Even with good registration tools, event coordinators find that managing registrations for an event can be a large amount of work. Typically it is not the actual registration process that causes frustration, it is all the work associated with post-registration adjustments. For example, if a registrant learns that their company is not willing to pay for the golf tournament and now they wish to cancel that portion of the registration, the event manager must adjust their registration accordingly. Sometimes people cannot attend the event and wish to register another person as a substitute, causing more work for the event manager. Many times people realize they signed up for the wrong section of the event and wish to change their registration.
Even with an easy to use system, errors occur which the event manager has to fix. We are often asked whether or not event registrants should be able to edit or update their registrations to alleviate some of the post-registration work that the event manager has to do. Here are a few reasons that we don’t recommend it.
The more people that are able to change the information in your system, the less reliable that information becomes. Registrants that wish to change their information more than likely are unfamiliar with the way that your internal event management process works. This could cause your registration information to be in flux until you close registration, making it harder to make lists and determine exactly how many people will be attending your event. If people log in and change their registrations last minute you could end up with a situation where you have less attendees than you thought. Additionally, if a registrant gets frustrated with trying to update or change their registration on their own you could have to deal with an upset attendee. While it may seem nice to be able to distribute the work of managing an event, realize that the tighter that circle, the less likely it is that you will have bad information in the system.
If your event has components that require payment, allowing registrants to edit their registration information could cause problems with your payment collection process. Take the example from the beginning with the person that wanted to remove himself from the golf tournament; if the event manager was not involved in changing his registration the attendee may not receive his refund in a timely fashion. Being able to handle refunds or extra charges in a timely and accurate manner is difficult when the event manager is removed from the registration process.
Handing control back to the registrant is often the weakest choice. We don’t recommend allowing registrants make their own changes because they are not likely to know how your event system works. Registrants frankly care only about changing their information not about any rules that you have that are not built into the system. The better choice is to have all post registration questions or changes go through the event manager’s office so you can properly handle them and not have a situation develop that leads to even more work for you.
If you would like to learn more about buying the right registration for your organization, be sure to download our whitepaper “6 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself About Event Software Vendors“.