Ultimate guide to visitor management systems

Building security and safety isn’t just for the everyday employees and staff. A good security system should also account for visitors and short-term guests. Think about all the visitors that come to your building. Clients come in for on-site meetings, candidates interview at the office, even delivery and maintenance staff. Does your current visitor management system keep track of them all?

Many businesses still rely on outdated tactics to track and welcome visitors. Visitor sign-in sheets and communal guest badges burden your administrative teams. Keeping those assets organized, and looking up previous visitors is a hassle. Did you know they’re also putting your building at risk? Technology tools make visitor management security safer and more efficient. Digital visitor management solutions keep you organized, secure your building, and make a better first impression.

What is a visitor management system? 

In short, a visitor management system keeps track of short-term guests at your building. There are plenty of ways to incorporate visitor management into your physical security measures, but not all are created equal. While the sign-in sheet is a valid form of visitor management, it’s not recommended. The best visitor management systems (VMS) are easy to use, easy to manage, and keep a detailed log of your visitors. For these reasons, using a digital system is preferred for advanced visitor management.

Knowing who is at your property and when is vital to your building security. Access control systems are an essential tool for tracking and monitoring who’s coming and going at your building. Most businesses already use access control for staff and employees. But you should be using smart access control for your visitor security, too. Create a system of record when you connect your access control and visitor management systems. 

Implementing a modern visitor management solution

When it comes to visitor check-in software, there are many options available for businesses big and small. Today’s visitor management solutions offer a greater range of products, from electronic visitor sign-in systems, to completely touchless visitor sign-in software. Making the upgrade to electronic and digital visitor management software gives businesses the benefit of better technology for security, convenience, and improved building experiences.

Electronic visitor management systems 

One of the main benefits of upgrading to a digital visitor management solution is the ability to utilize the newest and best technology in your building. With electronic visitor sign-in systems, guests can take advantage of lobby kiosks, tablets, or even their own device to check themselves in and out of the building. This puts less burden on administrative teams to handle visitor management, as well as provides a detailed log of every visitor coming through the property. Plus, by utilizing advanced technology such as mobile apps, QR code and ID scanning, facial recognition, and voice AI, businesses can provide completely touchless visitor check-in experiences. This is both more convenient for visitors, and provides more peace of mind by eliminating common touch points in the building lobby.

Customizable visitor registration flows 

The best way to ensure a great experience for visitors at your building is to have intuitive visitor check-in software and registration processes that are easy to use. Visitor sign-in software should be flexible and customizable to accommodate different types of guests and spaces. For example, the registration process for a client arriving for an onsite meeting will look very different from that of a contractor or vendor. With electronic visitor sign-in systems, you also have the ability to adjust the registration flow at any time based on tenant needs, safety guidelines, or special events.

Another benefit of customizable visitor check-in software is the ability to include wellness verifications, questionnaires, and document signing directly in the digital environment. This eliminates the need to issue and retain paper copies of visitor forms for better compliance and easy auditing. Some visitor check-in software providers also have features to screen visitors against internal and external watch lists. This is helpful in preventing potential criminals or unwanted individuals from gaining access to your building.

7 surprising reasons for using a visitor management system

While a visitor management system is most commonly associated with guests like interview candidates, clients coming onsite for meetings, and people touring the property, there are many additional use cases for visitor sign-in software. Even if your building doesn’t host a large number of daily visitors, the right software and check-in tools offer some surprising benefits. Especially when integrated with other security systems, access control, and tenant apps, flexible visitor sign-in software has the ability to enhance the visitor experience, strengthen security posturing, and make managing the building more efficient.

  1. Give short-term employees and contractors custom visitor credentials to give them convenient building access, without having to worry about restricted areas.

  2. Communicate company policies, safety information, and special instructions to guests during the registration or visitor check-in process.

  3. Improve emergency preparedness and response times during an evacuation, with a readily available report of who is in the building and where they were last.

  4. Use visitor management for events, including tracking guest headcount, streamlining vendor registration, and event occupancy management.

  5. Promote your company and brand through customized visitor sign-in processes with your logo and colors the moment visitors walk through your door.

  6. Improve school safety with visitor screening against watch lists, activity auditing, and onsite badging and ID scanning.

  7. Proactively monitor security with access control, video surveillance, and office management tools integrated into your visitor management system for added visibility throughout the building.

