Tag: Event Registration

Infographic: How to Choose the Right Event Tech Partner

If you manage events, it’s safe to say you use some form of technology that helps you get the job done – from simple spreadsheets and registration tools to more sophisticated tools like apps and event management software.  You may want to invest in something new but the choice is limitless with hundreds of companies offering you different ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs, engage attendees and drive value to your events.  So how do you decide which solution works best for you?

How do you make sure that all those marketing promises you hear at vendor presentations are backed up with facts that matter to you, your organisation – and your delegates too?

For example, your event tech partner should not only understand what makes your attendees happy but apply this customer-oriented model in every aspect of their operations – from product development to account management, training and support. It is important to assess the quality of these services too. What types of training and onboarding services are available to you? Are there any hidden costs? What kind of pitfalls do clients face when moving from one system to another? Asking these kind of questions will help get an idea on how difficult the technology is to use or how much training your team may need.

Related article: 8 steps to take when choosing event management software

For a high-level checklist on all the important things you should go through when meeting different event tech vendors, have a look at the infographic below:


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8 Tips To Choosing Event Management Software

The impact of technology on events is huge and though it can make jobs easier, it can also cause complications.  It’s important therefore to choose an event management solution that makes sense for your events. But with hundreds of companies offering you different ways of cutting costs and driving value for your events and attendees, how do you make the right choice? How do you manage the tender process when shortlisting potential providers?

Have a look at the eight fundamental steps you need to take to help you make the right decision for your organisation:

Step #1: Answer the Fundamental Question – Why Do You Need to Change?

The first question that you need to answer is why. Why do you need to change? If there is nothing wrong with your existing solution do you really need to change? It can be easy to become distracted by all the latest bells and whistles but you cannot afford to be tempted by them. Unless of course the benefits they are likely to bring will significantly impact your results.

Maybe the software no longer meets your expectations, maybe the support service isn’t reliable, or maybe your event needs have changed and you are looking for functionality that your existing provider cannot support.

It is vital that you understand the drive behind the change and the reasons to undertake a process such as this.

Step #2: Decide Who Needs to Be Involved in the Project  

Having decided that you do need to change, now is the time to gather all the people that need to be involved in the tender process. You need to have people on-board right from the start as this will alleviate problems of gripes and grumbles.

The clearer you are about what you want to achieve, the more you will be able to identify who needs to be involved in the project.  As well as your finance, IT and procurement teams, who else needs to be involved?  You have to understand what functionality you want and what makes sense and get the right team members involved.

The other important factor is good communication with all team members throughout the duration of the tender process. This involves ensuring that there is ‘buy in’ for your project from everyone involved; from the executives in the different departments within your organisation to the techies who will be carrying out the roll out of the project and the events team whose work will be using the system on a daily basis. Everyone needs to understand what it is you are trying to achieve and why. You will be in a better position to identify potential problems and avoid last-minute surprises.

Read: 3 Ways to Help Your Team Adopt New Event Technology

Step #3: Do Your Market Research

Now it is time to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work of finding out what is available. There are after all, many options in the market.

The event tech market has matured over the last few years.  Have a look at guides for event management software (ex. The Good Event Management Software Guide from EventMB) where you can see a quick shortlist of key features. You need to go from hundreds of suppliers to say just ten.

Read articles in the trade press, go to tradeshows and investigate testimonials. As much as looking at the product you will also need a sense of the company culture as well.

You have probably spoken to the suppliers’ sales people, made enquiries and looked at product videos.  From this you will have gathered a first impression. What is your instinct telling you about the supplier? Remember first impressions count.  Who made it on your list?

After this process, you should finally have a list of ten providers (or whatever number you decided on – this is your long list).  From your long list you can now move to the next step.

Step #4: Shortlist Your Suppliers

From your long list you will need to make a shorter list of around three suppliers, which you will do a lot of assessment work with.

These are the suppliers who you will involve in the tender process. You need to look into key reasons why you shouldn’t start a conversation with some suppliers. This may seem counter intuitive but it is important to keep examining where the potential problems with them could be.

Look at things that really matter for you. This could include:

1) Data security & compliance

2) Delivery of support services

3) Speed of support

4) Integration capabilities (APIs etc)

Of course, it is up to you to determine the key criteria that is right for your organisation.

Following this exercise, you should have your shortlist of three suppliers.


Is your event management software ready for GDPR? Get your eBook: ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance’, and learn what impact Europe’s new data protection regulation will have on event marketing, data management and event technology – as well as what steps to take to get ready for the May 2018 deadline.


