Should our association mail badges to attendees before the show?

If you’ve ever been to an association convention and seen people standing in line, not to register, but to simply pick up badges, you have to wonder if there is a better way. The not-so-new idea of mailing badges in advance to your association convention’s attendees is one obvious solution to the problem.

However, mailing badges to your association convention attendees brings its own problems to the situation. Included among those problems for your association are:

– Expense. Mailing badges to your association event attendees takes labor (either by your staff, registration company or mailing house) and postage. These costs can quickly add up to an amount that your association may be able to better put to use in some other way.

– Lost mailings. Mailing badges to your association event attendees can go awry if the attendee’s address changes before the mailing is sent. While the badge may be forwarded, it may not reach them in time for your association’s convention. Problems can also arise if the attendee had a typo in their address listing. While the badge may be returned to the association event staff, there may not be time to send it again before the association event begins. Correcting the address also requires labor and additional postage.

– Cut-off time. Unless your association plan to overnight badges, which would be very expensive, your association will need to cut off pre-show registration well in advance of the show to allow time for delivery of badges. If registration is not closed far in advance, the people who register for your association event in the final days will not receive their badges before the show, requiring that they pick them up when the arrive at your association’s event.

– Lost/forgotten badges. Even if the badge is delivered on-time and to the correct location, many association event attendees will either misplace the badge or forget it when they head to your association’s convention. This requires additional labor and customer inconvenience for your association.

Given the potential problems with mailing badges in advance of your association convention, you can begin to understand why many associations simply require that attendees pick them up on-site. If your association can make the on-site pickup quick, easy and cost-effective, this may be the better solution.

Does your association mail badges to attendees in advance of the show? Have you ever considered changing to on-site pickup of badges once they arrive at the association event?

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