The Perfect Event Registration Desk

There is a lot that goes in to running a successful event; the venue, the sponsors, the exhibitors, the invitations, the catering, the transportation...and with all that in mind, sometimes the registration area can be left as an afterthought. However the registration desk is usually the first part of the event your attendee's experience and should really make a good first impression.

Here are our tips on how you can make it run like clockwork, keep queues to a minimum, and be prepared for every eventualty on the event day.

Clear signage - really helps speed things up!

  • Signage soon becomes redundant if it's not visible once people are standing in front of it, so avoid signs on the desk surface or mounted below waist height. They should be a little above head height, so that people who aren't at the front of the queue can see them, but not so high that they don't get noticed.

  • If you have a lot of badges to be collected, split the desk alphabetically. Work out the best split for your attendees based on how many attendees there are for each letter.

  • Don’t let queries hold everyone else up from registering. Have a separate query/information desk, clearly signed. This could also double up as a place for speakers or VIPs to go when they arrive.

  • Have a separate desk for "walk-in" guests who haven't pre-registered.

  • If you're using the word 'registration' in your signage, make sure it's not used ambiguously. It can refer to pre-event registration or onsite registration.

How to handle unexpected guests          

  • A badge printer with badge printing software can be hired for your event. We can set you up with onsite badge printing software so you can print off new badges in seconds. If numbers are low and budgets tight, a low cost solution such as a label printer could be sufficient.

  • Agree an entry policy with the event manager or client before the event. If someone isn't on your list and is convinced they should be, what can you reasonably ask from them in order to prove that they should be allowed in, without upsetting bonafide guests?

  • Do you need to know who has attended your event? If so, talk to us about barcoding your badges.

Designing the perfect desk

If you are fortunate enough to be able to choose a desk or have one built, here are some tips to make it run like a dream.

1) For your badge printing desk, build a ledge at the front of the desk, about 20 - 30cm high, with an opaque vertical face at the front. This allows you to hide cables, stationary etc from the view of attendees and also gives them a place where they can put things down and pick up leaflets etc.  

2) Before building or choosing the desk, consider if you want your staff to be standing or sitting. If they're standing, you don't want the desk to be too low, particularly if they're using a computer. 

3) Any lanyards that need to be collected should be hung on poles to allow for a quick and efficient hand over. There is nothing more irritating than having to untangle lanyards in front of attendees.

4) Have a shelf underneath the desk for electricals and handbags. Make it half-depth, so there's space for legs too!

5) Put some holes in the top of the desk for cables to run through, and neaten them up with a grommet cable hole cover. 

6) Have some holes in the sides of the desks too, or cut a space at the bottom of the desk to run cables underneath, so you can feed cables between desks.

7) Don't forget safety! Do not leave any loose cables where people will be walking. Cover them with carpet, tape or rubber cable protectors.

What should be in your registration toolkit?

We find having the following at our registration desk prepares you for any eventuality:

  • Badge Trays - make it so much easier to transport and display your badges, and they keep the desk neat throughout the event.
  • A - Z cards will help your staff find badges quickly.

  • Spare badges for onsite walk-ins, spelling corrections, replacements, and the VIP badge everyone forgot to add to the list!

  • A printed copy of your delegate list. 

  • Stationary: Plenty of pens, pads, a stapler, paper clips, rubber bands, scissors, sellotape, sticky pads...

  • Velcro strips for neatening cables, and gaffer tape to keep them hidden away.

  • A laptop, printer and some acrylic sign holders - great for last-minute signage!

  • Some coloured dot stickers, for differentiating between individual people, eg. those with special requirements.

  • Common phone chargers or a multi-charger (iPhone, mini-USB, Nokia, Blackberry).

  • Screen wipes.

The little things your registration staff should know

  • Where are the nearest toilets?

  • Where is the cloakroom?

  • What time does the event kick off?

  • Is there a printed agenda?

  • Do you have a taxi number?

  • How far are we from the city centre/airport/train station?

  • Is there WiFi available? What's the password to get on to it?


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