Event Registration Best Practices: Streamlining the Attendee Experience
Event registration plays a significant part in determining the overall turnout and trajectory of your event. Incorporating event registration best practices goes a long way to improve your attendee registration and attendance experience.
Streamlining your registration process can make the very first impression on your attendees about the meeting and event you are running. It even determines how attendees will interact and gauge their satisfaction with the event.
A critical part of ensuring a successful event is the pre-event planning process. Your pre-event planning process should include the event registration. After all, this is truly where your intended participants begin to experience the event. Planning allows for a smoother, more consistent, and more synergized registration process, creating a pleasant start to the event.
Setting Clear Event Objectives
Before you even choose your event planning and registration resources, you need to set clear objectives for your event.
Defining Your Target Audience
Setting your target audience will help you figure out the direction to take. You have to think of how to comfortably include your target audience. For instance, you have to think of how you will equally reach older professors and younger students at the same event.
Similarly, if you expect to have audiences with disabilities, such as visual impairments, you need to ensure you adequately accommodate them. Moreover, different attendees may have differing registration needs. For instance, young students may need to double as exhibitors, which brings in the need to create a booth registration process for them.
On the other hand, professors may have an attendee perk that allows them to pay less for the registration. In this case, you have to accommodate this different registration payment tier. Identifying your target audience also makes it easier to make other resource allocations, like choosing the right registration tool, and setting the right pricing, and payment methods, among others.
Establishing Key Event Details
Lastly, plug in all your key event details, from the target attendee and their number, important dates, budget, and all other relevant details of the event. Having this information accurately listed down eliminates redundancies along the way and makes processes run smoother. After all, you have all the details with you which makes planning and execution a lot easier.
Choosing the Right Registration Software
After collecting essential information for your event registration, the next step is to map out a registration path, including choosing the software selection. You want to envision the entire registration process so it’s easy to choose the software and features to support it.
Considerations for Software Selection
Consider the event, size, and frequency when choosing the right software for your event registration process. While some event planners rely on smaller software integrations, others prefer more comprehensive software.
Either way, the choice you go for is usually better when it matches your brand appearance and helps to maintain consistency. For instance, some software options let you maintain a registration form or website that matches your brand colors and fonts.
Event planners who choose these themes enjoy better results as potential attendees already have established trust and can relate to the brand. Moreover, brand familiarity eliminates security doubts – since the target audience doesn’t have to worry about sharing their details with unknown sources.
Different types of people with varying skills and sometimes, disabilities, may have to access your event registration form. Therefore, you want to design an event registration form with a user-friendly interface to make it easy to navigate and fill out.
With a confusing interface, chances are that your intended attendees may ditch the process mid-way. For example, software with international standards, like WCAG, makes web accessibility easier for people with disabilities.
In addition to a seamless user interface, you can integrate your registration form with useful features, like reminders. This reminder feature sends out email or SMS reminders when attendees abandon registration forms without completing the process.
Depending on your feature needs, software with versatile integration tools is always a better choice. When it comes to event registration, data safety is always a concern. Having software that lets you integrate your database in one place while keeping information accurate is the way to go.
Other useful integration tools to have in your software include payment apps, email marketing and reminder tools, and even, data analytics, segmentation, and insight tools. Ultimately, event registration software with versatile integration tools makes the process more seamless and easy for your target attendees.
Payment Processing Options
Integrate safe and trusted payment processing options into the registration process to make it easier for attendees to complete everything in one place. Doing so will help to increase and retain attendee numbers.
Moreover, using trusted payment processing options with proven reputable security will keep your audience at ease while ensuring their financial data is secure. As a bonus, integrate your registration process with multiple placement gateways for added convenience for different attendees.
A few popular and reliable payment options, include debit and credit cards, and contactless payment options, such as PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay, to name a few.
In any virtual space, data protection is extremely important as it can easily fall prey to cyber threats. When choosing an event registration process, you need to pick one that safeguards the security and privacy of your attendee data.
Moreover, it’s a good idea to consolidate and integrate your audience database in a single place to keep data safe. Furthermore, pick software that encrypts all the data people may share during registration, including personal and financial details.
