Corporate events are often focused on just one objective: marketing external or internal messages, getting the word out about a new product or service, motivating employees, or networking with others from your industry.
One of the most overlooked but one of the most important aspects of event management is the online and onsite event registration process. Registering for your event, whether it’s online or on the door on the day, will likely be the first touch point you have with your attendees and so it’s important to get this right. A good onsite registration process will also allow you to get delegates in quickly and avoid queues on the day.
Getting it right means you can replicate the process for future events, and minimise the inevitable stress that would come your way.
Let’s have a look then at how to simplify and streamline your corporate event registration process.
1. Find the right event registration software
Thanks to event registration software, you can now customise tickets and badges and allow your guests to pre-register anywhere in the world. But you can’t just go with the first software that you find. You need to research and ask yourself the following questions:
- How easy is it to use? – Sign up for a free trial before purchasing to see if the software is easy and intuitive.
- Can you use it with your current system? – Multiple features aren’t necessarily good if they’re not compatible with your current tools, such as your email marketing platform or various payment options.
- Does it make registration convenient for guests? – It would be pointless if the software will not make registration easier, especially in terms of accepted payment types, security, availability of group registration, and others.
- Is it scalable? – Chances are, you’d plan more events in the future. It’s best that you find a software that you can use for a long time for better efficiency.
- Does it produce valuable data? – Reporting during and after the event is vital, so you’ll know which areas you fell short and how to improve them. Look for software that allows surveys, feedback, or real-time reports.
Planning ahead is key to a successful event. Here are a number of details that you need lay down:
- Fees for attending, including early-bird discounts or penalties for late payments
- Allowing guests to bring plus ones (or more)
- Food and drink preferences, especially for those who may have allergies
- Merchandise to be sold
- Deadline for registration
- Seat capacity of the venue, as well as the seating arrangement
- Appropriate lead time needed from the start of registration to the day of the event itself
3. Create a smooth online registration process
To make sure that the online registration phase runs smoothly, you need to consider the following with regard to the actual online registration process:
- Creating a separate microsite for registration.
- Add a completion bar, so guests will know how many steps are left to complete their registration.
- Use a short form, preferably with auto-fills for easier choosing of options.
- Include all important details on the website (e.g. location, map, directions, parking, date, time, etc.)
It’s important to remember that some event management companies will offer online registration as part of their service, meaning they can set up a registration page on your own site but using their servers and portal to register attendees and take payments (whilst keeping your own branding of course).
4. Match your online registration with your brand identity
To look professional while strengthening your brand, your registration site should also be designed using your brand’s themes. This includes the colour palette, as well as the tone, voice, and personality of the copy.
5. Offer a variety of payment options
Diverse ticket packages for guests make it more convenient for them to register. Apart from local banks and credit cards, you should also have options that allows for online payments like PayPal.
If possible, include early-bird fees and group registration discounts to better entice attendees. Have a clear refund and cancellation rules (including any fee), in cases of any unforeseen circumstances.
6. Consider event badging
With event badges, you need to think about design and how best to issue these on the day. Badges add a professional look and feel to the event itself, improve your branding, and allow you to expedite ticketing but with hundreds or even thousands of attendees it’s important to have a well manned front desk to get delegates registered and badged quickly.
One solution is to work with an event company that offers print on demand badging, which will save a huge amount of time on the day and reduce the likelihood of queues and a stressed out front desk (which is never a good first impression).
Take note of the following when thinking about badge design:
- Lanyards – Pick lanyards that are adjustable, reliable, and won’t ruin your guests’ clothes.
- Badge material – Events that last for days need badges made of strong material so they won’t end up damaged.
- Right details – Don’t overcrowd the badge with information. One option is to print a map and schedule on the back of the badge so attendees can quickly reference it.
- Badge size – Pick the right dimensions that will cover all the info needed without overcrowding the badge.
- Design – Designing the right badge entails choosing the right font style and size (easily readable but can still accommodate longer names). You should also include enough space for your brand logo to keep your name top of mind with your guests. When choosing colours, make sure that you follow your brand’s own palette.
7. Prepare the right event registration desk
On-site registration plays a huge part in creating a good first impression of your business. To make sure that queues aren’t slow and that all guests have their needs met, prepare an efficient event registration desk by:
- Putting up clear signs to direct guests to the right areas
- Splitting the desk alphabetically, in case of hundreds/thousands of guests
- Creating a separate area for inquiries and VIPs
- Covering any loose cables to avoid accidents
- Preparing for unexpected scenarios like walk-in guests
- Considering faster badging systems such as print on demand badging, whereby delegates simply turn up and give their full name so you can print and issue their badge then and there.
Be Flexible but know your Limitations
Every event manager knows that there are plenty of things that won’t go as planned. It’s essential that you market your event properly for example, by using appropriate social media channels, creating content to generate hype around the event, and starting an email campaign to persuade your subscribers to attend.
Give yourself room to adjust and adapt to anything that is out of your control. However, do know your limitations, so you won’t end up overpromising to both your guests and your employers. Don’t forget to analyse your data after every event, so you can pinpoint how else to improve future ones.