Benefits of visitor management software

Skip the visitor sign-in sheets. Digital visitor management software and apps can streamline your operations. Apps are a great way to modernize your system, and provide a great visitor experience. Visitors can check-in, add information, sign waivers, and even access the building, right from the app on their phone. It’s important to make a good first impression for anyone visiting your property. When you pair a great visitor management solution with access control, you get the added benefits of:

  • Touchless digital check-in. Visitor management apps allow you to pre-register your guests for a smoother check-in. With an app, visitor sign-in and convenient digital forms are already built in. Visitors can fill out their personal information, add a photo, and give their reason for visiting before even setting foot on the property. No communal kiosks, sign-in sheets, or shared pens required. Make sure your visitor management system has strong encryption, so their personal data stays protected. 

  • Better visitor experience. Some visitor management platforms enable you to send communications from the app. This is helpful for sending directions, arrival instructions, or information the visitor needs. Your visitor management system is one of the first things they’ll interact with, so you want a platform that’s convenient and easy to use.

  • Improved operations. Cloud-based visitor management software collects all the data, and makes it available in one interface. Search for email addresses, see check-out times, and track visitor activity. With more data available, you can also streamline visitor operations. Property owners can check which tenants have the most visitors, and optimize operations to accommodate them. For tenants, organized data means less time tracking down guests, and more time spent on tasks that move the dial. 

  • Centralized administration. Organization helps any business run more smoothly. For enterprise organizations with multiple locations, excellent organization is essential. Having all your visitor information centralized eases administrative burden. Everything they need for visitors is available in one place, for every building. This is also helpful for anyone visiting different building sites. All their information is already in the system, so they don’t have to fill it out again.

How access control strengthens visitor management security

Pairing your access control and your visitor security systems is a smart way to secure your building. The right access control system is key to providing a best-in-class visitor experience, without sacrificing security. 

The best access control for visitors is a system that’s simple, safe and reliable. Many businesses use a shared guest credential, such as a keycard or badge, for their visitors. But keycards are not always the most secure, and it’s difficult to customize permissions for each visitor. Guests often forget to return keycards before leaving, which also leaves your building open to security risks. An access control system that uses mobile credentials provides more security, and a better user experience. 

Welcoming visitors to your building is seamless with Openpath access control. Admins can send secure digital guest passes via SMS or email. The mobile credentials are also customizable for better security. Only need visitor access for two hours? Set the visitor credentials to expire at the necessary time. You can also add permissions for specific entries, so that visitors only have access to the spaces you choose. Enterprise businesses often have to issue different visitor keycards for each floor or building. But managing a bunch of different keycards is a confusing and cumbersome experience for visitors. With Openpath mobile access control, visitors just need their smartphone.

Mobile visitor credentials also ease administrative burden. You no longer need to keep a stack of visitor badges at the ready, or chase down a visitor who forgot to return their keycard. Openpath operates on cloud-based software, which also enables remote system management. This means you can unlock a door for a visitor without even having to be on-site. Plus, real-time access alerts keep you abreast of any doors left open or unauthorized entries so you can take swift action.

Visitor management for the future of building technology

When preparing your space for the future of the workplace, it’s important to consider the way we welcome visitors into buildings as well. In the post-COVID era, visitor management software and systems need to address concerns for everyone’s wellness. While there’s now extra stress for building managers when it comes to inviting guests onsite, businesses can leverage technology to ease the burden when returning to the workplace during COVID-19.

The latest technology enables businesses to create touchless visitor experiences, and manage them all remotely. With a robust access control and visitor security system, you can manage risk and create a safer building. Once visitors arrive, touchless access control gives them a safe, hands-free entry experience. With their digital guest pass, they can easily enter the building with their smartphone. No communal keycard to sanitize. No face-to-face interaction required. A touchless access experience helps your visitors feel more confident in the safety and security of your building, and they’re also more convenient and create a future-forward experience for visitors.

To offer added peace of mind for visitors and staff in a post-pandemic building, include new safety measures at check-in. For example, add a health questionnaire to your digital guest registration. Before visitors arrive at your building, they can use the visitor app to fill out health waivers and screening questions. If integrated with your access control system, the visitor credentials will only activate after they’ve completed the screening and are approved to come onsite based on your set criteria. This touchless visitor management system ensures guests are symptom free, as well as informed of building policies and protocols. Plus it gives your guests peace of mind that everyone else is healthy, too.

Cloud-based access control is an essential tool in the workplaces of the future, too. For example, admins and authorized tenants can use remote unlock to let visitors in, without having to be on-site or leave their offices. Flexibility is a key component of modern building systems, and the cloud fully embodies that concept. From remote monitoring, to adjusting visitor check-in flows or access permissions on the fly, the cloud makes quick work of what used to be a cumbersome, tenuous process with on-premise visitor management systems.

