From community gatherings and school fundraisers to sporting events and field days, family-oriented events are a fun opportunity for members of your community to come together. Like all events, a streamlined registration process is fundamental for an organized, successful gathering.
Powerful registration software can start your planning team off on the right foot. By implementing registration best practices, you can leverage your software solution to create a better, more convenient experience for your guests while reducing repetitive administrative tasks for your team.
Your registration process sets the rest of your family-oriented event up for success. To help your organization make the most of your registration tools, this guide will cover five key tips for creating a comprehensive event registration process:
- Offer multiple ways to access forms.
- Understand legal considerations.
- Keep it short.
- Allow guests to review and update their information.
- Create a streamlined check-out process.
Often, the key to creating a better registration process is understanding what information you need and what’s the best method for collecting that information. Keep in mind that your family-oriented event may need to make special considerations for registering minors, meaning you might need unique forms to gather necessary information for guests under the age of 18.
1. Offer multiple ways to access forms.
Your guests’ first impression of your event begins when they register to attend. For many guests, this will involve navigating to your website and completing a registration form online. However, your event team should provide additional ways to register to accommodate all guests, creating a more convenient registration experience for each individual.
While you should focus on creating a robust online registration and encourage the majority of your guests to use it, you should also have additional registration options available, such as:
- Paper forms. Even events that stress RSVPs ahead of time often have walk-ups, and standard paper and pen forms are often the fastest way to get these guests registered and checked in. Additionally, guests with poor internet connections will appreciate the option, and other guests may prefer printing their online registration form.
- Phone registration. Some guests may prefer to talk to someone at your organization to register rather than completing the form online. Ideally, your online registration process will be straightforward enough that most guests will have no trouble navigating it, but having the option to speak to a staff member shows guests that your organization is helpful and hands-on.
- Kiosks. If you’re expecting a large crowd, including many walk-ins, consider setting up kiosks at your event space. This will allow guests who registered online to check themselves in quickly and give walk-ins the ability to quickly fill out your registration form at your event.
Make sure your event management software is able to recognize and account for each additional registration process you use. After all, when you’re counting vital forms such as waivers, you’ll need a system that manages both your online forms and enables you to input your paper ones.
2. Understand legal considerations.
Family-oriented events, by definition, bring the whole family together, which includes minors. This means that your organization may need to add additional forms to your registration process, such as release forms and waivers.
While some events may pose few risks to guests, you might be surprised just how many kinds of events require guests to sign a release form. Smartwaiver is an expert on online waivers, and their website details the necessity of waivers for a wide range of family-friendly events, including:
- 5ks, walk-a-thons, and marathons. Events that require strenuous physical activity are a fun way to encourage your community to get out and exercise, but they are still strenuous. Have participants sign a waiver in case of any accidents, and make sure you have a first aid team on staff to handle emergency situations.
- Sporting events. Sporting events are popular fundraisers for schools and especially local teams. Take extra care when creating your waiver for children’s sporting events, as well. Emphasize the importance of having their parents sign the form and providing a reliable emergency contact.
- Any event with animals. Whether you’re hosting a dog walking event for your animal shelter or renting a petting zoo for your school, make sure to inform guests about potential risks during the registration process and ask them to fill out any necessary paperwork.
If your venue has additional health and safety protocols guests will need to follow, make sure guests are informed about them somewhere in your registration process. Additionally, check your venue’s capacity guidelines to ensure you only sell tickets to the maximum number of guests who will be allowed into your venue.
3. Keep it short.
Event registration forms are a vital part of your event, allowing you to manage guests and plan how you’ll staff your activities ahead of time. However, lengthy forms can limit the number of guests who complete the event registration process, thus also limiting the number of guests who attend your event. Form abandonment is a common problem for multi-page registration forms, leading to lower attendance.
The solution to this answer is simple: Keep it short! Limit your form to a single page, if possible, to reduce scrolling. Additionally, seeing that the “submit” button is insight from the first page will likely encourage guests who are pressed for time to see your form through to the end.
While it can be tempting to collect as much information as you can from guests to help plan future events, limit your information fields to only the most pertinent questions. Doing so shows your guests that you value their time and increases the chance that you’ll see more guests at your event, overall.
You can also invest in registration forms that use conditional logic. Conditional logic streamlines registration forms by using guests’ previous answers to determine what questions they should be shown. For example, if you need to ask guests about food allergies, guests who select “no” will be able to move on to the next question without interruption, while those who say “yes” will be prompted to provide additional information about their allergies.
4. Allow guests to review and update their information.
Consider providing your guests with a self-service portal that lets them review and edit their registration and personal information. While some organizations might hesitate to put this power into their guests’ hands as it can lead to registrations changing without warning, it does offer two compelling benefits:
- Reduced administrative burden on your team. Whether your organization offers a self-service portal or not, there will be times where guests need to change their registrations to cancel, buy additional tickets, or update their contact information. Allowing guests to make these changes themselves saves your team time completing these tasks in the backend of your system.
- Convenience for guests and faster updating. Guests will appreciate having control over their registration because it’s more convenient than going through your staff members. In addition to being able to update information on their own, allowing guests to review and revise necessary forms provides additional transparency.
There might even be situations where allowing guests remote control is necessary. For example, during a fundraising event for kids, children might need their parents’ permission to participate. If parents forget to fill out part of the form, a member of your staff can quickly get in touch with them and have them complete it without needing to come in person to your venue.
5. Create a streamlined check-out process.
The right registration software should enhance every aspect of your sign-up process, including the final step when guests purchase their event ticket. Regpack’s guide to accepting payments online outlines a few key ways you can make the most of your guests’ check-out process to help your event earn more and encourage guests to hit submit to complete their payment forms:
- Accept multiple types of payment. Most guests will likely pay with a debit or credit card, but your online payment process should also be able to accept other payments such as eChecks and rewards cards.
- Use upsell features. Guests are more likely to buy additional items such as merchandise, perks, and ticket upgrades if they only need to input their payment information once. When guests are ready to buy their tickets, display upsell opportunities to gain a few extra sales.
- Keep your forms secure. Security should be one of your organization’s top priorities when assessing payment processors. Data breaches that put your guests’ financial and personal information at risk can severely damage their trust in your organization. Look for a payment process that is PCI-compliant to keep your guests’ information safe.
You can further help guests feel secure about giving out their and their children’s personal information by branding your forms with your organization’s logo and colors. Or, find registration software that allows you to embed your forms right into your registration page. This reassures guests that they are not providing information to a third party, but only to your trustworthy organization.
The registration process is an often overlooked aspect of event management, especially for busy family-oriented events. However, by optimizing your registration process, your organization can reap many benefits, including increased attendance, additional revenue, and key information to help plan your event.
You can get started today by researching and investing in reliable registration software. Then, study and implement best practices to use it to the best of its abilities and take your event to the next level.
Asaf Darash, Founder and CEO of Regpack, has extensive experience as an entrepreneur and investor. Asaf has built 3 successful companies to date, all with an exit plan or that have stayed in profitability and are still functional. Asaf specializes in product development for the web, team building and bringing a company from concept to an actualized unit that is profitable.