Current products allow you to build a registration form in minutes — and match it to your Web site.
The latest meeting registration products represent a quantum leap from the days of the basic online registration form. Here are some features to look for when choosing these products:
A Customized Look
Current products allow you to build a registration form in minutes and make it match your Web site. Options include colors, thematic designs, and the ability to include your company or meeting logo.
Users can build registration forms for complex, multisession, multiday events.
Housing lists can include multiple hotels with room-block management.
Session capacities and wait lists can be monitored and automatically capped.
Multiple customizable fields can be included.
Registrants can edit or even cancel their registration online up to a specified cutoff date.
Some products offer the ability for group signup, where one person can enroll multiple people without filling out a separate form for each person.
a single online database for all registration, tracking, communication, and reporting tasks;
user-selected required fields and drop-down registration fields; and
the ability to fill in registration forms for attendees already in your database.
Communication and e-Marketing
Personalized communication — E-mail is addressed to the potential registrant by first or last name.
Automatic e-mail confirmation — A message is immediately sent summarizing the transaction and giving the registrant the option to edit the request.
Automated response tracking — Many products will track e-mail message receipt and opening.
Reminders and changes — Automated announcements can be sent for deadlines or program changes.
Look for standardized reports that can be queried at any time from any location by anyone with password access. These typically include registration counts, attendee lists, session counts, name badges, arrival/departure manifests, room reservation details, registrant history, etc. Some can build custom reports and sort for nearly any field collected.
Recent hack attacks at Microsoft and meeting events have emphasized the critical need for data security. Online registration products often offer advantages over an internally hosted online registration system. They are commonly hosted on server farms (networked servers housed in one location) with a full-time staff devoted to system integrity and security, data mirroring, and regular system backups. They also have strong firewalls and virus protection capabilities.
Corbin Ball, CMP, a speaker, consultant, and writer on events and meeting technology, has 20 years' experience running international citywide meetings, and helps clients use technology to save time and improve productivity. Contact him at www.corbinball.com.
Some of the newer registration products: