Online Registration & RSVP
The invitation, guest registration and RSVP process is usually the most tie consuming process for event planners. The right choice of the registration system is therefore key save time, effort and your nerves before the event. This overview can help you to identify what kind registration your event needs.
Is the online registration public or for invited guests only?
For a public event registration, it is best practice to have a dedicated event website or embed the registration system into an existing website. The link to the registration should be short and simple to make it easy to share it among guests. Adding social elements before and after the registration can significantly help to spread the word for your event.
For closed events, you would require different tools to make the registration private and secure. This can be achieved with the help of unique registration codes which need to be entered to access the registration forms. These codes can be to event partners or relationship managers.
When inviting guests directly via email and for an additional layer of security it is also possible to lock certain guest fields in your RSVP forms. This does not let your invited guests to overwrite their pre-filled guest details or add any additional guests on your list. These locked RSVPs will also guarantee that forwarding a personal invitation to someone else will not work because it is only possible to change the RSVP status but not edit any guest details on your list.
Private event RSVPs are best combined with a customizable Invitation, Reminder and Thank you Emails.
Do you need to segment your guests and put them into different groups?
Segmenting your guests at the very beginning and let them register online for their respective group can go a long way to stay organized. This can be done through multiple registration categories, group specific registration codes or even separate RSVP forms.
Exporting your guest or attendee list in real-time will then clearly show you the statistics of each group and you can send reminders or other information to the selected groups without much time consuming sorting within Excel lists.
Do you require a multi-step registration and approval process?
For events which require a multi-step arrival process, you ideally start with a very limited guest registration form. New registrations can then be approved by one click which then triggers the confirmation email to the guest. This process provides an additional layer of security but at the same time, it means additional administrative steps and manpower is needed from your side.
Do you need to send QR codes to guests after a successful online registration / RSVP?
Sending a QR code to attendees as a registration confirmation is a common way to handle larger and more anonymous events such as trade fairs or ticketed events. The usual idea is to ignore the guest’s name and reduce their identity to a code which can be scanned at the door: No valid code, no entry. QR codes are also used for certain conferences. For events below 1000 guests and/or private events, QR codes are usually not worth the effort because generating codes and distributing them to individual guests via personalized mailings usually requires additional technical and design related steps. In additional to this, most VIPs will not show their code anyway at the door (or take too long to find it), because they know their name is on the list and they can enter anyway. This brings the check-in team to the original check-in method: check-in by guest name.
Please also refer to the Pro and Cons of QR codes for events here.
Do you need to collect payments?
For a reliable and smooth payment collection process, the payment processing is ideally integrated and a full part of the online registration. This means that during the last step of the registration, guests can enter their credit card details, their payment is confirmed instantly, and they receive their confirmation. This process is very similar to booking a flight or hotel room online by credit card. While credit card is the most convenient process for both guest and event planner, other (off-line) payment options such as bank transfer are often required, which again add another lay of admin and manpower.