Event planning has an almost “chicken and egg” conundrum.
It has to do with budget planning vs program layout vs registration. Each of these components touch and influence one another during the planning period. And if you try, you’ll see you can’t determine registration fees before determining budget, but you also can’t determine budget before understanding your program. And in the planning phase, you’d be hard-pressed to overthink the amount of details that go into your registration process…

It’s good to begin by considering:

  • Online and old school – do you need an offline way to register? Audiences vary; less tech-savvy audiences or administrative assistants may prefer a paper registration. Will an online system cover all audiences?
  • Who needs to access the registration: will one person be registering themselves? Will one person be registering a group – will this person also be administrator for the group?
  • Will there be early bird pricing?
  • Do you have different prices for each of your target market – students, not for profit, speakers, regular, one day, multiple days…?
  • Will you be creating a single phase registration (ability to choose sessions at time of registration) or a two phase registration (register first, choose program session another day)?
  • What information is mandatory for the registrant? What information will you want in a report during the planning process?
  • When will registration open? When will registration close?
  • Will there be a last minute/onsite registration option? Will this be advertised?

All of this information will be used when creating your registration website. Just remember: keep it simple. Sounds ridiculous after the above list, but when you create a registration site, always think from a new user’s perspective. Look at the site each time as if you’ve never seen it before and are trying to understand each step, each page.

During the testing phase (also called sandbox mode) have as many people try the registration site as possible. Get all feedback, good and bad. Find out if a question had to be read twice, or if something made the person pause in order to understand what was meant. This is the time to ensure what you’re creating is understandable, logical and user friendly. Once everyone has had their say and edits have been made, have a second sandbox mode. You’ll catch something you didn’t before – and better you catch it than a delegate.

Then hit the live button and have the marketing team sell, sell & sell.