3 Tips for Switching From Paper to Electronic Registration

November 1, 2011 by Crescerance

Are you an event organizer that is still doing things the old fashioned way? Paper registration, while it may be familiar, is slow, tedious, and outdated. The truth is, many event organizers are being pressed to shift from conventional paper registration to an electronic registration system. Electronic registration is more convenient for both the event organizer and the registrant because it can handle the tasks associated with registration, from sending out registration invitations and charging fees to emailing confirmation letters and managing registration lists.

Moving from traditional paper registration to electronic registration can be a daunting task. Not only is the event organizer forced to understand a new system and learn a new set of skills, but all the registrants that have used the paper process to register must be able to understand and get comfortable with the new system too!

Choosing the right system is very important, so if you are considering upgrading from paper registration here are three tips to keep in mind.

Enhance Your Capabilities

There is more to organizing an event that just handling registration, so your event system should be able to do more than just online registration and email communication. Make sure your system is robust enough to help you handle all aspects of event management, such as creating agendas, seating charts, or booth layouts. Look for an event system that can collect registration fees, record and make credit card payments, and that gives you tools to handle accounting for your event. The system should help you create reports and lists to assist in the back-end management of your event. Finally, make sure your event system is capable of improving your events by collecting feedback. Look for integrated survey tools that you can use to gather attendee feedback so you can improve future events. Ultimately, your event system should take some of the burden off of you, allowing you to focus on making your event better.

Keep It Simple

Your new event system should be robust, but simple to use for you and your end users. You are not the only one having to adjust to your new event system, your registrants have to use it as well! If you are making the switch from paper registration forms, you might look for a system that allows you to create a registration page that emulates your old forms in an electronic medium. You worked hard on your paper registration forms, why should they go to waste? By creating an online form that resembles your old paper form you can be sure that your registrants will be able to quickly understand how to use the registration system. Additionally, if you can set up your new online forms like your old forms you can save the time having to learn what does and does not work. You figured that all out with your paper forms. Take what you learned and apply it to your new medium.

The Right Tool for the Right Job

No two events are the same, so make sure your tools are able to accommodate you. You could use a hammer to cut down a tree, but it would be difficult and laborious. When searching for a new event system, make a list of features it must have and find one that fits with the way you do events. For example, many event systems require registration fees to be processed through their proprietary payment processing service. If you already use a payment processing service you may want to make sure that the event system you use will feed your existing payment tools so you can continue to utilize tools you already have in place. Or perhaps you need a system that allows registrants to register multiple people at once on the same form. If this is the case, make sure the system can handle multi-person registrations so you are not burdening your registrants with a tedious registration system. If a system cannot accommodate your needs, look elsewhere.

There are many event systems out there, make sure you choose one that works for you, not one that makes you work for it.