Whether you are planning an in-person event or a virtual gathering, setting up your event registration process can be complex, tedious, and sometimes downright confusing. But don't worry; our guide is here to simplify the process, helping you select, manage, and get the most out of your registration and ticketing system.
Here's what we'll cover:
- The benefits of online event registration systems
- Types of event technology systems
- How to choose the right event registration platform
- Overview of event pricing strategies
- Practical ways to boost event revenue
- How to sell out your next event
Why Offering Online Registration is Essential for Modern Events
With the digital era transforming how we conduct our daily lives, it's only logical that event registration and ticketing also move online. Traditional methods like paper forms and physical tickets are becoming relics of the past, often causing more hassle than they're worth.
The shift to online registration platforms streamlines event management and significantly enhances the attendee experience.
Let's break it down:
- Accessibility: The easier you make it for people to register or purchase tickets, the more likely they are to do so. Attendees should be able to buy tickets and register for an event from anywhere - any time of the day!
- Time Savings: Using an online ticketing system or event registration platform can turn event page visitors into registrants at the click of a button.
- Cost Savings: Online registration and ticketing systems reduce the need for registration staff. These savings can be passed on to the registrants.
- Real-Time Analytics: Tracking critical event metrics, like real-time registration and ticket sales data, offers instant insights into performance and enables you to make timely adjustments if needed.
- Seamless Data Integration: Top ticketing and registration tools integrate with CRMs and marketing automation platforms, ensuring that event data is instantly synced. Sales and marketing teams can then orchestrate timely and relevant follow-up campaigns.
- Eco-Friendliness: Online registration and ticketing mean less paper and, therefore, less environmental impact.
Now that you fully understand the benefits of online event registration and ticketing let's look at what you should consider when choosing an event registration software.
Event Tech Systems: an Overview
To figure out the event technology you need for your event, you'll first need to understand the core differences, characteristics, and ideal use cases for these three systems:
- Event registration software
- Event ticketing software
- Event management software
Read on to explore the three options in detail.
Event Registration Systems
Definition and Objectives:
An event registration system is designed to manage the attendee's journey from the point of sign-up to post-event engagement. The goal is to capture comprehensive details about each attendee to facilitate a personalized event experience.
- Collects in-depth attendee information.
- The payment model often involves a platform or per-registrant fee for organizers.
- Supports multiple registration paths to cater to different attendee types (exhibitors, attendees, VIPS)
- Includes an efficient queuing system for waitlist management.
- Features badge design and printing capabilities.
- Supports deep integrations with CRM and marketing automation systems, enhancing attendee data management.
Ideal Use Cases:
- Events requiring detailed attendee profiles, such as conferences or workshops.
- Events with multiple attendee types that require complex registration paths.
- Perfect for events focused on boosting attendee engagement and providing tailored experiences, such as those offering personalized agendas, networking opportunities, and pre-arranged meetings.
Discover how to enhance your registration process using technology by identifying which of the four levels of event registration technology you need. Or review our helpful tips and insights on refining your current registration process.
Event Ticketing Systems
Definition and Objectives:
Event ticketing systems are primarily focused on ticket sales. These systems are streamlined for transactions, often offering less detail about each ticket holder.
- Often include transaction fees, usually passed onto the ticket buyer.
- Typically have lower or no initial costs, making them suitable for events with limited budgets.
- Offer functionalities like seat selection and assignment, ideal for events with specific seating needs.
- Lack of features for agenda management, emphasizing the focus on ticket transactions.
- Commonly integrated with event marketplaces like Eventbrite, providing access to a broader audience.
Ideal Use Cases:
- Best suited for events where the main objective is the sale and management of tickets, such as concerts or festivals.
- Great when attracting new customers is crucial, making the most of the ticketing marketplace reach and user base.
- Effective for events anticipating rapid, high-volume ticket sales, benefiting from the robust infrastructure these systems provide.
For further insights into event ticketing tech, check out our post on the benefits of event ticketing systems. Or explore our guides on how to choose the best ticketing service and how to sell event tickets.
