7 reasons to replace your paper visitor log in 2023

Written by Pieter-Jan - Written: December 27, 2022


In an era where almost everything is being digitalized - from lightning and climate control to meetings - it seems odd to still be using paper and pen to register your visitors. Especially when you keep in mind that your visitor management system (VMS) is the only way to control who has access to your buildings and to know who is on-site at any given moment.

Yet, in 2022 the paper guest book was still the most popular means of visitor registration in companies worldwide.

At Vizito, we have decided that time’s up for the paper visitor log. And here’s why:

1. It’s not efficient

You may think a paper visitor log is convenient. When a visitor arrives, you just present them with your guest book, they fill out a couple of fields, and that’s that. Easy for you, a small effort for your guest, right?

Well, no.

First off, deciphering the handwriting of dozens of visitors a day may be a very challenging and time consuming task for your receptionist. Not to say that some visitors may forget to fill out some of their data, or provide false information.

And what to think of storing all that information? Paper logs take up a lot of space. If your guests need to sign non-disclosure agreements or other documents, there’s even more papers to file (or lose). And if you have several facilities, the information isn’t centralized.

Also: how would you retrieve the information of a certain person who visited your company? You’d need a very good filing system if you don’t want to spend hours going through all of those books.

A digital visitor management system fixes all these problems:

  • No more incomplete or unreadable data
  • Documents can be signed digitally upon check-in
  • Visitor data is automatically stored in the cloud
  • Easy acces to visitor data from wherever you are
  • Easy to analyse, search or create visitor reports

With your guests signing in on a tablet and their data being stored automatically, your receptionist can focus on their most important task: providing a great welcome experience for visitors.

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2. It’s not safe

As we mentioned before, your visitor management system is the only way to know who is on your premises at any given moment. Nobody wants a fire or a gas leak to happen, but emergencies do occur, and in that case it is of utmost important to know exactly who is on-site.

During times of emergency, paper logbooks are useless. If you even get the chance of taking them with you while the building is being evacuated, there are still some issues. Unclear handwriting, empty fields and incorrect data put your visitors at risk. How do you know which guests have already left, and who’s still inside? And how could you quickly alert all guests of what’s going on?

This is how a digital VMS helps you keep your visitors safe:

  • Precise information is available on who is on-site and who has already left
  • Visitor data is accurate and complete
  • All data can be accessed via the dashboard, on any mobile device
  • Alerts can be sent out to every visitor on-site, along with prevailing safety procedures
  • In case your tablet gets damaged, all data remain accessible

3. It violates your visitors’ privacy

Some of the data you ask your visitors to provide, may be confidential or sensitive information. Not everyone likes their name, along with their phone number and (company) address to be lying around for everybody to see.

Yet, this is exactly what happens when you use a paper sign-in book. Personal information about your visitors is exposed to anyone who enters your reception area after them. So if you want to protect the privacy of your guests and adhere to GDPR legislations, a paper log book may not be the best choice.

In comes the digital visitor registration system:

  • All data is stored privately and securely in the cloud
  • Data can only be accessed by authorised people
  • Private information isn’t accessible for others to see
  • Easy to adhere to GDPR requirements

paper visitor log pen paper

4. It’s annoying to visitors

Filling out a few blanks may seem easy and just a small effort, but most visitors find this very unpleasant. It’s time-consuming - especially when queues are formed - and may be stressful to a guest who is already running late or who doesn’t have all required data at hand. It gets even worse when your receptionist isn’t around and your visitor is forced to wait to sign in.

A digital VMS holds several advantages:

  • No more queues to sign in
  • Filling out the form is easier, with autocomplete and preregistering options
  • A host is notified at the same time the visitor checks in, which reduces waiting time

5. It’s bad for your image

First impressions matter. A lot.

For your company, it all comes down to the reception area to make a good impression on your guests. What will they think about a sloppy and old-fashioned paper log book, that doesn’t comply with modern safety and privacy regulations? That’s right, it doesn’t make you look great.

And it doesn’t make sense at all: your company is probably quite modern and innovative, using all kinds of IT-related equipment and hightech tools, yet the first thing visitors see at your office is an outdated, messy and unsecure paper log.

A digital system for visitor management helps you make a great impression on guests:

  • A professional check-in experience
  • A visually attractive system, that is quick and easy to use
  • It tells your visitors that you’re a welcoming and innovative company

6. It’s not sustainable

All companies produce waste. Even when you own just a small business, there is no escaping packaging, food and paper waste. One very easy way to reduce waste is to manage your visitors digitally.

Paper books and traditional badge printing are costly and use up a lot of paper. Paper that needs to be archived and stored, and will be thrown away in the end.

A digital VMS helps you save costs and reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Digital sign-in apps aren’t expensive, even for small companies
  • Guests sign in digitally and data is automatically stored in the cloud: no need for large stacks of paper
  • Going paperless helps you to reduce waste

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7. It’s not flexible

The data a guest is asked to provide, often varies from company to company and even from visitor to visitor. Some companies ask their guests to provide just some very basic information, others - in the light of safety - need some more confidential data.

Sometimes, some guests will be asked to provide more information than others. Some may have to sign a NDA, others may be asked to show an ID.

How can you fix this with a paper-and-pen sign-in sheet? Well, you can’t.

With a digital VMS - you guessed it - it’s a piece of cake:

  • A digital VMS helps you provide a custom experience for different visitor types
  • Customized welcoming and sign-out messages for each type of visitor
  • Customized sign-in fields for each type of visitor
  • Choose which visitor types are presented with legal documents, NDA’s, surveys, …
  • Decide which visitor types will have their picture taken and a badge printed
  • Reflect your branding by customising lay-out, colours, images, logo’s, and so forth. You can easily tinker with visual elements before adding them, as modern tools make it a breeze to edit backgrounds out of images and generally automate all sorts of processes.

The downsides of the outdated paper log book are countless. It’s not efficient, it’s unsafe and it violates your guests’ privacy, to name just a few.

Today, many comprehensive visitor management systems are available, giving your company a professional and modern impression. Many companies are making the shift to go paperless. Yet, some businesses still hold on to the traditional paper-and-pen. What’s your choice?

To get a feel of how a modern visitor management system can help your business grow, try out Vizito for free during a 14-day trial. Chat with us or book a demo to discuss how Vizito can help you improve your reception.

Got more questions? These are the 7 most common questions about digital visitor management – and our answers.

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