Step #5: Take an Objective Approach

At this point the management of the tender process should be handed over to an outside person (ex. procurement manager) and you contribute to that as a subject matter expert.

Procurement managers are good at keeping distance.  If you do not have one, then work with someone quite closely who can help you remain objective.  Get someone else involved, talk your thinking through. Make sure you cover everything: security, culture of your organisation, budget and functionality.  Continuously make notes.

Set up a number of tender criteria and rate the supplier. Functionality may be the most important factor (so 30-40% of score come from that).  Money could be the next biggest issue, say 30% of the overall. Then you need to rate for other aspects such as data security, compliance, support, SLAs, hosting etc.  This scoring system will help you narrow down your choice to two suppliers.

You may have a preferred supplier at this point in your head.  It might be self-fulfilling prophecy where you like an organisation more than the other two. This can impact your views and that is why it is crucial to remain objective.

Ask the suppliers to address functional scenarios to show how their software works. Create meaningful situations. What are the common problems areas around events? How does their solution help you solve your problem?

At the end of this stage, you want one or two suppliers left.

Step #6:  Test the Working Models

It is essential that you see and test the working models that the suppliers have put together for you. Have a think about who needs to be involved at this stage. Clearly you will need some users in at the meeting to raise any issues but also for them to get used to a different system.

It is imperative that you record any changes needed as you are getting ever closer to making your decision on the supplier to go with. You want to make sure that everything that was previously discussed will actually work.

Be honest with your suppliers. Explain that you in the proof of concept stage with another supplier too.  This is when it becomes very real. This is the last chance for the supplier to really prove what they have said and show how interested they are in getting the right solution for your organisation.

Read: Why Onboarding is Critical When Investing in Event Tech

Step #7:  Evaluate your Service Expectations 

Service expectations will be hard to evaluate as so far no service has been provided. But service is a critical factor and you will need to make an assessment based on your teams’ experience of dealing with the supplier(s) to this point.

Do they really understand what your organisation needs?  Are they actively listening?  Are they just doing a sales job or are they trying to help provide a solution that is right for your events.

Ask yourself can you work with this supplier?  Are there any communications problems?  Check the compatibility of your working relationship as well as the functionality of the solution.

And of course ask to speak direct to customers of the supplier to find out how their experiences have been.

After that well you need to make your choice and then move to contracting.

Step #8: Get the Contract Right

Getting the contract right is the final last step and it is such an important one. This is the stage when people fully commit.  The Legal team have to sign off contract.  Your IT team might sign off IT security and support arrangements.  Your Finance team need to sign off.  This part can take some management.  It’s a small stage in terms of time, it’s big in terms of consequence. If you’ve done the process right up until this point, you should go through it quickly.

Allow plenty of time for the contract to be reviewed. Allow enough time for the back and forth as you can be sure there will be plenty of it. A legal person will comb through every statement. Allow time for this.

Summary

There you have our right steps to help you in choosing the best event management software for your organisation. Do not rush the process, remain objective and involve the right people and you will find it goes a lot smoother than you thought possible.

Choosing event management software is rarely a simple process! Find out how Eventsforce can maximise your technology investment through a personalised ‘partnership’ approach that covers onboarding, training, dedicated account management, support and a customer-led software development programme. Learn more by getting in touch here.

How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway for Your Events

So you’ve taken the decision to charge people attending your events. You need a payment gateway that will allow you to process payments on your event website but aren’t sure where to start. Or perhaps you are hosting an international event and the payment gateway you are currently using doesn’t support the currency of the country many of your delegates are coming from. Or maybe you’re just not happy with your current provider and would like to make a change.

There are many different options for you to choose from when looking at payment gateways. The big names include the likes of Sage Pay, Worldpay, PayPal and Stripe but there are dozens of possibilities out there. So how do you know which is the best fit for your organisation?  The decision, more often than not, is something that is usually headed up by finance teams.  It is worth noting, however, that there are a number of important factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing a payment method around your events. And the role of the event planner is key to ensure these requirements are met.

Have a look below at some of the top things you need to think about when selecting a payment gateway around your events:

1. Is Your Organisation Already Using a Payment Gateway?

The first thing to do is to find out if your organisation is already using a particular payment gateway for other parts of the business.  You may be required to use the same one as part of your company policy. Payment gateways can take time to set up and will be subject to security checks and audits from your bank. There may also be different levels of bureaucracy and hierarchy regarding approvals within your own organisation.  Going through this timely (often complex) process may not be worthwhile if there is already an existing deal with a gateway that your organisation is happy with.