Event Management Systems
Definition and Objectives:
Event management software systems are comprehensive tools designed to handle all aspects of event management, from pre-event marketing to post-event surveys. Their primary objective is to provide a seamless, integrated event management process.
- Event Lifecycle Management: Unlike standalone registration systems, event management platforms cover the entire event lifecycle, from event promotion and speaker onboarding to post-event analysis and follow-up.
- End-to-End Branding: Event management platforms enable event planners to consistently brand their onsite and virtual events from start to finish.
- Event Portfolio Management: Event management systems can handle events of varying sizes and complexity and are adaptable to different event formats, from virtual to hybrid to in-person.
- Attendee Engagement Tools: These systems often include advanced tools for attendee engagement, such as event apps, networking and gamification features, surveys and polls, and for hybrid events, a virtual hub.
- Large-scale, multi-day conferences and trade shows that require extensive planning, coordination, and attendee management.
- Corporate events, including employee training, annual meetings, and product launches, where branding and internal communication are critical.
- Educational events and workshops where interactive content delivery and attendee engagement are key priorities.
- Nonprofit and fundraising events that need robust marketing tools to maximize reach and participation.
Start with our introduction to event management software. After that, consider exploring the benefits of event management technology or take a look at our comparison of event management software providers.
How To Choose The Right Event Registration Platform
With many event registration and ticketing solutions available online, choosing the one that best suits your needs can be challenging. To assist you in making an informed decision, we have compiled a list of 12 questions to consider while evaluating vendors.
1. How much will it cost?
Software Platform Pricing
Pricing varies significantly between different platforms. Typically, registration and ticketing platforms break down pricing using one (or a combination of) the following:
- Flat fee per ticket or registration -- example: $1 per ticket sold
- Percentage cost per ticket -- example: 1% of the ticket sale amount
These pricing options may seem straightforward, but how providers implement them can vary greatly. For example, some providers will charge a small flat fee (or none) but take a large percentage of the ticket sale amount. Other providers will charge a higher flat fee but not take a percentage at all.
Once you fully understand a provider's service fees and fee structure, determine whether or not the costs fit into your event budget.
Credit Card Processing Fees
Since online payments predominantly involve credit card transactions, you'll also encounter payment processing fees. Understanding which payment processors your platform integrates with and their credit card fee structure is crucial.
Check out our guide on event payment processing on what to look for when selecting your payment solution.
2. Who will pay the fees?
"Fee responsibility" refers to the party that will ultimately pay the online registration and/or ticketing fees the provider charges. There are two ways this could go:
- The host organization pays the fees
- The ticket buyer/registrant pays the fees
In the first scenario, the host organization will cover all fees. While individual fees may not seem like much, they can accumulate quickly and become a very significant cost.
In the second scenario, event attendees will pay the fees when they purchase tickets or register to attend. Choosing this option means that the cost of the software tools will be next to free for the host organization. Passing fees on to the buyer can be a significant advantage, particularly to small organizations or nonprofits.
Now that some cost considerations are out of the way, it's time to consider some of the functionality and features you should be looking for in registration and ticketing software.
3. What should I expect from my event registration platform?
Before you go deep into individual features, assess your overall expectations about how you want your system to perform:
- Ease Of Use: To ensure a stress-free event experience, look for an intuitive and user-friendly platform that automates core event processes for organizers and attendees.
- Customizations: Find out how much you can customize the platform for your event needs. Evaluate your ability to customize branding elements, registration workflows, and ticketing options.
- Range of Features: Look at the breadth and depth of features offered. A comprehensive registration platform will offer core ticketing and registration functions and advanced features like conditional logic and approval workflows.
4. Can I create a branded registration page?
To effectively reflect your brand's identity, look for a platform that allows comprehensive registration page customizations. Key features to focus on include:
- Customizable Templates: The platform should offer a range of templates that you can tweak to align with your brand's aesthetic.
- Website Builder: To achieve a fully customized look and feel, opt for a registration platform that provides a drag-and-drop event website builder.