Popular Event Registration Platforms
The good news is that you can find a wide variety of the best event registration platforms based on your needs. All you need to look out for are features that most match your event planning needs. Here are essential features and benefits of an event registration platform to look out for when you are searching for one;
Features and Benefits
- Customizability: A good event registration should give you adequate leeway for customization. You should be able to craft effective registration forms to suit your style of event and intended attendees. Moreover, you should be able to extend your branding into the registration form to build comfort and trust for your attendees. For brands with no in-house developers and designers, easy-to-use software also saves you tons of money since it offers tools to build the form by yourself.
- Built-in communication: Some of the best event registration tools are equipped with various communication tools, such as social media and email marketing automation tools. Whether sending out registration reminders via email or spreading event registration awareness on social media, these tools go a long way to align with your event planning efforts.
- Advanced ticketing management: Depending on your event type, popular event planning platforms give you advanced ticketing options to foster better registration rates. These include ticketing incentives such as promo codes, group passes, or early bird tickets, to mention a few. While offering these features, automation remains to be essential. This is because it allows you to integrate these mechanisms within your system for a seamless experience, no matter the type of attendee registering.
- Scalability: If you plan on growing your event management over time, a scalable platform is a good choice. From small webinars to larger conferences, a scalable registration form makes transitioning easy without starting fresh or going through cumbersome processes. Such platforms give you options, like segmentations, and allow for various feature options to easily cater to particular event sizing needs.
Choose an event registration platform with a transparent pricing model. A good platform usually offers pricing tiers to match your event size and feature needs. Some good ones will even offer a free plan with access to basic features so you can test the waters.
Crafting an Effective Registration Form
Crafting a registration for your event creates the foundation for how your event may turn out. After all, how effectively you craft registration forms will determine people’s response to it and the registration rates. On the other hand, registration rates determine turnout and how the event may end up. So, it’s extremely important to integrate the best practices for a highly converting event registration form.
An effective registration form asks for useful and essential information alone. There’s no need to ask your attendees millions of questions they will take time to answer only for it not to serve any purpose. Remember, it’s easy to get bored, meaning your attendees may abandon the form midway, if it takes too long to fill out.
As a general rule of thumb, ask only what you need for the event to run successfully. For instance, if it’s a conference with different participants, you may need to know more about age or position for easier ticketing assignments and other categorization. Similarly, events with dining options may need information, such as dieting restrictions. Commercial events may require useful marketing data for future communication.
However, when collecting data, it is good practice to exercise transparency. To build trust among your audience, always be open about data collection and usage. Furthermore, don’t make every field mandatory. For instance, if you are collecting data for marketing or research purposes, you can always allow the audience to opt out of sharing their information.
Attendee Contact Details
No matter the event type, collecting attendee contact details is important in the registration stage. This makes future communication easier, whether you send out reminders, ask for RSVPs, or even send out marketing correspondence. Consider a two-way contact sharing mechanism using a virtual business card.
As you build your registration form, you will have to customize and tailor it to fit your event and potential attendees. If you need to collect more data or share more information with your participants within the form, you can create breakaway questions or segmented fields.
This doesn’t just improve the effectiveness of the information collection process. It also improves the participant’s registration experience – nobody wants to go through fields or pages of information that aren’t relevant to them!
Reducing Friction in the Registration Process
In addition to crafting effective forms, don’t forget to incorporate add-on features to further simplify and improve the registration experience. Here’s how you can do so;
Single vs. Multi-Page Forms
Just as they sound, a single-page form will host every query on a single web page while multi-page forms do the opposite. One needn’t be a rocket scientist to know that longer forms aren’t as effective. Reducing the questions on a form can significantly boost conversion rates.
In general, you should strive to cut down questions and use a short single-page form. If you need extra data, you can then add breakaway questions so only relevant participants can expand and address.
However, this doesn’t mean that single-page forms are the only way. Multi-step registration forms can be pretty useful when you want to optimize customer engagement. They allow you to engage your participants at a more personable level and ask non-generic questions. Ultimately, the form you choose should resonate with the event you intend to run and the type of participants you engage.
Have you ever come across an online form with an auto-fill feature? Isn’t this form or questionnaire filling process easier than manual filling? Auto-fill options make the registration process much easier as they cut down the time and eliminate the boredom of filling in the same information over and over again. As an added perk, you can integrate a drop-down menu option for questions that allow you to do so to simplify the form even further.
In today’s world, our lives revolve around cell phones. Most of us complete many of our tasks using phones. Whether you are on a break or commuting, it’s pretty simple to use your phone for many tasks. A mobile-optimized registration form means it is designed for easy use on smaller smartphone screens.