Payment gateways aren’t the only thing you need to think about. You also have to think about the merchant accounts, which is essentially where your attendee payments go into (different from your regular business accounts). Some payment gateway providers offer just a payment gateway and require you to have your own merchant account. Other payment providers such as PayPal offer a combined payment gateway and merchant account. What you decide on really depends on what kind of existing arrangements your organisation may already have in place.

2. Can the Payment Gateway Be Used with Your Registration System?

The next thing would be to check which payment gateways are supported by your current registration or event management software.  This can significantly narrow down your choices. Choosing one that already integrates with the system makes it a lot more convenient and saves you time – it also means you may not have to spend additional money on development time.  Ask your event tech provider what they recommend – they have a lot of experience in this and can provide good advice on which gateways are better suited for certain types of events.

Like we mentioned above, your organisation may want you to work with a specific gateway solution.  In which case, you will have to work with your event tech provider in building the right type of integration between the two systems in exchange for a fee. Each gateway solution has different versions of the product – with different features and functionalities. Bear in mind that each one of these will have their own type of integration. For example, your organisation may use the ‘Worldpay Corporate’ integration, but your event software may only support ‘Worldpay Business’. Again, this will require additional investment in development time, so make sure you factor all these things in when making a decision.


Are your events ready for GDPR?  Get your copy of ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance’, and learn what impact Europe’s new data protection regulation will have on event marketing, data management and event technology – as well as what steps to take NOW to get ready for the May 2018 deadline.


3. How Does Your Event Management/Registration System Manage Payments?

The other thing you need to take into account is how your registration systems takes payments details from your event attendees.  There are two options here.  Does your system support non-hosted payment payment gateways? This is when your attendees are able to enter their card details without leaving your event website. Though it is the smoothest check out experience for your attendees, it is also the least secure. To take payments onsite you typically need an SSL certificate and you will also have to comply with PCI-DSS requirements. It’s worth taking a look at this article that gives good information on PCI-DSS compliance and what it means when dealing with delegate card payments. The fines for non-compliance can be hefty!

The alternative is to use a hosted payment gateway which redirects users to a ‘hosted’ payment page.  Once a payment has been made then your attendee will be returned to your website and the payment will be confirmed. It will likely be the case that your event tech provider may only support these ‘hosted’ payment gateways so that they don’t have to take responsibility for PCI-DSS compliance.

4. How Quickly Do You Need It Up and Running?

Setting up a merchant account and payment gateway can typically take anywhere around 3-4 weeks – although providers like PayPal and Stripe let you sign up without a merchant account so you can get started straight away. On the other hand, set up can also be a long and complex process – particularly if you’re a new or ‘high-risk’ business.  For example, banks can sometimes be reluctant to approve merchant accounts to event organisations because of the ‘interval’ between the time delegates make a payment and the event itself. In which case, you may be requested to provide detailed application forms so that the bank gets a better understanding of your business.  This isn’t a big issue but you need to bear it in mind and find a gateway that can support your specific needs, as well as meet your event deadlines.

5. Don’t Forget About Your Cash Flow

Once a delegate payment has been processed, it typically takes a few days for that payment to be settled into your bank account.  However, these payment timings can vary significantly from one provider to another. Gateways that are also merchant accounts generally sit on your money for a lot longer. This can slow down your cash flow and has a real impact on small businesses (think about the payments you need to make to venues, caterers and other suppliers).  Other providers on the other hand can settle your funds as quickly as the next day, while some may also only pay out funds on set days. Ideally, look for a provider that pays out every day.

6. The Kind of Events You Run Will Determine the Fees

The fees you pay for the payment gateway and merchant accounts can include monthly fees, fixed fees per transaction (whatever you are charging attendees for), variable fees based on a percentage of transactions, as well as other fees for things like payments from international cards.  So an organisation running one major international event can have complete different requirements to one that hosts several local events with a greater number of attendees.

Make sure you get a good overview of fees and ask to see a full schedule of charges before committing to one provider. Don’t forget some payment providers (not all) have been known to lock organisations into lengthy contracts – so make sure you understand what you’re signing up for.

7. Do You Need to Support Multiple Currencies for Your International Delegates?

If you are hosting events across different countries and need to take international payments or have a large number of international delegates – you should check whether the payment gateway offers international and multi-currency payments or even an interface with multiple languages. The APAC region, for example, only accepts payments through specific gateways and some global systems like Worldpay aren’t actually accepted all over the world. You should also check whether there are any additional fees for accepting multi-currency payments or payments from other countries and whether you will need to have a merchant account in a specific country.

