Pros & cons of manual vs electronic guest sign in - for retirement villages and aged care facilities

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

For many, the need to register visitors isn’t a new requirement. Running a retirement village or aged care facility means that you’ll need to register a range of visitors– including contractors, staff, doctors, physios, opticians etc., on an ongoing basis. If you’re using manual sign-in books and looking at digital and contactless options, or simply want to make sure you’re meeting contact tracing requirements– now’s a good time to weigh up your options. In this article, we’ll outline manual registration vs electronic systems and the pros and cons of each.

Retirement village resident and visitor
Contactless sign in for retirement villages

1. Manual sign-in book/list

What is it?

A book or list that sits out in an entrance area for visitors to record a few basic details – including arrival and departure time.



  • They’re quick to set up, and the cost is low.


  • You risk breaches of trust with personal data out on display (this is a genuine risk, and has been reported on recently)

  • Guests are likely to be using shared pens, which means shared germs - something to bear in mind for both now and the future. 

  • If you’re also using the system for contact tracing, in the event of an incident there’s going to be a lot of time spent finding records, managing data and typing up these contact lists. That effort can multiply if there is more than one site involved.

  • It may be difficult to interpret poor handwriting.

  • It has limited use for displaying other health & safety notifications. 

2 - iPad or tablet with a form displayed on the screen

What is it? 

A tablet that is displayed at the entrance of a building or in the reception area. A form will be shown on the tablet, and visitors will sign in by typing details into the form. 


  • Guests can sign in without having their contact details displayed to everyone else.

  • You can display other important information to visitors, e.g. health and safety notifications.

  • It’s good if people don’t have their own smart phone or have difficulty signing in.


  • Not all systems make it easy to pull up a list of visitors. It’s worth checking this before you sign up to one. 

  • Some systems require the visitor to download an app, which adds extra time to the check-in process. 

  • Security and data privacy may be an issue. If the system isn’t secure, it’s not worth the risk. 

  • The set up requires some time. 

  • You will need an iPad or tablet (or multiple ones) to get set up.

  • There are hygiene considerations with tablets. As with all shared surfaces, these will need to be cleaned regularly.

3 - QR code displayed on a poster or monitor

What is it? 

A poster, or multiple posters, are put up in the entrance way, reception, or other parts of your facility where guests may need to be registered. The poster has a QR code, which a visitor will scan and then fill out a form on their mobile phone. You don’t need to buy a tablet device for guests. Administrators often have screens they can use to see who is checked in.


  • Quick set up. No hardware to buy. Guests only need a smart phone.

  • It’s contactless – nothing to clean .

  • It’s beneficial for businesses who need a temporary solution to help manage guest registration and contact tracing requirements. 

  • It doesn’t cost much. 

  • You can have multiple posters, e.g. if you have numerous entrances to the facility or need visitors to sign in when visiting guest villas.

  • If the system supports it, receptionists can still sign in guests on their behalf using the admin screens on a computer or tablet .


  • You may want a tablet option for self-check in for guests that don’t have a phone. Or to provide a touch screen option in a reception area. Option 2 would be suitable here – or a solution that offers both.

  • Check security and privacy. The system should be able to meet all your digital security and privacy requirements. This includes password protection, secure access to the data collected, secure data storage and data encryption.

If you want to talk more about the right option for you or have specific requirements such as registering visitors to resident villas, health and safety compliance, registering different visitor types; we can help with that too. 

Unlike many other technologies out there, EVA Check-in is security focused and meets all the requirements listed above (password protected, secure access to the data collected, secure data storage and data encryption). We have experience in setting up visitor management for care homes and retirement villages across New Zealand, including BUPA and Arvida, and would be happy to recommend a setup for you.  

Talk to us today.