Queueing - the end of the line?
Apart from in Britain, where standing in line is one of our favourite pastimes, queueing is becoming a relic of a bygone age, as Anne Cassidy, content manager for the Guardian Small Business Network, writes:
Now that the digital age has introduced us to the joys of instant gratification, waiting interminably in line is no longer accepted as a necessary part of life. “Tech, mobile apps and information flow is creating a generation of people who are saying ‘I don’t need to wait’,” says Michael Xenakis, managing director EMEA of online restaurant reservations provider OpenTable.
Retailers and event organisers are now under huge pressure to keep up with consumer queue-avoidance; if they don’t, they could end up with a high percentage of walkouts or consumers who only use their product once and never again. Increasingly, these businesses are turning to technology for solutions to their queue woes; in fact, after ‘planning in advance’, Eventbrite names technology as their number 2 solution to avoiding queues. Here at Trumin, we are always looking for new ways to reduce waiting times for participants. Clients want their customers to get through registration as quickly as possible, not only to give them a positive first experience of the event, but also so they can enter the arena and start spending money! Here, we’ll take a look at what we’re doing to cut down those pesky lines.
1. Dynamic Allocation
At check-in, we dynamically allocate anything that the participant needs - this might be a timing chip and bib number for a race or an RFID wristband for a festival or conference. Therefore, participants only need to queue once. Once the QR code on their event pass has been scanned, the bib/tag/wristband they need will be scanned one after the other and added to their profile, then they’re free to go! Queue once; queue well.
2. Online Check-In
Airlines have been operating online check-in for over a decade, but the events industry has been relatively slow on the uptake. How many times have you been to an event (even armed with a computer-readable ticket!) and had to wait until someone can cross off your your name on one of fifteen pieces of paper? We’ve found that if registered participants are emailed a week or so before the event and prompted to print their passes, most will do so and turn up to the event with their QR-code, ready to be scanned at one of our ‘Quick Check-In’ desks.
Often, for extreme sports events, or any event involving risk, there is documentation that must be read and signed, which when done on the day causes huge waits for participants. This is why we have a ‘waiver-signing’ function; an all-in-one solution that includes terms and conditions, which the participant reads and then agrees to with their digital signature. This also has a QR code on, and becomes their event pass.
3. Event-Day Filtering
On event day, we have two types of check-in. It’s kind of like a fast-lane for the organised pass-printers, and a slower lane for those who either forgot to print their event pass or who want to register on the day. We’ve found that this system is understood as fair by participants - and the concept of ‘fairness’ is pretty important when it comes to people’s attitudes to standing in line. For example: the 10-items-or-less till at the supermarket. We know it’s fair that the line is shorter for those people, because they only have a few items. We would just slow them down with our family-of-five shopping haul. So, when people see the ‘event pass’ line at an event, they know that this queue is not for them if they do not have one. Fair enough.
Participants who have printed their passes can zoom through the quick check-in tablets. All that is required here is to scan the QR code, assign the necessary items, and look for the big green tick on the screen.
People who want to sign up on the day or who have no event pass take a little longer to process, so by filtering them out, we can avoid unnecessary delays. Still, event organisers can speed up even this process. On their settings page for the event, they can select/deselect how much information they want to collect from new signups. So if they don’t want to spend loads of time collecting postcodes and home telephone numbers, they don’t have to.
4. What are we working towards?
Our goal is to work towards a self-service check-in. One reason why this is currently tricky is because most events require event passes to be checked alongside ID, which needs to be done by humans - we love humans, but let’s face it, we can be a bit slow. So, firstly we plan to continue with our integration with Yoti, the digital identity app. Yoti uses ID, verified with facial recognition software, to confirm the person is who they say they are. Read more about all the amazing work Yoti are doing here. We are also always trying to improve our UX/UI to make it more intuitive. This way, organisers can cut down on volunteer training time, reduce errors, and ultimately let participants use the software themselves.