8. Your Events Can’t Afford Downtime.  How Important is Reputation?

The short answer is very.  If you are processing payments from your attendees, you’ll want to work with a provider who has a good reputation in the industry and one that won’t let you down if things go wrong. Some payment gateways have had problems with outages and others have blocked merchants’ money unexpectedly without cause. Look at providers who take PCI-DSS compliance seriously and who provide a good level of support.  Find out how responsive their support service is, where their support team is based and whether or not they work the same hours as you. Do you need to pay extra for this support? Be sure you to do your research thoroughly before signing up with one.  Read reviews and get recommendations from organisations you can trust and use comparison sites which highlight the key features of each gateway.

Eventsforce offers quick and easy integrations with a number of major payment gateway providers, including Sage Pay, Worldpay, PayPal and many others.  If you’d like to have a chat about which gateway is best for your events, please get in touch here.


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New eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance

The events industry needs to pay attention to Europe’s changing data protection laws or prepare to face the consequences.  A new eBook by Eventsforce, titled The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance, explains why the events industry has to start taking responsibility for the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), its impact on event marketing, data management and event technology and what steps event planners need to take now to get ready for the May 2018 deadline.


How ready is the events industry for GDPR?  Find out what other event planners are doing by taking part in this 2-minute survey and a chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher!


Why Is GDPR Compliance Responsibility of Event Planners?

GDPR will come into effect on 25th May 2018 and will apply to any organisation that collects and processes personal data on European citizens or residents. So, if you are hosting events in Europe or your attendees are European citizens (regardless of where your events take place), then the new regulation will apply to you.  And if you’re using some kind of event management or registration software that helps you capture and process the data around your events, then GDPR will apply to your technology providers too – even if they’re based outside the EU.

Is it a big deal?  Yes, because GDPR is going to change the way you collect and process personal data through things like registration forms and mobile apps. It’s going to impact how you use that data for marketing and personalisation. It’s also going to impact the measures you have in place to keep that data safe. And though you’ll be right in thinking that compliance is something that will be dealt with by your IT, legal, operations or marketing teams, the reality is that the responsibility for the new regulation does not stop there.  And that is because many of the things event planners do today can put their organisations under serious financial risk with GDPR:

  • Using pre-ticked consent boxes and vague opt-outs within registration forms and apps
  • Not having the proper processes and systems in place that store consent
  • Not being able to access or delete the data you hold on people – quickly, at no cost
  • Sharing delegate lists freely with venues, speakers and other attendees
  • Not paying attention to the data freelancers and temp staff have access to
  • Emailing unsecure spreadsheets & leaving unattended registration lists on-site

The consequences of these actions are huge compared to current data protection regulations, especially if the data gets into the wrong hands. And though people aren’t fully aware of their rights yet, they will be.  And once they are, the enquiries will start to come.  As will the lawsuits.  It is therefore important that event planners understand exactly what they should and shouldn’t do under GDPR – so that they can then figure out what changes they need to make around collecting and managing the personal information of people that come to their events.

eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance

GDPR presents some big challenges to the events industry, but it also brings some big opportunities too. The ‘Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance’ eBook gives a simple overview of what GDPR actually means for event planners, what changes it will bring about compared to current regulations, the rights of attendees, the risks of non-compliance and the consequences of BREXIT.

It also provides insight on how GDPR will impact event marketing, data security and event technology, as well a step-by-step guide on what event planners need to do now to meet the May 2018 deadline.  Highlights include:

Event Marketing Under GDPR – One of the major changes for event planners with regards to GDPR compliance will be the conditions of consent – this will have a profound effect on the way we currently use personal information to build mailing lists and push the marketing activities we do around events.  The eBook covers the topic through a Q&A that provides answers from experts on some of the most common questions event marketers have about GDPR.

Data Security Under GDPRData security is another issue that becomes more of a priority under GDPR.  Organisations will have to show that they’re doing their best to protect the personal information of individuals to minimise the chances of it getting into the wrong hands. The eBook exposes a number of important vulnerability areas that event planners should be putting greater attention to and what they need to do in the case of a data breach.

Event Technology Under GDPR – GDPR regulations require compliance both by the company hosting an event and by the event tech companies that process data on their behalf (ex. registration systems, mobile apps, surveys, networking tools etc.). The eBook explains why event planners dealing with non-compliant vendors can pose a big financial risk to their organisations.  It also outlines the important questions planners need to ask tech suppliers to ensure they’re fulfilling their legal obligations.

