Technological advances have transformed the way people live their lives. As a result, there has been a surge in technologies that help streamline businesses and speed up processes. Online registration systems are among the most popular of these technologies.
What is an online registration system?
An online registration system is a web application that allows customers to sign up for events by providing some personal information, typically including name, email address, and phone number.
What are the benefits of an online registration system?
Here are some key benefits of using an online registration system:
– Decrease costs associated with paper forms
– Decrease costs associated with printing or shipping physical materials
– Decreases administrative time spent processing registration forms (which can be assigned to more productive tasks)
– Increases the number of people that may attend an event due to earlier sign-up dates for low-cost/free events, and shortened deadlines due to early sign-up dates for paid events.
So, how do you choose the best online registration system for your business?
Here are some key factors you should consider when choosing an online registration system:
1. What type of event will you be hosting?
There are two types of events that an online registration system is typically used for: free or paid. If you’re hosting a free event, then the primary goal is to attract as many people as possible and keep administrative costs low. You can take advantage of free registration forms available online to gather the event information you need. Generally, these systems will allow you to collect basic information and include a sign-up date and deadline for the event.
If your event requires payment to attend, then there are additional considerations that must be made:
– How much does it cost?
– How long will registration remain open?
– Will you be providing discounts or extras for early sign-ups?
– How will you handle registrations that come in after the deadline?
2. What are your hosting needs?
Online registration systems can be broken up into two categories: hosted and self-hosted. A hosted system requires you to have an account on a third-party website, such as Eventbrite or Register.com. A self-hosted system allows you to install the registration form on your own website.
Both options have their advantages and disadvantages:
– Hosted systems typically have a larger customer base and more event management features so it is easier to find help if you need it.
– Self-hosted systems are usually less expensive, but you may need to rely on customer service for any help with the software or to find an available developer if you need programming assistance.
3. How much control do you want over your event information?
Once customers sign up for events using the online registration system, the information they provide is automatically added to a site that you (the administrator) can log into and manage. If you want more control over this process, then you should look for an online registration software that allows you access to the data as soon as someone signs up for your event.
If not, the system will collect the sign-up information and only make the data available on a scheduled date.
4. How many events will you need to manage?
Some online registration systems limit the number of events that you can manage on your account, while others allow you to use your account on as many sites as needed. Consider how many events you expect to host this year and ask which package your vendor offers.
5. How much can you afford to spend?
While it may feel like the free option is the best way to go, you must consider how much value an online registration system will add to your event in order for that cost savings to be worth it. In addition to the initial purchase price, there are usually monthly or yearly maintenance fees that should be considered. If you do not have a budget for the system, then you should ask if payment plans are available.
6. What features are important to you?
Look for an online registration system that allows customers to easily browse your events and sign up, while also keeping track of where customers are in the registration process. You should also look for a system that allows you to accept multiple payment options, such as cash, check, or PayPal. And finally, consider how important it is to be able to export your event information into an Excel file.
7. Is the security of customer data a concern?
When choosing an online registration system you should always look for secure options. A system that is hosted on your own website is more secure than one that requires you to create an account on another site (always check the security page). You should also verify how long the company keeps customer data after registering them for your event.
8. Do you need additional features?
If there are certain features that you think will be beneficial to your registration process then look for an online event registration system that offers them. When considering whether or not a certain feature would benefit your event, you should discuss it with your members and ask if they would like to see you add it.
9. Who will be managing customer data?
If you are paying an outside company to host your registration system then you probably do not have the resources to assign someone internally. Ask if customer service is available, what their security measures are, and how they keep customers’ data confidential.
10. Is the system mobile-friendly?
As mobile devices continue to gain in popularity, you should look for an online registration system that is mobile-friendly on both smartphones and tablets. If your customers visit your site from a mobile device on the day of the event, then they should be able to easily access all information without any problems.
With so many online registration systems available, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your event. Use these factors as a guide and you will be able to find the best system for hosting your next event.