- White Label Options: A white-label solution enables you to present the event entirely under your brand without the interference of software vendor branding.
- Personalized URLs: The ability to create custom URLs for your event enhances brand recognition and makes it easier for attendees to find and remember your event.
- Interactive Elements: Look for the ability to add interactive elements, such as videos or social media links, to engage visitors and convey your brand's story more effectively.
To further explore how you can leverage event tech to elevate your branding, head over to our detailed event branding guide.
5. What payment options does the platform support?
A flexible event registration and ticketing system should provide a variety of payment methods to suit different attendee preferences:
- Online Payment Options: These should include fast and convenient methods like credit card transactions, PayPal, and other digital wallets.
- Offline Payment Options: To cater to attendees who prefer traditional payment methods, the platform should support options like checks, cash, or bank transfers. These methods can be smoothly integrated with invoicing systems for efficient payment tracking and reconciliation.
By offering both online and offline payment options, you make your event accessible to a broader audience while also enhancing the overall registration experience. For more guidance on choosing the right payment methods for your event, visit our event payment guide.
6. Can I create ticket types?
When it comes to setting up ticket categories, some key customizations include:
- Establish ticket tiers and pricing (e.g., VIP, early bird, student discounts).
- Specify the number of registration slots or tickets available per event and per ticket type.
- Create ticket bundles or group packages.
- Implement promotional elements like discount codes or exclusive offers.
- Set start and end dates for ticket sales.
If you're considering options like early bird specials or varied event access levels, the ability to customize ticket types is invaluable. Ensure this feature is on your checklist when choosing your event platform.
7. Can I collect custom registration information?
Collecting data from your registrants helps you segment your attendee list and create communication and marketing strategies tailored to each segment.
It's essential to have the ability to add custom fields to your standard online event registration form so you can collect the exact data you need.
Some custom fields to consider are:
- Company name
- Size of business or organization
- Job title
- Date of birth
- Dietary restrictions
- Special accommodations (e.g., wheelchair access)
- T-shirt size (for events with t-shirts or other merchandise)
- Session preferences or interests
- Marketing opt-in preferences
- Past event attendance
- Referral source (e.g., "How did you hear about this event?")
- Demographic information (e.g., age, gender)
- Social media handle
- Phone number
- Mailing address
For further insights into creating an effective registration form for attendee data collection, visit our blog post on crafting the ideal registration form.
8. Can I use conditional logic to segment attendees?
Conditional logic in registration forms operates on an if-then principle. It allows you to set up a primary question on your order form, followed by a contingent question based on the registrant's response. For example, if a registrant answers 'Yes' to attending a workshop, a follow-up question can ask them to choose a specific session.
- Enhanced Personalization: By understanding attendees' preferences, you can tailor their event experience.
- Efficient Data Collection: Gather specific information without overwhelming registrants with irrelevant questions.
- Improved Attendee Engagement: Attendees appreciate a registration process that acknowledges their unique interests and needs.
- Streamlined Event Planning: Knowing attendee preferences in advance helps in better resource allocation and scheduling.
Conditional logic can be executed through multiple-choice questions combined with open-ended responses, offering flexibility in gathering information and segmenting your attendees.
9. Can I approve, deny, and waitlist attendees?
You might want attendees, speakers, and exhibitors to apply for your event. By evaluating these applications against your event goals, you can effectively decide to approve, reject, or place applicants on a waiting list. Accelevents has a comprehensive registration approval workflow that can also be used for exhibitors and speakers.
Here are some essential benefits of approval workflows:
- Controlled Quality and Relevance: Approve only those applicants who align with your event's objectives and audience.
- Efficient Management: Streamline the process of sorting through applications, saving time and resources.
- Enhanced Attendee Experience: By curating participants, you ensure a more targeted and valuable experience for all attendees.
- Flexibility: Adjust your attendee list as needed, balancing capacity and demand efficiently.
10. Will the system integrate with my check-in process?
Anyone who has ever attended an event knows check-in can be tedious and time-consuming. Online registration and ticketing can help you streamline the check-in process - assuming your provider has the right features. Once these are in place, you'll be surprised at how effortless and smooth the check-in process can become.