Knowing what’s happening at your building is more important than ever in the post-COVID workplace. Many businesses have switched to remote operations, or flexible work models. This means fewer people are in the office, yet coming and going at all hours of the day, leaving buildings at higher risk. Real-time information and remote access help prevent possible breaches and security incidents. Using access control and a visitor security system, you’ll get reliable reporting of visitor activity in your building. Access alerts notify you of potential security threats, so you can issue a quick response.

With capacity management features, you can monitor occupancy and optimize your space for social distancing or flex work. By requiring visitors to request access in advance, it’s easier to keep your building below the necessary capacity for safety, and to ensure the space is organized for maximum productivity. Your visitor management system can track daily invites and visitor sign-ins for compliance as well. Rely on an invite-only visitor policy to ensure you’re adhering to the latest local safety measures for social distancing in the office. Over time, that data can provide valuable insights into shifting needs and opportunities to improve your ROI.

As we’ve seen over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, being able to adapt quickly has proven invaluable for businesses. In the event you need to temporarily close your building to reduce office capacity or address changing needs, your visitor management system can help. Easily send out communications to upcoming visitors to reschedule or cancel their appointments. They’ll appreciate the direct communication, and you’ll avoid the awkward “I’m here, where are you” call. When integrated with access control, you’ll be sure that your building is secure, even when the office is empty.

A detailed log of who’s been at your property can also help with contact tracing efforts, investigating security incidents, and even provide property managers with insights to their tenants’ needs.

5 signs your visitor management system needs updating 

  1. Your visitor logs are incomplete or inadequate. There’s a reason visitors are required to sign in at the building, and it’s usually for safety, security, and compliance reasons. A visitor sign-in system that does a poor job of tracking who was in the building and when just isn’t serving its purpose. Updating to an electronic visitor sign-in system is the first step to ensuring a more complete visitor log, and offers a better experience for your guests. To accommodate different types of visitors, choose visitor check-in software that offers custom sign-in flows, which can be adjusted to collect all the information you need to maintain a system of record for walk-ins, contractors, maintenance staff, and pre-registered visitors.

  2. You need to control visitor access without being onsite. If you’re constantly having to trek out to the office to check in visitors and give them access to your building, it may be time for a better visitor management solution. Cloud-based systems with remote capabilities allow you to create and send digital visitor passes, remotely unlock the door for guests, and monitor visitor check-in and access activity, without setting foot on the property. Not only does remote visitor tracking software save time and hassle, it also allows you to accommodate flexible work schedules, distributed teams, and centralize administrative operations across multiple locations. 

  3. You want to promote wellness and safety in your building. With heightened awareness around health and safety in the post-COVID era, outdated visitor management systems could be holding you back. A touchless visitor sign-in system is a must for any building that wants to promote wellness in the workplace. Upgrade to visitor check-in software that allows guests to use their own devices to sign in, eliminating common touch points in your lobby. Also look for visitor sign-in software that includes features for wellness questionnaires and health screenings, helping ensure a safer environment for everyone. 

  4. You’re expecting an increase in temporary access needs. Whether you’re taking on additional contractors, or tenants are coming back to the office, your visitor management system needs to be flexible enough to handle any number of visitors. The best visitor management system for business is one that allows guests to pre-register for access, which can help administrative teams know how many people to expect. An electronic visitor sign-in system that’s integrated with visitor access control will help keep reception and building security staff focused on their more important tasks, rather than constantly checking and issuing visitor credentials. 

  5. You’re concerned about security or compliance. Visitors and temporary personnel such as contractors or vendors pose many security risks, especially if they accidentally gain access to areas that house sensitive information or PII data. Security is also especially concerning in schools and educational facilities where potential predators or dangerous people need to be kept out at all costs. To keep your office or school safe while still providing welcoming experiences for guests, look for visitor check-in systems that automatically screen visitors against watch lists to prevent unwanted individuals from accessing the building in the first place. It’s also a good idea to invest in visitor tracking software that operates in real-time to better monitor visitor activity. A visitor tracking system that integrates with your building’s access control system will help prevent visitors from wandering into restricted areas, or overstaying their welcome.

Choosing the best integrated visitor management system

Now is the time to be proactive about your building safety—and technology can help. Access control and visitor management tools offer better protection for your business. An integrated security system gives you more flexibility, and offers a better experience in your building.

As the leading provider of touchless access control, Openpath has a full range of hardware and software for any size business. Openpath features an open API and mobile SDKs for seamless integration with other apps and security systems. To optimize your visitor experience, integrate Openpath with your visitor management software platform.

To facilitate a completely touchless sign-in and access experience, utilize digital check-in processes, which you can then connect to Openpath visitor credentials.  Openpath’s readers support Wave to Unlock for 100% hands-free entry. Plus, Openpath mobile credentials are safer and more secure, with built-in multi-factor authentication. A paperless process promotes sustainability in your building, too.

