Friday, 26 June 2009

Why online registration pays. By Colin Pauley

There’s no going back. It’s inescapable. Our lives and our businesses are shaped by the internet and it will only become ever more so.

The reality for event organisers is that fully embracing web technology is no longer an option - it is an urgent requirement. Naturally some are still a little nervous about changing from paper based to online methods, and some are wary that their event attendees will be equally as cautious about online registration and ticket payment.

It’s clear though that at some point every event organiser will have no choice but to join the online revolution. Not doing so is increasing the risk of becoming uncompetitive, of creating attendee dissatisfaction and of rapidly eroding event margins.

So what are the key online advantages for the event organiser?

1. Boost attendance and revenue

On average event organisers report a 20% increase in attendee numbers when they offer an online registration and payment facility.

Attendees are much more likely to take action and to register and pay straight away if they are presented with just an online option. They are more likely to postpone their decision to sign up if they have to confirm and pay by phone or post.
Plus built-in functionality boosts attendees’ commitment to the event. Making the most of automated personalised emails and click-to-confirm email reminders reduce drop-out rates and ensure a fuller house.

2. Slash costs

End to end online registration, payment processing and attendee management systems dramatically streamline the labour intensive processes involved in running and managing an event – generally saving 50% off of the traditional costs.
Organisers significantly reduce the cost per attendee by creating greater efficiency such as; reducing keying errors, spending less time on account reconciliation, experiencing fewer on-site attendee problems, minimising postage, printing, labour and telephone costs.

3. Tight attendee management

Most online event registration systems come with reporting functions. They’re great for keeping a really close eye on your event and delegates. And because the reporting is in ‘real time’, there’s no lag – you always get an accurate picture of your event.

Plus they’re really easy to use. You can export data to Excel, Word, Access and other formats, which comes in really handy when you want to create attendee badges and delegate lists etc.

4. Up-to-the minute financials

Forget calculators. And spreadsheets. Online event registration systems put an end to worrying about one of the worst aspects of event organising – collecting the money.

The smart systems come with a built-in secure payment function for processing debit and credit cards. Organisers can take bookings, issue any refunds if required, and conduct a number of other transactions.

Because all payments are taken using one system, you get up-to-the minute figures on essential info like the number of tickets sold, which promotional discounts are working well, and how many group bookings have been taken etc. You can also immediately see what breakout sessions have sold out and whether you need to add extra workshops.

5. Increases customer retention

Happy delegates come back. It’s that simple. Plus they’re far more likely to recommend the event to their friends and colleagues. Get the event wrong and you pay the price. Disappointed delegates waste no time spreading news of a poorly run event.

This means making sure all event management and marketing is as tight as a drum. There’s no room for mistakes. An admin error might seem small but to an attendee it can really rankle. For example, a typo on a name badge may be only one letter out, but it’s still sloppy. And it implies the organiser cares more about the numbers than the individuals.

That’s why smart organisers don’t take any chances. They use online event registration systems, which put the delegate in total control of their info. Which means nothing falls through the cracks. And no-one gets upset.

In conclusion the online payback is worth it – The top and bottom line numbers improve. Your event process becomes more efficient and your attendees are impressed by a better all round experience. As an event organiser it’s not something you should think about. It is something that you should make happen. As soon as you can.


  1. Great Blog, I agree with you.Please keep at your good work, I would come back often.

  2. Thanks for the post, I've been looking into Secure Payment Processing systems for awhile now.