What Steps to Take to Prepare for GDPR – A simple nine-point checklist which highlights the key steps event planners need to take to prepare for GDPR, based on advice published by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Highlights include how to create awareness about the new regulation across your team, how to run a data audit to assess what needs to be done with all the personal data your systems hold on people, as well as guidance on managing consent boxes within forms.

The eBook also highlights the opportunities that GDPR brings to the events industry.  It looks at how compliance will give organisations the chance to show that they’re dealing with personal data in a transparent and secure way.  This will help them build a new level of trust with attendees and customers, which will be key in deciding which organisations people choose to deal with in the future.

To get a FREE copy of the ‘Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance’ eBook, please click here.

To learn more about Eventsforce and how it can help events with GDPR compliance, please contact one of our team at gdpr@eventsforce.com


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Industry Insight: How Tech Is Changing Event Planning for Businesses

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Smart technology is transforming the events industry, making planning easier and events more exciting – even for small businesses.  George Sirius, CEO of Eventsforce, explains in an interview with events and meetings guide, EventFULL, how organisations can use technology to engage with attendees and why real-time feedback is changing the way we run events.

“Only a few years ago, the idea of speaking into a device and it carrying out your commands was nothing more than science fiction.  But the rapid development of technology has seen products such as Google Home – a voice-activated speaker powered by the voice-activated Alexa – hit the consumer market. And these devices may be about to change the events industry for good.”

He explains how recent advances in technology have already dramatically changed the way we plan and run events:

“Organising an event is a logistical nightmare and one of the biggest developments is software to assist with tasks such as registration and email responses. The second is around the collection and analysis of data.  There’s lots of data that can be analysed to better understand an event – the demographics, attendance levels, feedback and so on – and there is now software that can help do all that effectively.”


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Real-time feedback is also changing the industry.  The technology, says Sirius, is extremely innovative. Event speakers, for example, can now receive real-time feedback from audiences, which means they are able to change the way the session is going, if necessary.

Another application of real-time technology tools are on-site apps. Knowing exactly who turned up at your event and what sessions they attended is something every event planner wants to know. The information helps figure out popular topics and sessions. It also helps profile attendees.

“Real-time tools like the Eventsforce on-site app are allowing event organisers to have instant access to this kind of information at the event itself, which can be incredibly useful. So, the app can tell you how 30 people have already checked-in to one of your sessions and that another 10 are expected to show up. It also shows that the room capacity for that particular session is 50 people.  You can use all this information to encourage more people to attend the session by promoting it through digital signage, social media or direct notifications though the event app.”

Event planners are also using technology to engage with attendees in different ways. Event personalisation, says Sirius, is a hugely exciting development. Data capture tools – from event registration systems and RFID to online surveys and event apps – are helping organisations collect valuable information on their attendees which can be analysed to create more powerful and customised event experiences.

“It’s great because it’s a way of showing attendees the aspects of the event that are relevant to them, whether that’s sessions that may be of particular interest to them or specific attendees they may be keen to meet.”

Take the registration process, as an example. You can use the data in the system to collate a report on all the delegates attending a particular session at an event.  You may share this list with all the other delegates attending that session to facilitate networking opportunities that are relevant to them.  You can break it down by company type, interests and goals and share the list with your session speaker.  He or she can then use this information to tweak the content of their presentation or personalise it with content or examples that are more relevant to the audience.

“Personalised experiences like this are becoming more and more popular in our industry with attendees increasingly expecting both the communication about an event and the live experience to be tailored to them in some way. Technology makes this level of personalisation possible, which drives loyalty and makes events a lot more successful.”

But what about the cost?  For smaller firms, it’s about understanding the value of a long-term investment.

“Don’t try and buy everything that’s on offer.  Work out exactly what you need for your business.  Event planners, especially in smaller organisations, are bombarded with all kinds of technology solutions.  Figure out why you want the technology and then find a technology partner that can help you implement it – someone who understands how the technology can support your business and can work alongside you through the whole process.”

Looking to the future, Sirius is excited about the impact of drones on events.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how they will get used at events. Think about having the ability to track where people move in an exhibition area or trade show.  Or having the ability to broadcast live all the things happening on the show floor. It’s very exciting.”


If you would like to learn more about what Eventsforce has to offer, take a look at a few other blog posts listed below or get in contact with our friendly team here.

Call us on 0207 785 6997 or tweet us @eventsforce.

