Event Registration – Our Guide
If you’re running an event, getting people registered and through the door is critical to it’s success – and that, in a nutshell, is event registration.
No matter what your event is, your objective is likely to remain the same. Bring your target audience together at a set location on set dates.
They could be a triathlon enthusiast attending your cycling consumer event, a leading decision maker at a torque wrench company attending your manufacturing trade show, or an SEO expert getting ready to speak at your marketing conference. You want them at your event (and hopefully they want to be there), to build relationships, make deals and share ideas and knowledge.
We know there is so much to plan when putting on an event, from signing up your sponsors and exhibitors to choosing all of your suppliers.
You’re likely to have suppliers from furniture hire and stand building to electrics and AV. This page has been created to help you with one of those supplier areas… event registration.
We’ve put together the following guide (something we’ll continually update), which should hopefully answer any questions you have about event registration (and if it doesn’t, you can always get in touch).
Our ‘Ultimate Guide to Event Registration’ covers:
• Who are Jonas Event Technology?
• Who is this guide for?
• What is event registration?
• What else is needed for your registration process to be successful?
• What’s in this guide?
- Pre-Event Registration
• The event registration form
• Registration form accuracy & validation
• Demographics, segmentation and tracking
• Increasing registration quantity and quality
- Onsite Registration
• Badge types
- Event Registration Software
• Pre-registration reporting
• Onsite reporting
• Post show reporting
• Data storage
• Email marketing
• NPS survey tool
Event Registration: The Ultimate Guide – An Introduction
The ever-growing event industry, currently worth about £42 billion in the UK, hosts countless events of various shapes and sizes. Each event requires an element of planning and the use of different resources to make it a success. Our ‘Ultimate Guide to Event Registration’ aims to give you some insight into the registration processes of trade exhibitions, consumer events and conferences. Specifically, this guide focuses on Pre-Event and Onsite Registration, Reporting and Additional services such as email marketing and survey tools. We also hope that this guide will give you the information you need to organise your event as well as selecting the right registration partner for you and your event.
Who are Jonas Event Technology?
One of the most vital factors of running a successful event is the turn out. Jonas Event Technology are an award-winning event registration provider across the trade, consumer and conference market who have helped event organisers do exactly that for three decades. As the industry developed over the years, so have our software and onsite solutions. This quality to evolve and improve is what allows us to be a leading provider of event registration services.
Who is this guide for?
This guide has been created for you, the event organiser. Whether you run a one-day conference of 100 delegates or a trade or consumer show with 40,000+ visitors. Our guide will help shed some light on the multiple solutions available to streamline the registration process of your event, improve the experience of your attendees and the quality of the data collected.
Whether you are new to the industry or are a seasoned professional; this guide is full of useful information for enhancing your registration process.
So… what is event registration?
Event registration is the process of an individual entering their details to secure their attendance for your event. Registering for an event also helps the organiser inform the attendee of any details about the event and ensures that everything goes smoothly at the event check-in.
However, it is important to note that not every registered individual will turn up on the day of the event. This means that when measuring key performance indicators (KPI), the number of attendees and registered visitors should be tracked separately.
What else is needed for your registration process to be successful?
Behind every registration platform is an event marketing team working closely with your registration provider to make sure your event is successful. As will be referred to further on in this guide, every marketing team will usually have access to additional software solutions for:
- Email marketing
- Data management
- Customer insight
These tools will help the marketing campaigns surrounding your event registration platform get as many event registrations as possible whilst also handling data securely.
What’s in this guide?
For ease, our guide is broken down into sections covering Event Registration Forms, Onsite Registration, Reporting, and Additional Services and the guide will follow the visitor journey throughout each stage. We’ve structured the guide by asking a number of questions you may have. In doing this, it will not only allow for an improved understanding of registration, but it will allow for organisers to analyse their own process to improve the visitor journey and the quality of data they hold, hopefully helping to make your next event the best one yet.
As mentioned previously, registration is the process of entering details to ensure attendance at an event. This is usually done via a registration form which collects the necessary data not only to track how many visitors are scheduled to attend but also to improve your marketing campaign’s effectiveness.
The Event Registration Form
When designing your registration form, it is important to consider the content.
