[Web-based registration, Part 3]:
From reading our last 2 posts, you’re familiar with web-based registration and how it will make your job easier, how it can result in increased registrations, and what you need to ask before diving in.
Event registration means different things to different people. It’s important to decide what it means to you before choosing a tool.
Determine your registration priorities
Do you simply need a quick, inexpensive, and easy credit-card registration tool?
- Are you planning to run complex conference or events?
- Are you going to need to take other kinds of online payments as well?
- Is integrating the registrants into your database a key concern?
Once you prioritize your needs, it will be easier to choose what will work best for your event. Many event registration tools can help you track and report on all the details of your event. For example, these tools may allow registrant to sign up for specific tracks or workshops within a session; support complex discounts such as early-bird pricing or discount codes; offer sophisticated reporting that lets you to automatically generate attendance lists by session or print name tags; allow one person to pay for someone else’s registration, and more.
Research your options
Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea about what would benefit you most, do some comparison-shopping. Although there are many tools, here are just some for you to explore:
- Acteva www.acteva.com
- 123Signup www.123signup.com
- RegOnline www.regonline.com
- Cvent www.cvent.com
- Eventbrite www.eventbrite.com
How should you decide? Start by understanding how many events you are planning per year, and approximately how much the registration fee will be for each. These important factors will help you narrow down the program that will work best for your needs.
Think through your needs
Do you just need to get some basic online registration capability up and going, or do you have more sophisticated requirements? For instance, do you need to seamlessly integrate the registration form with your web site? Allow registrants to register for multiple tracks or workshops within an event? Tailor complex discounts for particular audiences? Do you want a package that can not only facilitate registration, but also help you manage your event?
Give it a try
Keep in mind that many of these tools have free evaluation periods. This will not only give you a clear picture of the features offered, but also a much better sense as to how usable a tool it is for your organization, and how accessible and helpful the vendor is when answering your questions.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of reasonable options for online event registration. With the right tool in place, you should be all set to let your event be the star, and your software a way to bring in the registrations.
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*Parts of this article is courtesy of Idealware, which provides candid information to help non-profits choose effective software. For more articles and reviews, go to www.idealware.org.
[Web-Based Registration, Part 2]:
So you know the advantages of web-based registration. And you’ve decided that increasing registrations and lightening your workload makes a lot of sense. But how do you go about selecting the provider that is right for you?
The right solution ultimately depends on the complexity of your events and the number of business processes that can be automated or streamlined. Make sure you ask the providers these 5 questions before you leap. You want a system that makes your life easy!
1 How customizable is the attendee registration process?
Creating the ideal event experience for your attendees requires customization. All communications, from invitation to the post event follow up, should have a personal touch.
Ask how flexible the data forms are – the more customized your data fields, the more reporting you can gather, and the more personalized your communications can be. You want your attendee to perceive your event as a personalized experience.
2 Does the provider offer a comprehensive contact management system?
• Address book management can keep your contact information updated and it can cleanse bad data.
• By slicing and dicing your database, just think how you can implement segmented marketing campaigns!
3 Can you use the registration system to collect payments in an automated and secure manner?
Gone are the days waiting for your attendees’ checks to clear or waiting for payment to arrive by mail. Built-in payment handling is a great time saver because money collected online is in most cases automatically deposited into your bank account.
• Automated systems eliminate cash flow issues that often arise.
• Make sure the online registration system you use is secure and has your registrant’s best interests in mind. Inquire about their security standards and the safeguards they have in place to guarantee that your participant’s data is held in a secure environment.
4 Is the system user-friendly?
• Make sure the technology solution you choose is both easy to use AND serves all the functions that you need. Although more sophisticated systems require an initial investment to learn about the range of features, the accumulated time saved on automating administrative tasks can be staggering once you know how to use it.
5 Does the provider have sufficient support staff to service your needs?
• Let’s face it, initially you’ll need help learning all the bells and whistles. And once you’ve conquered it, you may have some custom requests. You’ll need to know if they have a skilled service team to answer the phone and provide assistance in a timely manner.
• Do they charge extra for customer support?
Do yourself a favor and ask these questions!
Our next blog post, Web-Based Registration, Part 3: 4 Things You Must Do Before Choosing an Event Registration Tool, will help you select the program that best meets your needs. And that will make your life easier!
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