Event registration is a foundational element of any successful event. If it’s done right, it can help you increase event attendance, sell more tickets, make your job easier by automating registration tasks, and deliver a better experience to attendees from the get-go. For this reason, you need to make sure you’re using the right event registration software for your events.
In this Ultimate Guide [which includes this post and 4 more chapters] we will go over why you need event registration software, what features and tools are the most important, how to setup online registrations, and how to collect money online for your events.
But first in this article, we’ll explain what event registration is, why you need an online event registration solution, and the key features that you need to look for.
What is Event Registration?
Event registration is when prospective attendees make a commitment to attend an event. This can be either a financial commitment (i.e. for paid events) or a simple time commitment (i.e. for free events).
To register, your audience puts their name on a registration list by providing their contact information. Attendees either contact you by telephone, send in a paper registration form by mail, email you or register online. Online event registration is when a prospective attendee fills out a registration form prior to the event by providing their name and contact information. In the case of paid events, attendees will purchase an event ticket at the time of registration. And for free events, they’ll simply provide their contact information and register for the event. Typically, attendees prefer to register for events online versus in person or over the phone or by mail.
If you organize paid events, it’s a good idea to create multiple ticket types for attendees to choose from. This way, you can offer different ticket options to meet people’s interests and needs, and possibly their budget. One of the major benefits of creating paid events is that your attendees are more committed and will be more likely to attend. In addition to this, it’ll be easier to plan the event when you’re more certain of how many people will be in attendance.
It’s also important to keep in mind that event registration and event attendance are two separate metrics. Event attendance tells you how many people actually attended the event whereas event registration tells you how many people intended on attending. The closer both numbers are to each other, the better. Good event registration software lets you track both event registration and event attendance metrics.
Why You Need Event Registration Software
Event registration software lets you accept online event registrations. You can use it to automate the online event registration process and create an intuitive registration experience for attendees.
Software with the right registration and ticketing options makes it easy for event planners to offer the right price and the right experience. For example, you can create VIP tickets to offer a special experience or offer attendees early-bird pricing for a limited time only discount to incentivize them to register sooner than later.
Event registration software can help you keep track of all the event registration options, track signups and track revenue. Essentially, event registration it’s an extension of the event experience you want to offer, the budget for your event and your event marketing plan.
Features to Look for in Event Registration Software
Here are some of the basic features to look for in event registration software:
#1: Ticket Types
As an event organizer you are also an event marketer, you should aim to create multiple ticket types for your events. The main benefit of this is so attendees can choose their event-going experience and also learn what your budget is for your audience. For example, you might create early bird tickets, general admission tickets, VIP passes, or member-only tickets, each offering a slightly different experience at different prices. This helps you know what type of experience people want to have at what price leves
Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Sell tickets at different price points so people can purchase the tickets that fit their budget
- Create printable or electronic tickets so attendees can get them right away
- Validate tickets and check-in attendees with a mobile app to make the check-in process faster and paperless
#2: Registration Forms
Event marketers use registration forms to let attendees register online for their events. Setting up your online event registration form is key to standardizing, automating, and simplifying the event registration process.
Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Have a simple registration flow so attendees can register quickly
- Ask only what’s necessary
- Have a clear CTA (call to action) button that encourages people to register
#3: Event Calendar
Having an event calendar on your website makes it easy for attendees to view your schedule of events at a glance. This way, you can make it easy for people to discover other events you organize.
Here are some best practices for showcasing the event calendar:
- Color-code similar events so attendees can quickly identify the events they’re interested in
- Categorize events into similar groups to make it easier for attendees to find similar events
- Add featured images to the calendar to help communicate the excitement of an event and make the events more engaging
- Add iCal download links to event pages so attendees can save them to their personal calendars
#4: Online Payments
You can make it easy for attendees to commit to attend by registering online by and making online payments for purchasing event tickets. In addition to this, it allows you to sell tickets and collect payment directly to your own bank account before the day of the event. Collecting money further in advance of your event allows you to fund your event from revenue. As a result, you’ll be able to make the event a better experience.
The fees for accepting online payments are about ~ 3% of the price of the ticket. The payment gateways and merchant accounts incur costs for transferring the money from attendees to you. These fees are nearly unavoidable if you want to accept payments enmass from your audience. However, we’ve seen that offering online payments can allow you to reach a wider audience and increase attendance to your event. Online payments can make your registration numbers more accurate because people are required to pay for the ticket(s) at the time they register. In addition, online payments are easier to reconcile with budgets and accounting which saves you more time and money. If necessary, or allowable, you can also increase the price of the ticket to cover processing fees.
Here are some best practices for setting up online payments:
- Use event registration software that offers multiple payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and credit card payments
- Offer more than one payment option so attendees can choose the payment method that suits them best, for example cards, PayPal, eChecks, invoices, etc.
Our Best Event Registration Tools
Choosing the best event registration solution for your event doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are two popular options and the key features they offer:
#1: Event Espresso
Event Espresso is an event registration and ticketing plugin for WordPress. It comes with event management, attendee management, and event marketing features out of the box.
- Lets you create event registration forms and multiple ticket types
- Comes with six payment gateways out of the box
- Mobile app lets you run ticket scanning, attendee lookup, and event check-in
Event Espresso is a premium WordPress plugin. You can install it to your WordPress event website and use it to power your events.
#2: Event Smart
Event Smart is an online event registration and ticketing platform. It’s powered by WordPress and Event Espresso. This means you don’t have to purchase a domain or find hosting for your event website, everything is done-for-you.
- Lets you organize unlimited events and sell unlimited paid tickets for free
- You can sell tickets and event registrations in your currency and country
- Works with event apps for scanning QR and barcodes with a phone for event check-in
Event Smart is a hosted event registration and ticketing solution. It’s perfect for anyone that wants to set up event registration and ticketing but doesn’t have an event website.
With the right event management software, you can automate your event registration and ticketing processes to deliver a better user experience to attendees while taking much of the manual work off your plate.
Next check out Chapter 1 of our Ultimate Guide:
And don’t miss the rest of our “Ultimate Guide”:
Looking for event registration software for your events? Try Event Espresso today!