For small businesses, hosting corporate events can boost brand reach, gets the word out about new products or services and builds connections. Building events that make the most of the budget you have allocated means taking advantage of the technology and services that are out there. When teams are often limited in number and a lot of logistical planning to get on top of, it’s important that your event registration process runs without a hitch.
This is where event registration software becomes especially helpful, as it has streamlined both online and onsite registration processes.
How To Choose The Right Event Registration Software For You
Out of all the software available out there, the key to choosing is finding out which one can cater to your specific needs. Ask yourself these three simple but important questions:
● Does it lighten your workload?
One of the main advantages of software is taking a lot of the tasks off your plate and freeing up your time. That said, if your event registration solution is not user-friendly, then it defeats the purpose. Request for a free trial demo of the software you like. This way, you’ll be able to tell if it’s intuitive and easy to understand, as opposed to those with complicated interfaces.
● Can you use it for all your other events?
Chances are, you’ll be running more events in the future. Will this software’s features be able to scale according to what you need? Are they designed for small businesses or enterprises? While it can be a trial-and-error process, it’s always best that you end up using just one software. That way, you’ll be able to cross-reference data from one event to another, and identify their strong and weak points.
● Does it integrate with the software you’re currently using?
A whole slew of features won’t mean anything if you can’t integrate this software with your overall event management process. This includes integration with your email marketing software (to start sending personalised messages upon registration) and with your registration website itself (to not drive away potential attendees by sending them to third-party sites). Bear in mind that some event management agencies will be able to host your event registration on their own platform.
Streamlining Your Next Corporate Event Registration
Assuming that you’ve completed your planning phase (i.e. ironing out details on payments, fees, registration deadlines, lead times, etc.), it’s time to tackle the two-phase process of event registration:
1. Online registration
As the first customer touchpoint, it’s vital that you leave a good impression by doing the following:
- Reduce friction – Nothing turns a potential guest off than a poorly-designed registration site. Make sure that it includes all pertinent details about the event (e.g. venue, maps, etc.). You should also use auto-fills for easier registering, add completion bars so they’ll know how many steps they have to take before payment, and make the site mobile-friendly.
- Provide preference choices – To help improve the overall experience on the day of the event itself, ask your guests if they have any preferences when it comes to food (e.g. allergies), promotional wear (e.g. shirt size), any disability accommodations needed (e.g. for parking), and all the workshops they plan to attend.
- Let your brand shine – Whichever marketing paraphernalia you use, make sure that they all reflect your brand’s tone and personality, especially with colours, logos, and fonts.
- Offer a variety of payment options – Cover all bases when it comes to payments. Apart from local banks and credit cards, have online options like PayPal available. Offer early bird fees to entice them and group registrations for better convenience.
- Market your event – Get the word out about your event by advertising on social platforms, creating event-related content to build hype (e.g. video interviews of speakers/VIPs), and sending email drip campaigns to gently nudge your subscribers to attend.
When it comes to online registrations, remember: the more convenient it is, the better. Take no more than five minutes for this process, and make it as simple and easy as possible.
2. Onsite registration
Keeping all your guests happy is the primary goal on the day of the event itself. This means no long queues and addressing all their all concerns. To do this, you should:
- Design your badges well – Event badges are just name tags manually written, which guests can then stick on their clothes. Today, badges have a lot of uses, especially with expediting ticketing, tracking your guests, and networking. Your badges should then:
- Be made of strong material, so they won’t break during the entirety of the event
- Have lanyards that don’t swivel around or ruin people’s clothes
- Be big enough to include their names, organisations, job titles, social media accounts, and your logo
- Keep to your brand, in terms of colours and fonts
- Have a registration desk – Don’t relegate registration desks as an afterthought. This is, after all, the first place your guests will likely go to before entering the event. You should then:
- Create a separate area for inquiries and VIPs, so they won’t hold up the queue
- Pre-plan an entry policy in cases of walk-ins and/or unexpected guests
- Cover all cables, especially those exposed in areas where people walk on
- Put up clear signs to direct guests where they should go
Some onsite registration and badging systems allow for print on demand badging meaning there are no queues and therefore no VIP section is needed. Attendees simply turn up to the desk give a member of the check in staff their name and a sticker is printed and stuck on to a badge. This can drastically cut down wait time and in many cases get rid of queues entirely.
Take Advantage of Technology
After every event, analyse your software’s data and find out where else you can improve and which areas you succeeded.
Event registration software has paved the way for event managers to simplify tasks, and easily keep track of ticket sales and attendance, pre event and onsite, as well as collating information on attendee behaviour post event. The trick is choosing a solution (or an events agency that offers a solution) that is powerful enough for your needs and falls in your budget.
About the Author: Denise Sharpe is Managing Director and founding partner of Outsourced Events, a London based event management company. With over twenty years in the event industry, she has helped run events for global corporates such as Dell, Citrix and renowned UK organisations like the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. You can get in touch with Outsourced Events on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook or check out more of Denise’s insights on their event blog.