 

 

 

 

12 Tips to Nail Your Attendees’ Registration Experience

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Some of you may be familiar with a very amusing stand-up comedian we have in the UK who has a natural ability of finding the funny (and often frustrating) side of daily life. One such anecdote is his view on online booking and registration forms and how annoying they can be for the people using them:

“I hate registering for things online –  sometimes, just the log-in bit has some kind of literacy test, like a mini challenge, before you even start your booking! You try and try again and you’re stuck on a certain bit for ages.  I don’t want to join companies…I just want to get the product.  I hate it when I look at a booking form and it’s all empty and you know you have to fill it all in. Sometimes when you click on the country list in the address section, every country in the world shows up – an unbelievable number of countries you have to scroll through.  Why are all these countries there??”

Some of things he mentions in the video may be exaggerated for the sake of comedy, but a lot of what he says is also very true.  People booking or registering for things online often get very frustrated with log-in passwords, opt-ins and a long list of seemingly unnecessary questions – all of which can create an experience that’s frustrating enough where they leave the registration page and look elsewhere.

With this in mind, we thought it would be a good opportunity to revisit some of the key things event planners need to think about when putting together registration forms for their events. They are one of the first touch points with attendees and it’s important we get it right.

Have a look at our top 12 best practice tips for creating a smooth and painless registration experience for event attendees:

1) Don’t Ask Unnecessary Questions

Registration forms play such an important role when it comes to collecting valuable information on our attendees. But how much of that information do we really need? Does your form have any outdated questions? Do you still need to ask for mailing addresses despite the fact you never send anything by post? If your venue already caters to disability needs, is it necessary to ask attendees if they require ramp access? Remember, the more clicks it takes to complete a registration form, the more excuse your attendees have to walk away. Make sure that the information you’re asking for will either help you run things more effectively or offer a better event experience for your attendees. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.

2) Get Your Stakeholders Involved

Another thing to think about when putting together your registration questions is the kind of information other departments from your organisation also want to collect from your attendees.  For example, your marketing team may want detailed demographic data that will help them build stronger customer profiles.  Getting them involved from the start can help you avoid making changes or contacting attendees later on. Having said that, you as the event planner own that interaction and you have to make sure that the absolute minimum number of questions are asked so that it doesn’t hinder on the overall registration experience.

3) Break Up Your Questions

Let’s think about PowerPoint presentations – which would you find more visually appealing? The one that crams up a lot of text on each slide or the one that spreads out the message one point at a time throughout the presentation?  The same logic applies to registration forms.  Like our comedian friend mentioned in his sketch, it doesn’t do you any favours when your attendee has to look at a long registration form with lots of empty fields that need filling in.  Break up your questions into relevant sections.  For example, you can have one section for collecting information like name and contact details, one for session selections, one for excursions, one for terms and conditions and so on

4) Timing is Everything

Ask the right question at the right time. For example, ask your attendees what method of transportation they’ll be using to come to your event only when you know they are able to provide an answer at that particular point in time. In the UK, you can’t book a ticket on the national rail network more than 90 days in advance – so asking them about their itinerary details prior to this is pointless if your event is in London and most of your attendees are coming from the UK.

5) Flexible Registration

Give your attendees the opportunity to secure registration without having to fill in all the required data fields on your form. So instead of asking them to provide their passport details, ask if they have their passport information on hand. If they don’t, they can still register for the event and provide the passport details at a later date. The Liberal Democrats offer this kind of flexibility at their party conferences. Attendees may register early to take advantage of an early bird discount – however, they can provide their photos at a later date in order to process their security accreditation for the event.

6) Personalised Registration Paths

Creating different registration paths for different attendees can have a big impact on the registration experience. Before starting the registration process, find out which category your attendee falls into – whether that be a delegate, sponsor, exhibitor, speaker, industry sector and so on. Each attendee will then be led through a set of registration questions and agenda recommendations that are specific to their selected category.  For example, members will be able to select special discount options that are specific to them. Or your VIPs may get asked if they’ll be attending the VIP cocktail party you are organising around your event. Not only will your VIPs know that the questions on their form aren’t visible to other attendees – but more importantly, it gives them the feeling that the questions were ‘personalised’ for them throughout the whole registration journey.

 Also Read: 7 Easy Ways of Using Your Registration Process to Personalise Events

7) Simple Log-ins

Our comedian friend mentions how frustrating it can be when he’s asked to provide all sorts of passwords, verification codes and security information at the log-in stage of the registration process. And he’s right. If you make it too complicated, then you’re just going to push people away. One way round this is providing personalised links in your email invitations to attendees – a feature supported by some event registration solutions like Eventsforce.  Clicking on the link, attendees will automatically (and securely) log into the registration system without having to provide any passwords. It also makes it a lot easier for them to come back and make changes to their registration information whenever they want. Other useful tools for simplifying the log-in process are social media plug-ins like Ingo, which can speed up the process by auto-filling fields with data from selected social media profiles.