- Automated Ticket Issuance: Ensure the system sends instant confirmation emails with digital tickets, preferably with a printable PDF option.
- QR Code Efficiency: A system equipped with QR code scanning significantly speeds up check-in, particularly if the QR Code can be conveniently scanned via a mobile app for event organizers.
- Built-In Badge Printing: Ensure that registration and badge printing work seamlessly together, automatically filling in registrant details on badges. You should be able to print an attendee's badge immediately after onsite check-in. Providing self-check-in kiosks with built-in badge printing for added convenience is also a good idea.
- Guest Lookup Capability: You need this feature for those inevitable moments when guests misplace their tickets. A quick name search and manual check-in option can resolve such issues promptly.
11. Will the platform integrate with my tech stack?
Rewrite: When purchasing an event registration platform, it's important to consider the types of software integrations offered:
- Native integrations: These are built directly into the event registration platform and are typically seamless and easy to use. Examples of native integrations include integration with popular payment gateways, email marketing platforms, or CRMs such as Salesforce, HubSpot, or Marketo.
- Integrations via Zapier: Zapier is a third-party tool enabling you to connect different apps to automate tasks and streamline workflows. If an event registration platform offers integrations via Zapier, you can use Zapier to connect the platform with many other tools, even if they don't provide a native integration.
- API integrations: API stands for "Application Programming Interface," which refers to a set of protocols and tools that allow different software systems to communicate. If an event registration platform offers API integrations, developers can use the API to build custom integrations or connect the platform to other tools in an advanced fashion.
When selecting an event software solution, consider one that offers multiple integration options like Accelevents. This will allow you to integrate the platform with your tech stack easily.
Ensure native integrations are deep and easy to implement to avoid complex implementation scenarios. Accelevents, for example, has one of the deepest integrations with HubSpot in the event industry, making it an excellent option for HubSpot users.
12. How much customer support will I get?
Quick and dependable support is essential in the fast-paced event management world. Providers like Accelevents stand out with 24/7 customer support and response times of under 30 seconds, ensuring any issues are swiftly and efficiently resolved. Plus, we offer a comprehensive training and onboarding process. This level of support is not just a convenience; it's crucial for the smooth running of events.
Event Pricing Strategies that Drive Sales
What are common pricing strategies?
After selecting an online event registration and ticketing platform, the next crucial step is establishing a pricing strategy for your event. The most commonly used pricing strategies include:
- Cost-Plus Pricing: With this strategy, event organizers add up all their costs and determine a price higher than these costs and within the target profit margin.
- Comparative or Competitive Pricing: With this strategy, ticket prices are based on the prices for similar events.
How do I optimize my pricing strategy?
Cost-plus and comparative pricing are standard pricing methods, but they are not optimal. Instead, try a strategy that considers the event's perceived value and actual event costs.
What is the perceived value of an event?
The perceived value of an event is the value that attendees expect to receive from participating. This value can be influenced by factors such as the level of enjoyment or entertainment, positive emotions derived from spending time with friends and family, and any added value such as networking opportunities or exclusive experiences.
When determining ticket prices, it is crucial to accurately estimate the perceived value of the event for guests, as they may not be willing to pay more than they feel the event is worth.
How do I set the right ticket price?
When evaluating actual event costs, you will find they typically come in two forms - fixed and variable.
- Fixed Costs: These costs will remain constant throughout the event planning process. They may include things like staff costs, venue rental, and decorations.
- Variable Costs: These costs will change depending on the size of the event and the resources required. They may include food and beverage costs and swag or gift bags.
Once you have a clear understanding of your costs and the perceived value of your event, you can set a price that covers your expenses while still offering a value that meets or exceeds the expectations of your guests. The goal is to find a balance that allows you to be profitable while providing attendees with a fair and enjoyable experience.