The layout will be the first thing your potential visitor sees when they look at your registration form, so it is good to consider a structure that is visually appealing. It is equally important to tailor your form to your event so that the registration process is seamless for prospective visitors. The last thing you need is to give your visitors the wrong impression about your event or ask for too much, probably irrelevant, information.
What features should your registration form include?
- Multiple Registration for various ticket types.
An ideal registration form should be customisable, allowing you to collect all the contact details, question responses and any payment that may be required. The ability to register multiple visitor types is a must as it increases the variety of attendees for your event, giving you a mixture of visitors, speakers or VIPs. The option to choose which ticket a visitor needs is convenient for their experience and for you and your marketers. Adding these options organises and streamlines the quality of data collected, making it easier to understand your audience and corresponding industry trends.
- Mobile Responsiveness
Lastly, another large factor to consider is mobile adaptability. The convenience of a mobile phone means that a vast majority of registration forms will most likely be completed via mobile, rather than a computer. As a result, a form that can be properly displayed on a variety of devices will be much more accessible and therefore, more successful.
Registration Form Accuracy & Validation
How can I improve the accuracy of my data collected through our registration form?
The use of mandatory fields on sections of your registration form will help to make sure that you have the basic information you need to track your events progress. This also helps to recognise if a visitor registers twice for the same event by mistake, which reduces confusion about attendance numbers.
Built-in Data Validation
Ensuring your registration form includes several data validation checks will improve the accuracy of your data. These include checking that telephone numbers are converted to the correct country selected and that emails are formatted correctly and that the domain exists. This way, anyone who tries to submit a fake email will not be able to register, which will discourage ghost registrations.
Data validation also helps sort UK postcodes by using a postcode look-up function and non-UK country’s addresses are formatted according to their own country’s requirements. This means that the data received is as organised as possible.
Demographics, Segmentation and Tracking
How can I improve our marketing campaigns using my pre-registration data?
Demographic Segmentation and Tracking
Demographic questions are a vital part of the registration process. These questions help you get as much information about your users as possible to make sure you understand who your target audience is. By tracking this information, you will be able to see any changes in your audience’s demographic so that you can customise your marketing campaigns accordingly. Unique tracking codes for your registration form are a great way of getting an in-depth view of this kind of data. It can be done either within the event registration system or a platform like Google Analytics.
Co-Branded Exhibitor Registration Pages
Advanced tracking can also be done with co-branded exhibitor registration pages. The benefit of co-branded registration pages is that they are unique and have their branding and information displayed, meaning a higher marketing exposure for the event.
Increasing Registration Quantity and Quality
How can I make the registration process easier for:
For returning customers looking to register again, a link can be sent to a pre-populated registration form with all their details already filled in. This allows your visitors to briefly check their details are correct before submitting their registration within seconds.
Visitors wanting to sign in with their social media accounts?
Social media accounts are a very convenient way of registering for events. Social media plugins, which can be built directly into your form, allow visitors to use their profile details to register. This makes the registration process much easier while also maximising your event exposure across your visitor’s social media networks.
Visitors wanting to make changes like adding an additional visitor or amending their details?
There is always the possibility that a visitor may need to make changes or additions to their registration after they have already registered. It would be inconvenient for them to start the process again so a good way of accommodating this is via the confirmation email that is automatically sent after they have registered. From there, they will be able to make changes to their completed form.
Visitors attending a show/seminar with multiple bookable events?
Certain events may have several seminars or talks ongoing throughout the day that can be booked in advance. This means that visitors would need to make sure they are registered for a specific event and if they are attending more than one that day, that there are no clashes.
A way to make this easier is to have a dedicated seminar booking planner. This way, you could set a limit for how many visitors can attend at a time as well as set up an attendance fee if applicable.
Charging Visitors to attend events?
When running an event that includes taking payments, it is vital to have a payment gateway in your registration form. Whether you use your own payment gateway or your registration providers, it will make sure that any financial transactions are stress-free and seamless. It is also a good idea to include an invoice option so that any company or organisation will be able to complete the transaction.
Lastly, a payment gateway will help you track which of the visitors have paid or have outstanding invoices. This is very useful when you need to reconcile these payments at the end of the registration process.
