We get this question a lot, "Can I pre-assign bidder numbers so I can get people's packets together before they arrive and speed up checkin". While this is something we have considered multiple times as a feature to add to Handbid, I would not personally use it even if it were available.
The idea is logical. If I can give someone a bidder number in advance, I don't have to register them at the door - they can just go inside and enjoy themselves. All of this would make checkin easier.
But would it?
The execution on a mobile platform is a bit more complicated. When you use a mobile bidding platform, users can register themselves which creates a double registration risk. Read on for an explanation and then a suggestion on our recommendation for streamlining checkin.
What is Double Registration?
Double registration occurs when an auction manager registers a guest with one email but the guest registers themselves with another. In many cases the auction manager has a work email and the user signs up on their own using a personal email address.
In these situations, Handbid has no good way to know that John Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) and John Smith (email@example.com) are the same person. Nor would you want Handbid to guess!
So what you end up with is two John Smiths registered, both with their own Paddle Numbers. However, your checkin team will look them up and not know which one to checkin into the auction. (hint: you always want to checkin the account that the user created on their phone for simplicity).
So a double registration begs the question: did this really save any time at checkin or create more confusion?
Instead of pre-registering guests and pre-assigning paddle numbers, our recommended approach is slightly different: allow guests to pre-register themselves.
Streamlining Checkin through Pre-Registration
Your pre-registration objective should be to get users to register themselves. Once they register, Handbid will assign them a unique Paddle number in the auction. There are a few ways to get users to do this:
1. Sell tickets through Handbid
2. Open your auction early and use "early-registration" incentives to get people registered in advance.
Selling Tickets in Handbid
By selling tickets in Handbid, your guests will need to register in advance to purchase the ticket. This will create their bidder account and paddle number in your auction. You can then pull this list and create any packets you need to create for a streamlined checkin.
We had one school do this and everyone had a packet at the door with their information, tickets, drink tickets, etc. In fact, the school only had to checkin one person who had forgotten to register.
Using Early-Registration Incentives
If you are not selling tickets through Handbid, you still should open your auction early (5-7 days if possible) and encourage your guests to register in advance. To sweeten the incentive, you can offer up free drink tickets, an entry in a prize drawing for something amazing, VIP checkin, etc.
Many of our clients use this incentive with great success. One organization did a drawing for a $250 package (which they pulled out of their auction) using the bidder list at 4pm the night of their event. (e.g. Anyone with a bidder ID by 4pm will be entered into a drawing to win).
Consider early self-registration as your streamlining tactic
In both of these cases, you are allowing the user to enter the information that they want to enter for their account and letting Handbid create a unique ID for them in your auction. You won't have a bunch of duplicate accounts and you will eliminate a lot of confusion at checkin.
All you need to do is pull the bidder list from Handbid to create your packets and include your Paddle IDs.