Thursday, January 20, 2005

Saving Money on Events & Meetings With Online Registration

Today I had an interview with Ruth Hill, one of the editors for MeetingsMedia (Meetings West, Meetings East, Meetings South, Meetings Mid-America, Meetings Focus). She is writing an article, "Saving Money on Events & Meetings With Online Registration", that will appear in 3 of their 4 printed publications in March, June, and September. Here are my thoughts on this subject:

How online registration saves you money

Save time:

  • Attendees do your data entry by registering online and completing payment for you,
  • Web site answers common questions instead of you answering phone calls,
  • Real-time, integrated reporting eliminates data manipulation

Save labor costs:

  • Online registration reduces staffing needs for call centers to handle phone, fax, paper registrations

Save fees:

  • Integrate online credit card processing with Address Verification can result in savings on your bank's processing fees
  • 0.2% or more savings on transcation fees can add up to thousands of dollars

Save physical costs:

  • E-mail replaces paper, printing, postage, mailing

Generate Revenue:

  • For some types of events, online registration forms, email confirmations, and event web sites can be a revenue-generating opportunity by selling banner ads or sponsorships

Resistance to online registration:

  • Data Security concerns with outside vendor - Register123 overcomes this by voluntarily submitting to an annual Visa CISP (Cardholder Information Security Policy) independent audit of Register123's security and privacy practices and publishing the results
  • Past Practices: change is slow and painful for some attendees, and planners too.

But online registration is only growing - so select a tool that gives you the best value, then review your existing practices and modify them (if needed) to take advantage of current technology.

Next week, I'll be at the MPI-PEC in San Diego.


marchisi said...

I have tried online registration and find that getting set up is pretty easy, and once I got past a small learning curve it was easy to simply copy an event and modify it slightly. Reporting is an important feature that i find valuable. Any insight into where you think reporting is going and what new features may develop?

Rick Borry said...

Reporting is a critical piece of online registration. In my view, an online registration system delivers 3 "products":

1. A web site that displays content about the event
2. A registration form that Attendees can use to submit information to the event planner
3. Reports that the planner delivers to their client or third-party vendors.

In fact, reporting is so important that I'm going to devote my next post to that topic. Return here next week for a complete answer to your question.