Whether you’re staging a 150-booth trade show or an intimate consumer event for 20 high-income influentials the one thing you need is a smart registration system. Registration software options can do everything from email marketing to managing payment records and travel arrangements. So which registration system is best for you? Give Google a break. We checked them out. Game on.
Price: Pay as you go. Approximately $3.50 per
How it works: RegOnline is a do-it-yourself web-based system—there’s no software to buy or install and the company offers free training programs. You use the program’s “event builder” tabs to customize your registration form based on how much information you need from registrants (you can ask an unlimited number of questions) and you can tailor the form’s layout with your brand’s colors logo and images.
The form also can be linked to your web site and email marketing materials. The program’s automated email features allow you to customize follow-up messages to attendees with links to receipts invoices a calendar and directions. RegOnline automates credit card processing confirmation and reminder emails immediately following a customer’s registration. Bonus: Attendees can change update or cancel their registration status using the system instead of having to call you.
Real-time reporting options available for free can supply information on number of attendees and custom field responses; you also can cross-report with past events. The program can also create management charts and graphs directly from your reports. Note: This is an online-only solution so the company does not provide on-site support.
• Video spokesperson: A pop-up video that welcomes registrants and reminds them that registering online is safe and easy can be turned on or off. RegOnline says events that have used the feature during a test saw registration increase by 11 percent.
• Incomplete form notification: If someone doesn’t complete a registration RegOnline can automatically generate an email notifying the attendee. Those messages also can include promotional information to get them to sign up again.
• Smartlinks: Each report you create has an automatically updated web address that can easily be sent to the venue hotel caterer speakers and clients so you can keep them updated on registration statistics.
Custom Registration (customreg.com)
Price: Sliding depending on show size. Setup fees average $2 000. Total averages about $10 000 which includes the cost of badges and on-site equipment and personnel.
How it works: You provide your event info and Custom Reg produces a registration system customized for you. The setup takes an average of five days. Once attendees complete registration they receive confirmation automatically and Custom Reg charges them directly.
The “show manager” feature can run real-time reports check daily activity or allow you to search a particular record. The database-style program allows you to see reports on how attendees registered (web fax mail) payment method price point demographic and geographic data and more.
Custom Reg sends an account manager and several staff members to your event; they’ll supply computers printers and payment processing equipment set up your network and supervise the on-site process from badging to distributing bags and registration materials.
• Lead retrieval and session tracking: Optional scanners (available for rent from Custom Reg) can read bar codes on attendees’ badges in session rooms and exhibit halls so you can track who attended what—and exhibitors can obtain info on potential customers.
• No equipment rental: Custom Reg staff brings equipment to the event and handles all setup meaning you don’t have to worry about faulty printers or temperamental Internet connections.
• Options for smaller events: Custom Reg is planning a summer launch for its Show Manager 2.0 targeted at smaller events. The user can set up a web account and start taking registrations within a couple of hours. Pricing is expected to start at $500 plus $1 for each additional transaction. A one-time purchase will allow you to create registration systems for an unlimited number of events.
Price: Startup fees begin at $850 per year. $3 to $7 per registrant (based on functionality) with discounts for high attendance volume
How it works: CVent is a web-based software management system that takes a hybrid approach to registration combining elements of do-it-yourself templates and customized features. Setup is relatively simple: Input your contact list set the date and time of the event and select an invitation from the 100-plus available templates. For new customers CVent customer service staff builds the system at no additional charge. (CVent also offers training if you’d prefer to set up the system yourself and free unlimited customer support.) The system will automatically email invitations confirmations and reminders; collect registrants’ data; obtain and process payments; and set up travel and lodging info. Other core functions include pre- and post-event surveys email marketing and event budgeting and reporting. Other options include enterprise functionality that integrates the CVent program with your back-office system as well as cross-event reporting so you can compare events in terms of profitability and expenses over time.
• Event budget module: This function helps planners track their spending across their events. Detailed reports that show existing vendor relationships and past spending let event managers negotiate pricing with hotels and vendors.
• Travel and housing module: This passkey system allows planners to manage hotel room blocks so you can assign specific rooms to attendees. The “Clickbooks” feature allows attendees to book flights during the registration process making travel arrangements easy.
• Customized options: Multiple-path registration options allow registrants to sign up for specific sessions they want to attend. You can customize invitations with special offers discounts and options for various types of attendees (members and non-members VIPs exhibitors and sponsors). In addition if you offer continuing education credits or a certification program CVent can track credits.
Price: Less than $5 000. Includes on-site equipment and personnel charges
How it works: Orion custom-builds web and on-site registration programs. With your input on event details and what info is required from attendees the company will build a customized registration system from the ground up. Orion can process registration from mail phone fax email and web. Controls may be added to limit capacity or restrict registration based on a specific credential promotion code or demographic. The system also processes credit card and check payments and creates weekly or daily reports of new registrants. Orion brings its equipment—including computers networked credential producers printers and scanners—to the event.
Orion offers continuing education tracking and lead retrieval with bar codes and supports RFID and magnetic stripe cards for these services. Its scanners can help manage attendance continuing education credits and security verification applications.
• Badge options: The system can send badges and personalized letters and agendas to pre-registered attendees. Badges are created with color logos and can be customized with ID for a badge sponsor if appropriate.
• Design duplication: Orion can match your registration form to the look and feel of your web site which the company says can help ease registrants’ concerns about Internet identity theft.
• Code ownership: The price for the construction of the registration form includes code ownership which allows you to change the registration form web site on your own without incurring additional fees so the site can be used for multiple events.