PDF Badges (Print at Home)
PDF Badges are becoming ever more popular with organisers because of their convenience. They allow visitors to print their badges before the event and skip the badge collection queues on arrival to the venue. After registering, an automated email is sent to the visitor with their PDF badge attached, ready for printing. It will have a barcode or a QR code along with their details that will be scanned, confirming their place at the event. Another follow up email can be sent, closer to the date of the event, to remind the visitor to bring their badge with them.
These badges come pre-printed and attached to the bottom of a letter which can then be peeled off. They add a great personal touch for the visitors and are a relatively hassle-free option. However, they are a bit more expensive than other badge options because of the postal cost but if used for a specific group of visitors like VIPs, it could be a worthwhile option.
These types of badges are a great option for smaller events since visitors can collect them on arrival without having to queue for very long or bring anything with them. Using pre-printed badges works well for events up to around 250 visitors and will also reduce the number of staff and collection booths needed.
Plastic Card ID Badges
Plastic ID cards are a more permanent and personal badge option and can include a photo of the attendee. They work particularly well for high-profile events and the fact that they are exclusively for one person means that they offer additional security.
Onsite Badge Stock
There are lots of different types of onsite badge stock available which can offer single and double-sided printing options. The single prints are the badges that slot into a badge holder or lanyard and the double-sided ones have a self-adhesive back.
When printing badges, it is important to consider the cost and efficiency of printing onsite. For instance, printing onsite in colour using laser printers is time efficient but not cost-effective. As a result, any necessary colour printing is recommended to be done prior to the event. Black and white printing, however, can be done on or offsite.
Badge holders are usually required for badges that aren’t self-adhesive or for PDF tickets. The badge holders can come in many different colours, which some organisers like to use to separate the different visitor types.
Lanyards are a convenient addition to the badging process which lets visitors hang their badges around their neck. Like badge holders, lanyards can be used to help organisers identify different visitor types clearly and scan them efficiently.
Supplying badges for exhibitors is just as important as it is for visitors. Exhibitors can enter their details on a registration form and collect or print out their badges just like a visitor would. There might be, however, a limit on how many exhibitor badges are printed so there could be a charge if additional exhibition passes are needed.
Barcode / QR Codes
Any QR or barcode that is printed on a badge will be unique to each visitor so that all the information collected will be accurate and tailored to that individual. The barcodes link directly to the details provided by the visitor which means that the scanning of attendees onsite is done quickly and efficiently.
There are a few different types of onsite terminals available for event use:
Self-service and staffed onsite registrations
Self-service terminals are an option for attendees who did not pre-register for your event and need to print and collect their badges on the day. There can also be staffed terminals for onsite registrations to help speed the process along.
This is a customer service terminal that helps visitor with any issues regarding registration such as forgetting their badge or confirmation email. With staff help, the visitor will be able to have their badge recovered and re-printed. A query desk can also help with onsite payments and vetting visitors arriving and registering onsite.
Badge collection terminals
Badge collection terminals are used for any badges that aren’t pre-printed and visitors have been sent a confirmation email to collect their badge onsite when they arrive. Their confirmation email will have a barcode that can be scanned or a reference number that can be submitted instead, which lets their badge be printed.
Exhibitor registration terminals
Exhibitors need registration terminals as much as visitors. They can access their badges onsite at the dedicated exhibitor badging terminals, separate from the visitor stations to avoid confusion if necessary.
Front of House Scanning
Since the badges are barcoded, attendees will be scanned as they enter, meaning that the entrance rate can be tracked in real-time.
If your event has multiple seminar sessions, then each attendee will need to be scanned before entering the seminar room.
By using the staff provided by your registration provider, you can free up your own internal teams’ resources. This allows them to spend time greeting and building relationships with the visitors. It is important to have enough staff overseeing and running the registration process as it can make all the difference for a smooth sailing event.
An onsite manager with years of relevant experience is one of the best ways to stay organised during events, big or small. Most registration companies should have onsite managers who are all fully trained experts in event registration, software, hardware and customer service. The manager should arrive on the day of build-up so that they can monitor the preparation of the event and that staff are caught up with their responsibilities.
