They'll appreciate this tech-driven check-in process.
Event software tools not only simplify logistical challenges but also empower event organizers to create more engaging and successful events. Use event technology to "work smarter," not harder.
👉 READ MORE: "Event registration trends: the rise of last minute attendees"