Event registration can be a tricky process. Here, we share our advice for getting it right.
Event managers need to think about who their audience is, how they get buy-in for their event, how they communicate with delegates and how they collect crucial information and details. Here are a few of our tips for getting the process right.
1. Be clear and concise
Don’t make the registration process too long as people switch off quickly. This goes for emails, too. Clearly communicate the agenda in an easily digestible way and make it accessible so people can read it on the go. C-suite executives, in particular, don’t have much time and tend to do things in transit.
2. Give lots of notice
Have you given delegates enough advance notice? People’s diaries fill up quickly, so as soon as you have booked your venue, send a ‘save the date’ which delegates can automatically add to their calendar and block out the time.
3. Consider an early-bird rate
Early-bird rates are a great way of enticing your audience to register early. If you sign up enough delegates in the registration period, include a page on your event’s website that details who has already booked to attend and what companies they work for. People might think: “Wow, 50 people have registered and they are from these organisations – I’m going to attend now.”
4. Help delegates be prepared
If there’s an expectation for a delegate to do something out of the ordinary during the registration process – for example, upload a profile picture – tell them about it beforehand in the initial email. There’s nothing worse than a large number of abandoned registrations, and at least then people can prepare.
5. Learn from experience
Use feedback from previous years to strengthen the appeal of your event and the way you advertise it. If you know from a previous year that a venue or speaker wasn’t well received, make a point of this in your invitation as you sell the event. Show your delegates that you are learning from experience. People who can sense passion behind an event are far more likely to engage with it.
6. Make it as easy as possible
Rather than asking delegates to call or email with amends to their registration details, use a website that gives delegates the ability to manually modify the information themselves. There’s always a window of uncertainty where people want to make lots of changes. Make it as easy and user-friendly as possible.
7. Advertise internally or use social media
If you are not getting enough of a response, it’s a good idea to advertise the event internally. For example, if it’s a leadership conference, put it on the intranet so employees are aware it is happening before invitations are sent out. Social media platforms can also be a great means of reaching a wider audience and can be used to cascade event ‘teasers’, promote early-bird rates and announce speakers.
8. Thoroughly vet your website
An event website saves an incredible amount of time, but there is nothing worse than suddenly realising that your website hasn’t captured people’s information correctly – such as their meal choices or preferred sessions – until it’s too late.
9. Put together FAQs
A lot of time can be spent dealing with queries – for example, delegates asking what the dress code is. A comprehensive FAQ section will only take you 15 minutes to write, but it will save time – it’s better to spend 15 minutes now rather than hours later answering calls. Feeling futuristic? Utilise event bots to do a lot of the work for you!
10. Use tablets for check-in
Your event website can be linked to other technology like tablets, which then allows delegates to check in themselves when they arrive at the event. You can save a lot of manpower and reduce queues – and right away this bolsters people’s impressions of your event.
11. Think about using QR codes
The world of events is moving away from badge tables, and QR codes are brilliant bits of tech, particularly from a delegate’s perspective. They can have the code ready on their phone, so when they turn up it can be scanned quickly, they take their badge and then go.
12. Look at last year’s data
It’s a case of understanding your numbers, the peak times that people are due to arrive, and ensuring you are comfortable with how many people you have to register at a certain time. Again, this is where a previous year’s data comes into effect; if you know there is a one-hour window where 1,000 people will turn up, get another 30% of check-in systems to help cope with that.