Front of House Staffing
It is recommended to use front-of-house (FOH) staff during large trade shows and consumer events to manage registrations, queues and customer service queries. FOH teams are trained by the onsite manager before the event and fill them in on the registration process and set up, as mentioned above. FOH staff should offer a professional and pleasant experience to visitors by having exceptional levels of customer service. Smaller events may provide their own FOH staff made up of their own internal employees.
Event Registration Software
A consistent reporting solution that tracks all data pre, during and post-event is vital for your marketing and events team. Keeping track of this data will help at all stages of your event and will make sure your team can monitor the success rate of the event as well as areas that might need improving.
The following section will explain how reporting data can strengthen your event marketing campaigns.
Registrations can be tracked across events by using unique URLs for each marketing campaign. This can be done by email, social media or another method. This way, visitors will be able to differentiate between marketing campaigns.
Branded Affiliate Links – Co-branded Exhibitor Pages
As mentioned previously, co-branded registration pages are a great way of getting marketing exposure. Using this method for reporting data will make it easier for you as the organiser, to see which exhibitor pages had the greatest impact on your registrations.
Engagement Reporting and Abandoned Registrations
Engagement reporting is a good way of keeping track of visitors who did not complete their registration forms. By doing this before the event, you can send a follow-up email to check if they are still planning to attend the event, which can reduce the number of abandoned registrations.
Custom Reporting Solutions
A custom reporting solution that lets you access pre-built reports can help improve the success of your registration process. The ability to view reports that show complete registrations on a week-by-week basis can instantly show the progress of registrations and where your team stands goal-wise.
Reporting data as it comes in on the day of the event makes it easier for organisers to keep a tab on their progress and act on the data and improve any areas as they come up.
Below are a few examples of how onsite reporting could help you at your events.
Real-Time Attendance Reporting
The advantage of being able to report on attendance in real-time is that you are constantly aware of new data coming in, who is registered, who isn’t and who has made it to the event. Staying on top of this data means that organisers and staff can tend to the attendees who arrived at the event and welcome them. This is a particularly great method for reminding registered visitors of the event on the day in case they registered but forgot to attend.
Visitor Flow Reporting
Linking in with real-time attendance, the ability to report on the general flow of your visitors throughout your event helps your registration partner plan your registration area better. The report could show a need for a different number of terminals, the different types that may be needed and how many staff to fill them.
Exhibitor Lead Capture and Reporting
Many organisers may offer their exhibiting personnel the opportunity to purchase a lead capture device so that they can scan visitors to collect their details. Organisers can see how exhibitors are doing which is great data for your sales team who will be trying to rebook attending exhibitors for the following year. If there are exhibitors not performing as well as they should be, however, this can be discussed with them to see if they require any help.
In addition to the pre-show and real-time reports, your reporting dashboard should be sophisticated and organised so that you can see all your data clearly, especially at the end of the event. This enables you to look back at all your collected data and use them to gauge the success of your event.
Where you store all your collected data is paramount. Your data storage system should be secure and GDPR compliant. There is also the option to store your data with the registration provider as it can offer extra benefits like being able to access year-on-year reports and compare all shows using a portfolio. This way, you can apply this data years after the event for future marketing campaigns and events.
Two event marketing solutions that can be utilised for events are email and SMS. These solutions are particularly important as they provide two useful services. The first being that they can encourage visitors to be added to your mailing list so that they can be informed of future events. The second is that it can act as a reminder for already registered visitors to increase the probability of them attending.
All email marketing software should offer the basics, such as an intuitive email builder, in-depth reporting features, data upload, testing and segmentation tools. Software that can do all the above but also links with your registration forms and databases can take your marketing to the next level.
NPS Survey Tool
Naturally, there are several metrics you can use to track the success of your event but the most straightforward way is to ask your attendees through a survey. The most useful survey will be one that includes a Net Promoter Score® calculation, a globally recognised loyalty measure. The responses you get can help you gauge what worked well in your event, what can be improved and visitors’ general feedback.
Thanks for taking the time to read our ‘Ultimate Guide to Event Registration’.
We hope that we could help with your queries. Should you have any questions or would like to discuss how Jonas Event Technology can help you with your next event, talk to us.
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