8) Drop-Down Lists & Default Answers

As well as offering an intuitive and user-friendly design framework, good registration systems these days have features that help event planners find the best way of asking attendees questions on forms.   This can include things like drop-down lists and default answers. Say you have a drop-down list of 20 or more options (ex. Country), you can use functions like ‘search as you type’ where attendees can type in a value and the system will automatically search for that value across all the alternatives in your list.

If you know that the majority of people will select a particular answer to a question on your registration form, then consider offering a ‘default answer’ as the first option.  For example, most people don’t have a dietary requirement, so ‘no’ can be your set default answer.  Or if you know that most of your attendees are coming from the US, then have ‘US’ as the default answer under the ‘country’ field.


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9) Auto Fill Functions

If your registration system is accurately storing and updating attendee information in its central database, then it makes sense to preload this information in their forms whenever they sign up to an event. Remember, if your returning attendees are retyping the same information or correcting the data you hold on them time and again, then they may not bother the next time round. Features like personalised links can be useful here as they take attendees to a registration form preloaded with answers based on information you already have on them.

10) Help Text

This a great little tool for cutting out some questions and making your attendees feel like they’re getting all the information they need at the point of registration. Say you’re asking them a question about disability needs, you could have ‘help text’ that explains how your event venue already provides induction loops for those with hearing impairments. Those attendees can then skip that section, knowing their needs will be met.  You as the event planner also benefit as you won’t have to sift through as much data when assessing the disability requirements for your event.

11) Fixed Answer Formats

Make sure that your attendees have a clear idea on the format you want them to use when filling in number fields on your form. Take dates or contact numbers, for example. They could be entered in all sorts of different formats: ‘020-888-456’ or ‘(020) 888-4567’ or they may have no separators at all. Some people may even miss a digit in the process. Setting predefined formats on these fields will reduce the probability of error – it will also make sure that you don’t have to bother your attendees at a later date to get the correct information.

12) Test, Test, Test

You can’t underestimate the importance of testing your registration process before going live. As well as doing it yourself, get someone outside of your events team to have a thorough go. They can give you a fresh perspective, as well as identify the areas that aren’t working as well as they should. Put yourself in the position of your attendee and focus on functionality, speed and convenience. Once you go live, stay on top of it with continuous testing.


Would you like to use a flexible and simple registration system around your events? Eventsforce offers a complete registration solution that can meet the requirements of any event, big or small. If you would like to have a quick chat, get in touch with us here.

6 Signs Your Event Technology is NOT Working for You

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Last month, we spoke to some of the industry’s well known event tech experts to find out what kind of trends we should expect over this coming year – Ask the Experts: The Next Big Thing in Event Tech for 2017.  Along with a more widespread use of new and exciting tools like AR/VR and chatbots, it seems that for many event planners 2017 will be the year to re-evaluate their technology investments.

A lot of organisations are now using sophisticated registration and event management software to automate and simplify their everyday tasks and processes, as well as other tools such as mobile apps, audience response systems, livestreaming and hybrid events. If you rely on event tech, you’ll know how important it is to know whether or not it’s working for your organisation. If it was going to save you time and money, you need to make sure that it is delivering on that promise.  If your management asks if it is helping you meet the objectives and goals you’ve set around your events, you need to have an answer. Otherwise, where’s the ROI?

The impact of technology on events is huge – we can’t function effectively without it.  And though it can make our jobs easier, it can also cause complications.  So, it’s important to keep things in check. But how do we do it?  How do we know if the technology we’re using is still a good investment?

Have a look at these five symptoms that may suggest your event tech is NOT working for you:

Untitled design (55)1) You Dread Using It

Is your event tech making your life easier? If it’s not, it should be.  You don’t want technology to create more work for you – you want it to simplify processes.  You want it to save you time and deliver a better experience for your attendees and customers. You want it to create new opportunities. You want it to help you do more with your event data so that you can do bigger and better things. And ultimately, you want it to have a positive impact on your event ROI.

If you’re spending too much time trying to figure out all the nuts and bolts of your technology solution, then it’s probably a sign that the solution is not working for you.  Technology is also a constantly evolving thing and your event tech provider should be supporting you with regular release updates so that you can get the most out of your technology investment.  Are you happy with the training and support you’re getting from your provider?  Can you get the support you want when you need it?  If you feel you’re being let down and spending far too much time on the technical aspects of using your technology, then it may be time for a change.

