The planning of a successful association event starts months, sometimes even years, before the event occurs. One key aspect to a successful event is the online registration process. Creating an online registration is detailed, can be complicated, and requires a solid understanding of the online program. By creating thoughtful registration paths, efficient contingency questions, and running sufficient tests, an online registration can be launched with confidence and set the stage for a great attendee experience.

Study Your Program

Before creating an online association event registration, it is important to learn the capacities and capabilities of the program being used. Becoming familiar with the program is key to creating a seamless registration for delegates and will play a huge role in solving any issues that might come up along the way.  Spend time exploring the program and trying new and different approaches and setups. When starting a new event, a default or copied registration will be your starting point. This will most likely be a simple, bare-bones registration process and will require alterations and work to tailor it to your event needs. When making changes and adding more complex backend steps, I strongly recommend utilizing the forum, discussion area, or Q&A section to increase knowledge of more complicated tasks. It’s important to try new processes, create new paths, and play with the structure of the registration to find the most efficient, smart, and smooth path for delegates to follow. Don’ be afraid to experiment with new structures!

Registration Paths and Contingencies

Association events often have different types of registrations. Registration types can be based on occupation or association membership status, among other things. To develop an efficient and simple registration process, creating different registration paths for each registration type is the way to go. By creating unique registration paths, delegates will not be asked for unnecessary information or waste time clicking through pages that do not apply to them. Registration paths allow questions to be targeted to certain registration types and, based on certain answers, contingency questions may follow.

A registration path can be demonstrated through the following example. A student is registering for a conference. The questions that follow will ask about the school that they attend, their graduation date, etc. But, if a speaker is registering for this same conference, a different path will be followed. They will only be asked questions such as their dietary restrictions, hotel and flight accommodations, and session attendance. The student will also be asked the same required questions as the speaker, except the speaker bypassed the questions that were unnecessary for their registration type.

Testing, Testing

Testing is key to ensuring that once registration is launched, everything will run according to plan. Once all backend administrative setup has been finalized, putting an event in test mode is essential. Test mode allows for others to help de-bug and find any issues with the different registration paths and the overall process. Getting others to test the registration system is helpful because it is the first time they are going through the process and they can point out things flaws that may not be obvious to someone who has been working on this for weeks. When in test mode, test all registration types, paths, and contingencies in different browsers, platforms, and from different operating systems to ensure that all registration scenarios run smoothly. Once sufficient tests, varied paths and platforms have been tested, it is safe to say that the event is ready to be launched!

Welcome, Delegates!

Creating the online registration for an association event is a process that requires meticulous, detail-oriented work and is the key to starting an event off on the right foot. By studying and getting to know the ins and outs of the program, each step will become easier and “finding a better way” will start to come naturally.  It’s always important to consider the delegate’s point of view when creating paths, contingent questions, and knowing the answers to questions that could arise. By creating a seamless and effortless registration process, delegates feel accommodated, cared about, and will be even more excited for your event when the time finally comes!