Event registration just HAS to be done right – accurately, efficiently, and user-friendly.
Registration is often the first point of contact, and it creates a first impression of what can be expected during your meeting or event – good or bad! It can cost your organization in lost revenue if prospective attendees get frustrated when trying to register and decide not to bother, and it can affect the overall perception of value that attendees take away from the program if they do persevere and attend. These considerations make registration one of the most important components of the entire event, and it applies to all stages of the registration process from initial inquiries through advance registration, changes or cancellations, payment, confirmations, and even walk-in registrations on-site.
So let’s review how to go about making registration a really great experience for everyone, including your staff and volunteers.
Your Registration Team
- 1 Your Registration Team
- 2 Technology
- 3 Security and privacy
- 4 Cost of online registration services
- 5 Registration Guidelines for Meetings and Events
- 6 Handling Meeting and Event Registration Payments
Smile being heard over the telephone. So important.
The key element for providing a welcoming and helpful tone for a successful registration experience will be well trained, cheerful and guest-oriented staff members whose Smiles can be heard over the telephone and readily seen when they are working on-site. Registration is a form of customer service and everyone who registers must be treated as a customer or guest.
That said, there is no substitute for a competent and well-informed registration staff. A working knowledge of computers, database, and registration software will be required for anyone handling advance registration, but it will not necessarily be required of everyone who works registration on-site. Anyone responding to questions about the event should be well versed in the options available and the cost.
Questions beyond the basics about the program should be transferred to a contact more knowledgeable about the details such as topics, speakers, entertainment, etc.
Advance registration for a meeting or event usually requires no face-to-face contact at all. Web-based or computer software can generate marketing announcements, email invitations, registration services, payment functions, confirmations, reminders and even follow-up thank you notes after the event. This type of registration is almost always used for virtual meetings and can be relatively simple, but registration for face-to-face meetings or events may be more complex depending on the variables that are offered for attendees to choose from, particularly if housing options are included.
Web-based programs require no software downloads and are accessible from any computer at any time for anyone that has been given the code. Examples of information typically required from attendees registering for an event is available in the form provided by the link below.
Security and privacy
Cost of online registration services
Not all online registration services are expensive, nor do all require signing up for an annual or monthly fee. Some will charge per registration transaction and may or may not require a minimum number of registrations per year. Others can be set up to sell tickets for admission. Integrated systems that include a full database function are pricier, but still a great value. Some charge a base set-up and implementation fee plus a monthly fee for each person authorized to access the system, and others will charge based on the number of events and transactions per year.
Staff training will be required, but once that is accomplished the reduced staff hours needed to handle registrations will not only save time but also money and frustration and may be the most cost-effective in the long run.
Registration Guidelines for Meetings and Events
Handling Meeting and Event Registration Payments
Integrated registration systems
Third party credit card processing
Processing payments directly
Cash handling on-site
A checklist and timeline go hand-in-hand with meeting and event planning. When you do a thorough job of creating the checklist first, you can then use it to create the timeline. These two documents will do everything to keep you on track and on time if you refer to them regularly and faithfully. Update them as you go along, and their “shelf life” will be endless as they will be the first documents you pull when you begin planning the next event. Timesavers and lifesavers, BOTH.
The Registration Checklist should include a section dedicated to the supplies that need to be ordered in advance before registration opens plus those to pack to go on-site for registration set-up. Thorough backup procedures should also be listed, such as the printed lists to take with you and flashlights if you have a power or failure, equipment malfunction, depleted batteries, etc. Ever forgotten your power cord? Not good. Details! You can’t remember them all if you don’t document them … and once on-site it is usually too late to recover from oversights.