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. Products on the market today allow you to build a registration form in minutes and make it match your Web site. Options include colors, thematic designs, and even the ability to include your company or meeting logo.

Here are some features to look for when choosing these products:

Robust Features

  • Users can build registration forms for complex, multisession, multiday events. Multiple customizable fields can be included.

  • Multiple registration options (e.g., members, non-members, speakers, exhibitors) can be handled, each with their own set of pricing and registration rules.

  • Breakout sessions can have individual pricing.

  • Session capacities and wait lists can be monitored and automatically capped.

  • Registrants can edit or even cancel their registration online up to a specified cutoff date.

  • Some products offer the ability for group sign-up, where one person can enroll multiple people without filling out a separate form for each person.

  • Housing lists can include multiple hotels with room-block management.



Data Handling

Look for these features:

  • A single online database for all registration, tracking, communication, and reporting tasks

  • User-selected required fields and drop-down registration fields

  • 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 either 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.

  • Multiple media — Some of the registration products provide fax blasts and postcards as alternate methods of communication.

  • Automated surveying and registration demographics: You can ask questions in the registration process to capture demographic data, which will be automatically tallied and tracked.



Reporting

Look for standardized reports that can be queried from any location by anyone with a password. Typically, these 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 any field.

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 have strong firewalls and virus protection capabilities as well.




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.

Take Out

Some of the current registration products available:

b-there.com (www.b-there.com)
cvent (www.cvent.com)
Event411 (www.event411.com)
Regweb (www.regweb.com)
SeeUThere(www.seeuthere.com)
123SignUp (www.123signup.com)