Additionally, mobile-optimized forms let you enjoy the full features of the software that you would on a PC or laptop. This also means that you are more likely to have a higher registration rate using a mobile-optimized form than having none. This is because most people will complete the registration process on their phones on the go!
Offering Flexible Registration Options
A seamlessly designed registration form alone may sometimes be insufficient for boosting registration rates. Depending on the event you run, intended participants may require incentivizing. If you are in this circumstance, you can always incorporate flexible registration options to accommodate different attendees.
Early Bird Discounts
As mentioned earlier, perks, like the early bird discount can help incentivize your target attendees. However, it also creates flexibility. Some attendees may want to register earlier to eliminate last-minute hassles. Offering an early bird discount, like a 10% to 20% discount off the regular price is a great way to increase these early bird registration rates.
On the other hand, these flexible offerings don’t just benefit attendees. You can use these inadvertent features as research and analytics tools to better understand your event planning efforts. For example, based on how people interact with the early bird discounts, you can easily evaluate your event pricing model and if it’s working.
You can also evaluate whether or not you’ve managed to convey a better understanding of the event among your participants. You get your data early enough to make amendments in your event planning, communication, or marketing if you need to.
Group registrations are another way to hit a high conversion rate at once. While offering lower rates for groups, you get more than one registration at a time. In addition to bringing more attendees at a time, you create convenience for your participants. For example, if your event features organizational attendance, group registration means a single company can get tickets for their teams at once rather than purchasing individual tickets.
VIP or Premium Packages
No matter the circumstances, people love incentives and special treatment. For an event, this translates to VIP and premium packages. This is another excellent feature for boosting conversion rates. Whether it’s adding perks like VIP seating, free meals, or personal concierge, adding VIP and premium packages to your registration is sure to add an extra population of participants.
On-site Registration and Check-in
As reiterated earlier, not all participants will be the same. You have early birds that plan everything while also late actors exist. Don’t limit your event attendance to ticketing windows. You may still get a large number of attendees during the event date. So, it’s a good idea to integrate onsite registration, ticketing, and check-in facilities during the event day.
Communication and Promotion
Communication and promotion is an integral part of event planning and management. Therefore, fostering communication can help you boost registration rates.
Marketing the Event
Before you opt for direct marketing, employing a content marketing strategy for your event may be crucial today. The good news is you can incorporate an endless variety of content marketing tools, based on the profile of your target audience.
Corporate or older audiences may be reached through email or SMS marketing. For email marketing campaigns to be effective, up your game by ditching those generic messages that everyone skips. Get to the point, keep it short, and personalize it to fit the profile of your target audience. This is the only way you can attract participants you
Social Media Promotion
If you plan on attracting a younger crowd, social media is the best route. But, there are plenty of other platforms to cater to various SEO social groups. Choose media that resonates with your target audience group. You certainly don’t want to reach out to an older generation through TikTok!
Other useful tools include media, such as blogs, podcasts, and even eBooks, among others. If driving registration rates is your goal, whatever content marketing tool you choose, make sure to redirect your audience to your registration form. For example, if you share posts on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, be sure to include a link to the registration form.
Confirmation and Reminder Emails
The point of event registration is to get people to attend your event and not just register. Your marketing efforts need to extend beyond the registration phase. With the right event registration tools, you can automate these processes by adding features like confirmation emails or messages with CTAs. Additionally, you can also add reminder emails for people who signed up but haven’t registered or abandoned the registration process.
Providing Clear Instructions
Marketing and promotion is where you have the chance to share everything a participant needs to know about your event. Whether on social media or email campaigns, you should use these tools to create awareness about the event and in the end, add a call to action.
Handling Queries and Support
These marketing channels can also serve as communication routes with your intended audience. You have to make content marketing a two-way stream to help you connect and build trust with the audience. But, don’t just limit this interaction to posts, emails, and replies. There are plenty of ways to spread awareness, handle queries, and offer support to those experiencing issues. Common ways to do so include adding chat support on your registration site, FAQ section link on your registration form, and even running social media Q&A sessions.
Streamlining On-site Check-in
Planning for event registration doesn’t end at the registration form. To ensure an exceptional attendee event experience, you want to streamline the on-site registration and check-in process.
Efficient Badge Printing
Maintaining efficiency makes the difference when ensuring a successful and smooth running event. When planning, you want to maintain efficiency throughout. You can improve the very first stage of the event by streamlining the badge printing process.
