Event Management: The registration process
So you’ve got your event planned, your venue is booked and exhibitors are starting to sign up, great! What’s next in the event management registration process? You now need to think about how your visitors are going to register, what experience you want them to have and most importantly how to convert them into an attendee.
It might seem simple, however there is a lot to consider;
- What questions do you need to ask them when registering?
- Are you going to charge people?
- Are there going to be any seminars?
- Have you considered using social media marketing tools to help visitors advocate your event to their network of contacts?
- What tools are available to engage and encourage your exhibitors to market to their databases?
- Are you going to send badges out pre-event or are people going to collect as they arrive?
- How are you going to lay out the registration area on-site?
- Do you plan to manage the registration area yourselves or have a registration company to do it for you?
- How can you make sure your exhibitors make the most of their day and come back next time?
- How can you generate some additional revenue?
We’ve expanded on the above to give you some ideas and extra points to consider…
What questions do you need to ask them when registering?
On the registration forms, only ask questions if you are going to use this data, it has relevance and is likely to be valid to ask year on year so you can analyse your data trends effectively. Anything more than this is a waste of yours and the attendees time.
Are you going to charge people?
If you are looking to charge, what are they paying for i.e. entrance, VIP access or seminars sessions? And how much are you planning on charging? Are there going to be discounts, early-bird prices or a different tiered pricing structure? You can take payments pre-event online (which can be with your own payment gateway and account if you have one, or the registration suppliers) and at the venue on PDQ machines which can be hired.
Are there going to be any seminars?
With seminars, are they first come first served, or do you need people to be able to pre-book enabling you to scale up (or down) room sizes depending on demand and set limits?
Are they paying to secure a seat but onsite it is free to attend? If so how will you manage capacity onsite ensuring all the people who have pre-booked get a seat vs. those who want to decide to attend whilst at the event, or does everyone need to pay to attend sessions therefore you need a conference booking desk at the show? One way to manage this is with seminar room scanners which can be used to scan badges so only those who registered beforehand can be scanned in, or by having seminar codes displayed on the badge of the attendee.
Have you considered using social media marketing tools to help visitors advocate your event to their network of contacts?
Social Media is such a prominent way to get your marketing message out there. Why not use it at the point of registration too and allow visitors to be advocates for your event by sharing to their contacts they have registered. There are services, such as GleanIn or InGo, which use advocate marketing to increase registrations.
What tools are available to engage and encourage your exhibitors to market to their databases?
Accessing your exhibitors’ databases is key as they hold your target visitor audience. Getting access to these however isn’t possible due to GDPR regulations however you can encourage your exhibitors to push the message out by using a simple but effective solution of co-branded exhibitor web registrations pages (also known as partner marketing). Your exhibitors can email their contacts with a personalised link which displays the exhibiting company name, logo and perhaps a bit of information about them at the event – this creates instant recognition for the visitor increasing the likelihood of them registering. Why not set up a competition between exhibitors with a prize for getting the greatest number of people to register using their unique link and that attend. Nothing like healthy competition!
Are you going to send badges out pre-event or are people going to collect as they arrive?
What do you need to consider for event badging? There are many different options on the style of badges and quite a few options of getting the badges into your visitors’ hands. Consider if you want to post all the badges out pre-event, email them a PDF ticket or for attendees to collect their badges as they arrive using self-badge collection terminals or, depending on the size of your event, pre-printed badges. These are just a few options – the size and look and feel of how you want your event experience to be will affect this decision process.
How are you going to lay out the registration area on-site and do you plan to manage the registration area yourselves or have a registration company to do it for you?
On-site are there any restrictions of the venue i.e. access only the night before, limited registration space, do you need to build registration desks or are there existing ones that can be used. If existing desks, are there Perspex windows which will hinder access to the visitors/registration staff and if so, can they be removed?
Is there a clear flow on how visitors enter the venue, or do you need ropes and poles to help guide people to the correct place?
What is your expected attendance and over what period of time will people arrive? Does everyone need to arrive within the first hour for a session meaning it’s busiest first thing or is it an exhibition where people can arrive throughout the day therefore providing a more constant flow of attendees. Local transport also needs to be factored in i.e. tubes full of people arrive in bursts, so you need to deal with large volumes in waves throughout the day.
How can you make sure your exhibitors make the most of their day and come back next time?
ROI for exhibitors – exhibiting is all about networking and showcasing products and services. Giving exhibitors the option to hire barcode scanning devices allows them to simplify this process and help them remain GDPR compliant. How can you use this to your advantage as the organiser? By offering exhibitors a lead recording app you can monitor live how effective each exhibitor is capturing leads. This gives you invaluable on the floor knowledge which can be used by your sales people to help sign up for the next year or to offer advice if they aren’t preforming as well as their competitors on the stand next to them at the event.
How can you generate some additional revenue?
One way is through sponsorship opportunities – there are plenty of options available including pre-event email confirmations, badges, registration area and lanyards all possible to be sponsored, and there there are your seminar rooms, VIP rooms etc. The list is exhaustive and all help bring in extra revenue for your event.