An integrated and cloud-based visitor management and access control system reduces admin burden and saves time with remote access to the entire platform. Your team can approve requests, unlock doors, and send communications from anywhere, on any device. Instead of managing stacks of visitor sign-in sheets, everything is available in the cloud. Need to know who visited the property last Wednesday? A simple search gives you results within seconds. Better data retention, plus end-to-end encryption, helps you meet compliance standards.

When it comes to visitor security, having technology that works seamlessly lets you focus on running your business. Touchless visitor management solutions paired with reliable access control, modernizes your building security. While first impressions are important, so is making sure people feel safe in your facility. Having the best technology ensures peace of mind and protection for everyone who visits.

Top visitor management systems

Proxyclick

Proxyclick is a cloud-based visitor management solution that's transforming how visitors, employees, and contractors are welcomed into workplaces across the world. Proxyclick helps organizations facilitate safe and efficient ways to check in on-site while ensuring all work locations are secure and comply with data regulations.

Top Proxyclick features and benefits: 

  • Touchless check-in experiences that include digital health questionnaires 

  • Detailed analytics and reporting, with IDMatch and watchlists support

  • Easy delivery management for multi-tenant properties

  • Kiosk and check-in customization for your brand

  • Proxyclick and Openpath seamlessly integrates with access control and other workplace tech and tools

  • Data protection and privacy tools to achieve compliance

  • First-class support and customer service

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Envoy

Envoy offers visitor and office management solutions to streamline workflows without sacrificing workplace security or productivity. Envoy specializes in digital tools that enhance the office experience, from visitor registration and check-in, to accommodating hybrid work models, to ensuring the health and safety of employees and guests. Envoy’s mobile and web-based software is easy to use and configure, creating a safer, more efficient place to work.

Top Envoy features and benefits: 

  • Envoy Protect wellness questionnaires and safety solutions

  • Customizable visitor sign-in flows with digital document signing and management

  • Desk mapping with web-based room and desk booking features

  • Visitor screening with on-site visitor badge printing and delivery management

  • Detailed analytics and reporting for compliance

  • Remote, app-based access for managers and users through the Envoy Mobile app

  • Envoy and Openpath integrates for frictionless access control and with a range of office software and tools

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Splan

Splan specializes in providing next-generation cloud software check-in solutions for visitors, events and schools. Splan uniquely delivers intelligent and fully automated security solutions for small to large organizations, which are cost effective, easy to use, enterprise-centric and web-based. Splan empowers customers in efficiently managing visitors, vendors, tenants, contractors and deliveries, with feature-rich visitor capabilities like the SignInEasy Visitor mobile app, workflow approvals, notifications of arrivals, NDAs, handling of VIPs, and forgotten badge provisioning, to mitigate risk while improving the overall visitor experience.

Top Splan features and benefits:

  • Self-service kiosk for sign-in/sign-out that supports driver’s license scanning, badge printing, NDA signature, waiver forms, documents, and photo capture

  • Pre-registration and registration for individual guests or groups, plus event and queue management

  • Convenient email/SMS/phone call/other notifications

  • Track and audit policies, approvals, and compliance with contractor recertification, watch-list, and extensive background checks available

  • Secure Active Directory authentication and SSO, plus security reports and intuitive dashboards

  • Automatic Outlook Calendar integration and tenant visitor modules

  • The Splan and Openpath integration allows for easy deployments via cloud-based or on-premise system with the SignInEasy mobile app

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Lobbytrack

Lobbytrack is an online visitor management system developed by Jolly Technologies. Lobbytrack’s simple but powerful cloud-based software is accessible through a user-friendly browser interface as well as native mobile apps designed for visitors, employees, and security teams. The system makes it easy to manage the end-to-end visitor workflow including visitor pre-registration, touchless sign in, host notifications, security alerts, visitor monitoring, and emergency evacuation.

Top Lobbytrack features and benefits: 

  • Visitor check-in and check-out via tablet or mobile device that supports QR code scanning for a touchless check-in experience

  • Visitor screening against internal and external watchlists and criminal databases

  • Custom check-in flows including: wellness form screening, digital document signing, photo capture, driver’s license scanning, and visitor badge printing

  • Use the Lobbytrack Employee App to require daily employee wellness screenings, and schedule visits and receive notifications when visitors arrive 

  • Active Directory integration for seamless user management

  • Ability to set capacity limits for each location

  • Lobbytrack integrates with Openpath for a seamless cloud-to-cloud platform for access control, tenant apps, and building systems

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