|  5 min read

How to choose the right visitor management system

How to choose the right visitor management system Photo

You need a new visitor management system, maybe you’ve found a couple of contenders, but you’re not sure which one is right for you? Well, then you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re looking for your first visitor management system or you’re looking to replace a system you’ve outgrown, there are a few things you need to consider before you choose which system to get.

Factors to consider when choosing your a visitor management system

Visitor management isn’t solely about managing visitors, which is also why you need to consider a lot more than the accessibility of the visitor logs and how easy it is to perform pre-registrations when you look into getting a new visitor management system.

The factors you need to consider can be broken down to:

  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Legal considerations
  • Budget
  • Integrations
  • Visitor experience

Depending on the size and location of your organization some of these will be more or less important than others but as a rule of thumb you need to consider all of them.


Once a visitor arrives at your facility their safety is your responsibility. It really is that simple. So, when you’re looking for a new visitor management system you have to consider how it will support the security of your organization.

A lot of visitor management systems have features like emergency notifications, visitor screening and contact tracing, but you need to find out how important each of these functions are for your organization. This will usually be dependent on your organization. And you also need to find out how deep these features go for each specific product. Some systems may offer emergency notifications via different channels or push notifications while others may simply be able to send out an email notification, and the same goes for things like contact tracing and background screenings.


Unless you decide to go with a paper log book to handle your visitor management, physical security isn’t the only thing you need to consider. This becomes increasingly important the more thorough your visitor management system is, as you will be storing more detailed information about your visitors.

The data security of a visitor management system isn’t just about living up to regulations like GDPR either. As more and more systems extend to include employee sign-ins for hybrid workplaces a data breach could turn into a physical risk as details about where different employees are located within your building becomes available to outsiders.

Legal considerations

The legal considerations related to visitor management systems are often centered around regulatory requirements like GDPR, ITAR, HIPAA or FedRAMP, and you need to consider how the system you are considering will affect your compliance either by making compliance easier or by posing a potential risk.


The first thing we think about when it comes to budget is the solution price. But that’s not where your budget considerations should end. The cheapest solution is often an unattended guest book placed on the reception counter, but that solution also presents a number of problems both when it comes to security, compliance and accuracy. And solving those problems can be a costly affair.

The same thing goes for any software solution. When you look at the time spent operating a system, a solution with a low price tag that requires more manual work might actually end up being the more expensive option.

So, when you’re looking at prices, remember to consider the cost of operations, both in terms of the reception and security staff that will be using the system itself, but also the operational costs from ordinary employees when they need to pre-register external visitors. Will this happen automatically, or do they need to send an email to the front desk every time they have a meeting with an external participant?

ROI Calculators


You need to think about how a new system will interact with your existing ecosystem of tools, or at least if the system connects to other types of systems like access control, meeting scheduling, parking etc.

An example of why this is important would come from looking at how the visitor management system integrates with your meeting scheduling system, especially if your organization has a lot of external meeting participants, as an automated integration between the two systems could save employees a lot of time.

Visitor experience

While compliance to regulations, security and operational considerations often come first, you need to look at the system from the visitor’s perspective too.

It’s often one of the least considered aspects of visitor management, but a good visitor experience is extremely important, especially if you have visitors that affect the revenue of your organization in any way shape or form.

The question you need to ask yourself is how easy it would be to visit your facility if you chose a specific system, as anything that makes the experience worse could potentially affect the result of a meeting, be it with a partner, a vendor or a client.

3 key features to look for in a visitor management system

While some features, like integration with compliance systems, badge printing and visitor screenings are very specific to the organization, there are a couple of things you should look for no matter what your organization looks like.

1. Ability to handle different visitor types
All visitors aren’t the same, and their reasons for visiting aren’t the same either. And for that reason they shouldn’t be subjected to identical experiences.

Whether you need to accommodate both visitor and employee registration in a hybrid workplace or you need to manage vendor and personnel check-ins alongside clients and visitors, being able to customize visitor flows to match different visitor types will go a long way to improve the experience of each individual visitor.

2. Easy invitation and pre-registration flows
Something we rarely consider is how much time sending out invitations and ensuring pre-registration for visitors actually takes. Especially if all of this is handled through emails or Slack channels.

And that time spent only increases if you need to include security or compliance teams in that workflow as well. Because of this, easy or even automatic invitation and pre-registration workflows is very important to consider when you are looking for a new visitor management system.

VM Workflow

3. Emergency roll-calls
While emergency roll-calls aren't something you are going to use every day but when you need it, it can mean the difference between life and death.

One thing that’s important to remember here, is that not all roll-call functions were created equal, which means you need to make sure that notifications are sent via systems accessible to most users, like text messages (SMS) for instance.

Where to go from here?

After considering what your needs are as an organization and what your budget is, you need to find out if the solution you are looking at lives up to your requirements:

  • Is it easy enough to use?
  • Is it within your budget?
  • Will it improve your visitor experience?
  • Does it integrate with your other systems?
  • Is it secure enough to protect both the physical and digital footprint of your organization?

While you can answer some of these questions after reading about a solution, it’s impossible to know for sure if a certain system is the right fit for your organization before you start using it. And it’s important to remember that dragging out a decision might actually increase the overall cost, especially if you are currently using a solution that results in manual processes and a lot of wasted time.

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