Corporate events come in many types and sizes, but all have a few elements in common: online registration, some type of check-in process, and a credential (badge, wristband, or digital) which creates an ID assigned to each attendee.

At the simplest prospect or consumer events, in a single location for a few hours, the credential may be just a paper badge with the attendee’s name printed on it. But for more complex events, it pays to have more than one option in your bucket.

There are many events today where a sturdier physical credential is called for. In these instances a badge or wristband – incorporating QR code or RFID technology – can serve many different purposes:

  • Identification: This is the most basic function of a credential, identifying an individual (by name, possibly a photo, and a unique code) as a registered attendee for the event.
  • Marketing: The credential is an element of marketing collateral that can increase impressions of your brand name, image, and/or message.
  • Sponsorship: The credential can identify your company or brand as the sponsor of a game, tournament, concert, or festival. For corporate-hosted events, it can promote sponsoring technology or business partners.
  • Information Delivery: The credential can be used to provide key event0related information to attendees. For example, you can print an exhibit hall map, schedule, or agenda on the back of a badge.
  • Security: The credential can be used for event security and access control purposes. It confirms not only that an attendee is authorized to be at the event, but then within the event, if that person is authorized to be in a certain breakout session or room. Especially in the case where an extra payment, specific job title, or some other parameter determines who can participate in a certain part of the event (e.g., a VIP reception), badging enables you to control that access.
  • Data Collection: The credential can enable you to collect lots of data, both at the group level using beacon technology (how many people were eating lunch at 12:30 vs. 11:30?) and at the individual level (how many breakout sessions did an individual attend? Which ones? Were they generally early, on-time, or late?).
  • Data Entry: It’s a way to share personally identifying information securely and quickly. You can simply touch a phone, iPad reader, or other reading device to an RFID badge and obtain all of that information. Or you can read a QR code natively with most Apple and Android phones. There’s no need for attendees to manually enter their contact information for event activities.
  • Commerce: The credential can enable cashless payments. RFID badges or wrist bands can be scanned for purchases of meals, beverages, or other items at events. Attendees can add money to their event account and track their spending at kiosks or, with many Android phones, via a mobile app.
  • Engagement: Reading a badge or scanning a wristband is an easy, low-friction way for attendees to play games, take surveys, and participate in other activities. Making check-in quick and easy increases attendee engagement at events.

Because of these multiple functions, it’s vital to carefully consider the right type of credential for each event. The extra cost of a more “deluxe” credential is often more than compensated for by the increased data collection opportunities and improvement in the attendee experience.

It’s also crucial to make the right technology choice. Both QR code and RFID technology can acheive most of the objectives above.

The primary advantages of QR codes is they are less expensive than RFID chips and don’t require any special hardware to read.

RFID technology, however, is superior in several respects. It’s more secure. It’s faster and easier to read, which improves the attendee experience. It’s proximity based rather than visual, so it’s not affected by low-light conditions. And it enables group data collection (using beacons) as well as individual credential scanning.

Cost is always a factor when choosing the format and technology of credentials for corporate events, but the primary consideration should be functionality. Think about what purposes beyond just identification the credential needs to serve, and consider the other purposes it can serve. Enhancing the attendee experience may be worth the cost of a more flexible event credential.

To learn more about different types of credentials, click here.

Special thanks to Corporate Event News and Tom Pick for this article!

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