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Tracking In-Person Event Attendance

July 18, 2022
Erin Mikail Staples
Senior Community Advocate
Tracking In-Person Event Attendance
Welcome to The Observatory, the community newsletter from Orbit.

Each week we go down rabbit holes so you don't have to. We share tactics, trends and valuable resources we've observed in the world of community building.

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Summer is here, and if you're anything like me, you're putting your waxed and vaxxed energy to full use β€” meeting up for a cocktail hour, networking event, conference, or gathering once more. Heck, you might be the one hosting it!

Many of you have been using Orbit for digital events and virtual community gatherings, but have you tried using it for in-person events too?! Let's explore a no-code flow that will create an event check-in using Airtable, Zapier, and Orbit.

🧰 Before we begin, here's what you'll need

  • Airtable
  • Orbit Workspace
  • Zapier (or other automation tool)

Identifying what matters most

When it comes to an event, it's essential to identify what matters most. While registration is one part of the equation β€” who actually shows up is an entirely other situation. As a community builder, I want to take note of those who attended my event and find ways to keep in touch with them long after the event has ended.

Sure we can guess or get an idea of who showed up using pen and paper solutions, like a check-in clipboard or sign-in sheet β€” but these solutions are often less accurate and still need to be digitized (and can you read all of that chicken scratch anyway?)

I like to see who attended the event and have some of the community operations behind the event simplified! I spend less time in spreadsheets and more time building connections and deepening the relationships with those in my Orbit. πŸ˜‰

Getting started: Creating the database

To free me from manually entering that check-in form, I will start by creating a table of what's vital for me to know.

I'm a big fan of Airtable for forms and automation, primarily for its ability to segment, interpret, and write scripts within the tool. In my opinion, out of all the survey tools, it is the best looking on a mobile link.

πŸ’‘ If you're not a fan of Airtable or prefer another tool, you can use Google Forms, Typeform, or one of the many other survey apps to build this automation!Β 

Create a database within Airtable with the following inputs

  1. Name (single-line text)
  2. Activity Name (single select)*
  3. Activity Weight (number)*
  4. Date (Created Time)*
  5. Pronouns (single select)
  6. Notes (multiple line text)
  7. Email (email)**
  8. Twitter Handle (single-line text)**
  9. Member Tags (multiple select)

This form might have more details than you want in Orbit or fewer details than you want in Orbit β€” but for your integration to work, you'll need to have at least one of the above that has two asterisks by it (**) and all of the above with one asterisk by it (*).

Airtable view of a title that is in-person event log.  The columns are: Name, Date, Pronouns, Notes, Email, Twitter Handle, Member Tags, Activity Name, Activity Weight
πŸ’‘Tip: One database, multiple forms for multiple events! I love Airtable for its ability to build out various forms into one core database. There is no need to click around for different events throughout the year or change your automations with every event.

Building your Form

Now, it's time to build out our form. For the sake of this tutorial, let's say we're hosting an event called "Super Cool Orbit Event."Β  We've invited folks interested in Developer Relations, Community Building, No Code, Open Source, and Founders to this event.

Before I dive into creating the form, I will prep the dropdowns for the single-select and multiple-select options I've made.Β 

In my initial core database, I'll add options for pronouns and member tags.

I want to follow our current structure in our Orbit Workspace for member tags and create the following options in the multi-select form.

  • DevRel/DevAdvocate
  • Community
  • Founder
  • No Code
  • Open Source

This will allow the attendee to select their interests in this form.

GIF showing the Airtable view moving from the grid view to form view.

Select Create... Form on the lower left-hand side of your window. Airtable will prompt you to drag and drop fields in and out of the form as needed. Add your logo, a bit more about your event, where to keep in touch, or even have them redirect to another screen when complete.

Change the default name of "member tag" to "What are you interested in?" This form input will help you identify who is interested in what when all is said and done in your community. Add help text as needed.

Below is a quick preview of how I built out the form; notice that email, Twitter handle, and interests are mandatory fields. Having these mandatory ensures that I get the data I need for a successful import into Orbit.

Airtable form showing the above entry points: Name, Pronouns, Email, Twitter Handle, Interests,

Lastly, before moving to have some automation fun, head back to your grid view and fill out the details for a test event.

It's time to automate!

Open up your favorite automation tool (I'll be using Zapier today), and let's prepare to pipe this data into Orbit. πŸ’ͺ🏻

Create a new zap

Create a new Zap with the following settings:


  • App Event: Airtable
  • Event: New Record
  • Set Up Trigger
  • Base: `insert your base name here`
  • Table: `insert table name here`
  • Limit to view: `Grid View is default.`


  • App Event: Orbit
  • Event: Create Activity
  • Set Up Action:
    • Activity Title: `[Super Cool Orbit Event]`
    • Activity Description: `[A super cool event for super cool people].`
    • Activity Type: Event
    • Activity Type Key: Event:Attendance
    • Activity Link Text: `[Registration link here]`
    • Activity Link: `[URL of Registration link]`
    • Activity Weight: `[Weight]`
    • Activity Properties: `Event` | `[Super Cool Orbit Event Attendee]`
    • Occurred At: `Dynamic Date property from Airtable.`
    • New or Additional Member Tags: `Dynamic Member Tags Property from Airtable`
    • Member Email: `Dynamic Email Property from Airtable`
    • Member Twitter Handle `Dynamic Twitter Handle from Airtable`
    • Member Name: `Dynamic Name from Airtable`


Things to note β€” I've intentionally only focused on the areas you need to fill out. Everything else can be left blank. If you added additional fields β€” feel free to add them as needed.

Once this is complete β€” Test your form! πŸ‘©β€πŸ”¬

Search Orbit for a new activity under the name you put under your test field.Β 

πŸ’‘ Tip: Create an additional Orbit account for testing your automations! An additional workspace can prevent any test data from impacting your community reports in your primary workspace.

It worked! What's next?

You've created an excellent check-in form, but forms are only good if people can fill them out! In my experience, treating this as a "check-in" at the door and confirming (via Airtable or email) that the form has been completed, or using this as a "check-in" for food, swag, or other incentives (raffles, drawings, etc.), can improve the data you receive in these forms in the first place.

But how will folks access this form easily?

Let's create a QR code so folks can scan the form you've created wherever it might be easiest!

Find a QR code generator (I've used with no qualms), and put the public link to the form (not the database).

TaDa! πŸŽ‰ Add this QR code to signage, print it out, and plaster it everywhere at your event, use this to create a check-in station β€” or wherever else it might be helpful for you.Β 

Remix this Tutorial

Are you not doing in-person events? Here are a few other use cases that might come in handy in your community.

  • Create a survey at the end of a presentation + keep in touch with attendees
  • Collect information for swag deliveries
  • Scavenger Hunt check-in

Have a great idea or use case for this tutorial? Want to see other tutorials come to life at Orbit? Join us on Discord or find me on Twitter! πŸ„πŸΌβ™€οΈ


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