Opting for on-demand badge printing makes attendee badge management easier. But, how exactly do you do that? Well, you can choose event registration software that streamlines and automates attendee details. This means that you can have badge details for every registered attendee on standby and ready for printing at any time.
All you need is blank badge sheets and lanyards to get you prepared. Choosing on-demand printing eliminates the labor-intensive and time-consuming process of printing and sorting the badges only to end up with half of the crowd as no-shows!
QR Code Technology
QR technology is another great solution to streamline check-in. It serves as a clean and paperless alternative. Whether it’s to help you manage crowds, boost check-in efficiency, or give your attendees options, QR technology smoothens the check-in process. Upon registration confirmation, you can automate the system to send out a QR code for checking in.
Attendees can easily scan these codes to check them in and activate the badge printing process. All you do is print out the badge, attach the lanyard, and get them going. No more long lines, roaster-style name checking, or sorting through long lists of names on tablets and laptops.
Event management requires a team on the same page. so, staff training for check-in and event coordination should be part of the plan.
Minimizing Wait Times
By streamlining your event check-in process, you can significantly minimize wait times and improve your participants’ event attendance experience. Incorporating versatile check-in options also caters to and creates an inclusive environment for various types of attendees, including people with disabilities. Other useful check-in processes include email and SMS check-in and special VIP check-in sections
Data Management and Analytics
The event registration process offers the opportunity to manage data collection and analysis. Data collection and analysis help you get qualitative information to help you make better decisions and improve your future event planning. To give you insights into your efforts, choose event registration software that integrates or offers data management and analytics features.
Collecting Attendee Data
When crafting registration forms, make sure you include the questions you need to measure the success of your event. You can pull the data you collect from the form and measure it against your parameters.
Analytics Tools for Insights
When picking the right event registration tool, go for one that integrates with the analytics that works for you. The best part about measuring insights is you can get analytics on anything about your event.
This includes how effective your digital marketing efforts are and even if attendees found the registration process seamless. You can even evaluate areas you failed in, like how many attendees abandoned the registration process.
Post-Event Surveys and Feedback
Post-event surveys and feedback also serve as additional data collection tools. You can send these out through QR codes during the event or even through emails, social media, and poll links.
Accessibility and Inclusivity
Accessibility and inclusivity are important components to ensure throughout the event. Consider all your participants when planning for event registration to make it easier to accommodate them. The easiest way to maintain equal accessibility and inclusivity is through communication by gathering the right information, comments, and feedback through online registration forms and feedback platforms.
Language and Translation Options
Don’t forget to integrate language and translation services to make content accessible and inclusive. This helps to accommodate the deaf, blind, and people who speak different languages. Tools you can use include translation and real-time caption tools.
Consideration for Special Needs
You can also use web content accessibility guidelines to scan and test online resources, such as fully functional websites and registration forms. Resources you can test for include colors, font sizes, and even equipment, like keyboard and speaker functions.
Security and Privacy
Data security and privacy are extremely important in event registration. Data security simply means protecting your attendee’s information from unauthorized access. On the other hand, data privacy ensures proper use of collected personal data.
Data Protection Measures
Invest in event registration software that supports data protection and security practices. This is also where staff training is important. To uphold data protection practices, staff must be trained on proper data handling during registration and check-in.
Compliance with Regulations
During event registration, make sure your systems stay in compliance with important regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA. This ensures that your registration form design and operation functions to protect your attendees.
Transparency in Data Handling
To build trust among your intended attendees, you should also practice transparency in data handling. This simply means being fully truthful about how you intend to use the data you collect.
As evident above, the perfect event registration experience features a comprehensive form design, communication, marketing, and rich feature integration. You can even use these versatile features to determine how effective your efforts are.
An excellent example of a successful comprehensive event registration experience was the 2022 Oracle Code One User Conference. Designed for new-gen techies and attracting programmers across the world, this event doesn’t just use an interesting registration form.
It also integrates a range of interesting features, including a plant-conscious menu offering as part of the year’s green initiative. The registration also gave potential attendees additional interesting options such as choosing to participate in carbon footprint reduction lessons.
The best event registration practices are comprehensive and interdependent. With the best event registration form alone, you may not get the results you hope for. You have to integrate all the best features, including effective communication and marketing. Ultimately, expertly designed event registration software that gives you designing and customization ease is the way to go.