Three Practical Ways to Increase Event Revenue
There are many ways you can optimize your pricing strategy - we'll get you started with three suggestions:
1. Boost the perceived value of your event
While the perceived value of your event will largely depend on your guests' opinions, there are ways to increase the value of your event and give yourself an edge. Try:
- VIP Tickets: Give out exclusive perks and benefits, such as access to a VIP lounge or private meet and greet with performers.
- Early Access Tickets: Offer the opportunity to enter the event before general admission ticket holders.
- Limited Edition Tickets: Create a sense of scarcity by offering limited tickets.
- Premium Seating Tickets: Offer tickets with prime seating or viewing locations.
- Package Deals: Sell bundles that include tickets, merchandise, and other perks.
2. Gradually increase your ticket prices
To create a sense of urgency for attendees, increase ticket prices as the event approaches. Consider creating the following ticket tiers:
- Early Bird: Discounted tickets available for a limited time
- General Admission: Mid-range priced tickets
- Last Minute: Higher-priced tickets available for a shorter period before the event
- At the Door: Highest-priced tickets available on the day of the event
3. Sell add-ons
Encourage attendees to enhance their experience by opting for additional purchases like event merchandise, travel packages, or unique experiences. Make these available for purchase easily through online platforms, including mobile apps, to allow attendees to personalize their event experience further. This approach can substantially increase the average transaction value per attendee.
How to Sell Out Your Next Event
Now that you've selected a registration software and online ticketing provider, determined your ticket prices, and completed your final preparations, it's time to start selling! Here are six practical tips to drive ticket sales.
1. Leverage FOMO
To boost ticket sales, use fear of missing out (FOMO) tactics, such as displaying the remaining ticket count per ticket type on your registration page. This can create a sense of urgency and encourage your audience to purchase tickets right away.
2. Draw on past attendees
With online event registration and ticketing platforms, you can collect valuable contact information from your attendees. This data can be instrumental in promoting future events. Use it to reach out to past attendees and encourage them to attend and promote your next event to their network. Or create targeted marketing campaigns to specific audience segments, such as those who have attended similar events or expressed interest in your event topic.
3. Enlist your network and supporters
Your event management staff, event committee, and volunteers are already fully on board with your event and feel strongly about it. Tap into their passion by asking them to promote your event among their networks. This can build momentum and create a little buzz. The result? A rush on early ticket sales!
For more information on how to sell tickets, consult our step-by-step guide on event ticketing sales strategies.
4. Use social media
Here are some tips for using social media to promote an event:
Leverage ALL social media channels: Share teasers and updates about your event and drive scarcity by announcing the number of tickets remaining.
Utilize relevant hashtags: Create a unique hashtag for your event and encourage attendees to use it when posting about the event on social media.
Create impactful visuals: Use high-quality photos and videos to promote your event on social media. This can include behind-the-scenes glimpses, interviews with speakers or performers, or highlights from past events.
Use social media ads: Consider running paid ads to promote your event to a targeted audience. Carefully define your target audience and create engaging ad content.
Engage with your followers: Make sure to interact with your followers on social media regularly. This can include answering questions, responding to comments, and sharing relevant content.
Collaborate with influencers: Collaborate with influencers or industry thought leaders in your event's topic to reach a larger audience and increase the credibility of your event.
5. Run a ticket giveaway
Hosting a ticket giveaway can be a great way to increase ticket sales and engage your audience. By offering tickets as a prize for completing a task or series of tasks, such as sharing your event on social media, liking your branded pages, or referring a friend to buy a ticket, you can motivate guests and potential ticket buyers to participate. Just be sure to consider the number of tickets you give away to protect your profits.
6. Use EVERY marketing channel
Sure, promoting your event is a no-brainer, but have you taken the time to map out all the different ways you can do this? To help get the juices flowing (and make life easier), we've compiled a handy list of event marketing strategies and promotion ideas.
If you need more tips to boost ticket sales, head to our comprehensive list of actionable sales tactics!
Congratulations On Making It To The End Of This Guide!
You now have all the information you need to plan your next successful event. While the registration process and ticket sales can feel complicated and a little overwhelming at times, this guide, coupled with an event technology like Accelevents, can help you find the success you are after!