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QR Code Participant Check-in: New to RaceDirector

We are all used to seeing UPC bar codes on products for quite some time now. Grocery stores have even put us to work scanning them in self-checkout lanes. So what are these new-fangled QR codes, and how can they help you when organizing and managing your next event in a more efficient manner?

QR Code Participant Check-in:  New to RaceDirector

Simply put, a QR code (quick response code) is a two-dimensional barcode that embeds information into the code and can be scanned by handheld scanners or smartphones with a QR code reader app. In our case, we're embedding participant-specific information that you can scan and immediately check in a participant.

Most of you have already used QR codes in other facets of your life. Every package delivered by UPS or Fedex utilizes QR codes. If you check-in for a flight or buy movie tickets online, then you were given a link to your unique QR code that you could print or display on your smartphone. This makes it quick and easy when passing through security at the airport or other venues. The same process is applied to the packet pick-up or check in process for your race.

Even if your event is on the smaller side, there are still great benefits to utilizing QR codes. Human error can be eliminated and accuracy during the process can be greatly increased. No more bumbling trying to spell difficult names or checking in the wrong "Smith" or "Jones". Friends can share their code if they need someone else to get their race packet for them. The confirmation displayed can tell you exactly what size race shirt they are supposed to get as well as other useful information, such as their assigned bib number, age and gender.

Speed of checking in runners is where the deployment of QR codes can really make a big difference. All your volunteers will have to do is scan the QR code the runner has printed out or presented on their smartphone. This only takes an instant. At a recent event, we calculated it took almost 12 seconds to get a simple check-in done the old fashioned way. As you increase the numbers, a savings of roughly 7 seconds per participant can add up to a lot of time. The event we just referenced had 2,000 runners. This amounted to almost 4 hours of waiting in lines that was eliminated for participants. We all know how people tend to show up in large groups. Either it is no one there or everyone there at the same time. There is no such thing as a steady flow. The faster you can keep the lines moving during these peak times without sacrificing accuracy, the happier everyone will be. Now only if we could somehow apply QR code's speed and efficiency to those darn port-a-potty lines before the race!

So there you have it. Another new feature on RaceDirector to make your life as an RD easier and more efficient. You can continue on to the Race Participant Check-In page on our website to read a bit more about QR codes and other features. Happy scanning!

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