Untitled design (26)2) Your Goals Seem Too Complex

Go back to the business or event objectives you set out when you first deployed the solution. Did you want to save time in processing registrations? Did you want to attract new attendees?  Did you want to create more engagement? Or did you want to do a better job managing payments? Go through these objectives after each event and see what role your event tech played in reaching these goals. The answer should be pretty clear, either way. And if you’re not sure, then it may be a symptom of bad deployment.

One of the ways to help address this is through an onboarding service, which is something you should really get from your tech provider before you even start using the system. An onboarding programme from Eventsforce, for example, ensures that your event management solution is set up and configured in a way that accurately reflects and measures the objectives you’ve set around your events. It will recommend on the best processes and work flows you need to put in place. It will provide you guidance on what data needs to be captured by the system in order for you to create the ROI reports that matter. Having this support from the start can help you avoid making any changes later on, which can cost time and money.

If you feel it’s something you should have done or would like to re-visit, then it’s not too late.  Talk to your event tech provider and they should be able to help you out.  You can also read this article: Why Onboarding is Critical for Boosting Your Event ROI.

untitled-design-673) Your Quality of Data is Not Improving

The data we get from all the different systems we use around our events is incredibly valuable.  The more you slice, dice, analyse and share that data across your organisation, the more valuable it becomes.  Registration systems are key here because they play such an important role when it comes to collecting information on your attendees. But it’s not just about the ability to capture data that is important, but whether or not you’re able to improve the quality of your data over time.

Attendee lists, for example, are one of the most guarded assets of an event planner and ensuring that the data is well maintained and accurate is essential.  However, if your registration system is not updating changes to attendee profiles in your central database, then it’s hardly going to do you any favours for your next event.  If your returning attendees are retyping the same information or correcting the data you hold on them time and again, then they may not bother the next time round. Or perhaps you’re not even reaching them in the first place because you still hold their old contact information?

Remember, good event data is about quality, not quantity.

untitled-design-664) Attendees Complain About Their Experience

Again, for the sake of simplicity, let’s look at event registration tools.  Is your attendee’s online registration journey quick and easy or does the process have too many steps? If you’re an association and you’re hosting your annual conference, can your members register without having their membership numbers on hand?  Or do they have to request the details, log in and start again? Are you still asking attendees for their mailing addresses despite the fact you never use this information?  Don’t forget that the more clicks it takes to close a sale, the more excuse your attendees have to walk away instead of completing that sale.


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As well as offering an intuitive and user-friendly design framework, good registration systems can simplify this whole process by helping events planners find the best way of asking attendee questions.  Features can include things like single sign-on, drop-down menus, default settings and auto-fill functions that remember the answers attendees provided the last time they registered for one of your events.

untitled-design-725) Reporting is Time Consuming

Let’s say your system is capturing all the information you want to collect around your event.  But how is it processing this data and are you able to get the reports you need?  Are the reports updated as often as you want? Are you able to get the reports and lists you need for your speakers, sponsors, exhibitors or judging panel?  What about the reports your other department require, like finance or marketing?

Having a system that can take the data you have around your events and produce the right kind of report is essential in measuring your event ROI.  You (and your management) will measure success based on the data provided in these reports.  So again, look at your event goals and determine the metrics you need to measure. Make sure your event tech provider can offer you the support you require in identifying what you need to measure and ensure markers are placed across the system in all the right places so that your tech can provide you with the important event reports you need.

conditions-624911_12806) The Legal Eagles Are Circling

Reporting is also important for regulatory compliance. It wasn’t that long ago when all we needed to do as event planners was make sure attendees ticked the terms and conditions box in the registration forms. But times have changed. Today, you have different boxes for different things. You can have compulsory ones that ensure attendees have understood the terms and conditions of your cancellation policy.  You can have optional ones asking if they want to be contacted by third parties. You also have privacy statements. Your software has to be sophisticated enough and be deployed in such a way where it is able to give attendees the right choices, securely store their data and produce the kind of reports that ensure compliance to legal and data protection requirements.

For example, it’s quite common to see delegate lists that include personal information like email addresses at event registration desks. This kind of information is also included in lists sent to caterers, hotels and venues. But have you taken permission from your attendees to share this kind of personal data in the first place?  If you haven’t, then your system should let you tailor your own reports so that you can produce lists that don’t put you or your organisation at legal risk.

Want to get more out of your event technology? Eventsforce’s onboarding service makes sure that your event management solution is set up to accurately reflect and measure the objectives you’ve set around your events.  Find out more by getting in touch here.