Digital check-in apps for events have been around for a few years now. The kinks in the technology have been worked out, and major players in events--from conferences to fashion to entertainment to politics--rely on check-in apps for ironclad check-in.

As the makers of event management software for invite-only events, we’ve learned a lot from thousands of event organizers what makes the difference at their events.

If you haven’t yet made the switch and still trust pen & paper as your go-to, here are a few points you might want to consider:

It’s faster

If there’s one immediate difference event planners notice the first time using a check-in app, it’s this. Check-in apps are just plain faster, get guests into your event sooner, and keep lines short.

The exact time difference varies (we’ve found that zkipster users have got it down to an average of 2 seconds per check-in), but it’s easy to see when you compare paper guest lists to an app check-in:


  1. Find the right list
  2. Find the right page
  3. Find the guest’s name on the page (as long as they’re on it)
  4. Check them in on the page
  5. Make sure they’re checked in on the up-to-date master list
  6. Done (hopefully!)


  1. Enter the guest’s name (assisted by auto-complete)
  2. Tap check-in, long press for checking in a whole group
  3. Done! 

It’s more flexible

You can bend a stack of paper more easily than a tablet, but that’s about the only flexibility paper has over digital event management.

Consider the following all-too-common paper guest list scenario: a key group of VIPs respond to your RSVP the day of the event, after the guest lists have been printed and distributed. Do you destroy all the existing lists and print new ones, pencil in the VIPs to the existing lists (and hope there are no errors), or update your team through word of mouth?

These certainly aren’t impossible options, and many event planners have found creative solutions for a very long time without check-in apps, but now consider the digital approach:

The day of the event (even after check-in has already started), your key group of VIPs responds and says they’re on the way. You simply update the master guest list in the cloud, and all check-in staff automatically receive an updated digital guest list - no errors or variations among them.

As Oliver Smith, an Events Manager at Dow Jones, puts it “it’s critical to the success and smooth running of our events.”

It gives you more insights

It’s safe to say that on the big list of things event planners enjoy, “manually checking and validating stacks of check-in lists after an event” ranks somewhere just above “telling the guests that the caterer has cancelled.”

To then take that information and glean insights from it--such as when the most guests check in relative to the listed starting time of your event, or how many media showed up versus how many sponsors--is a tall order.

The more events you run, the less likely you’ll be able to invest the time to reliably gather interesting information like that, and put it to use for your future events.

Check-in apps, especially ones like zkipster that are fully fledged event management software as well, offer another easy alternative: the information is automatically tabulated and summed up for you so you can focus on the best parts of your work.

It’s impressive

Guests normally might be too removed from the processes of event management to notice trade details like what tools you’re using, but check-in is a special exception.

When your VIPs arrive at an event and see lines quickly flowing into the venue, and then see event staff holding tablets instead of messy paper guest lists - well, they take notice and many get curious.

Using a check-in app has subtle ripple effects like that on someone’s entire guest experience, from how quickly people get through the line, to how prepared and elegant the event staff seems, to removing little annoyances like arriving and discovering you’re not on the ‘official’ guest list.

Martina Berlin from PANDORA UK sums it up best: “If the event organiser is able to spend their time efficiently and in the right areas, this ultimately means a better event experience for the guests.”

So to that end, using a check-in app not only makes life easier for you and your team, but it makes your guests happier. And when you come down to it, that’s really what it’s all about.


Written by the zkipster team
zkipster is the event management software for the world's best invitation-only events. Event professionals use zkipster for fast, reliable, and secure guest check in, custom online invitations, and event analytics. Since launching in 2009, zkipster has been used to check in over 12 million guests across more than 100 countries at galas, premieres, fundraisers, product launches, conferences, and corporate events.
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