Over the past year or two, we’ve heard a few scare stories from event directors–responsible, good event directors–whose registration technology failed them and caused some big problems. We want to share these stories because we don’t want them to happen to you. You may assume that your technology provider has these things covered (and they should, it’s their job), but that’s not always the case. So here are five scary things you don’t want to happen with registration…and should guard yourself against:
1. Weak Data Security
We don’t have to tell you how critically important it is to ensure your participant and financial info is kept completely safe. Hackers are no joke and have broken into the databases of other events to steal the sensitive information stored there. Your participants need to trust that you’ve taken steps to protect their personal data from outside threats. Ask your technology provider and/or payment processor questions about their level of security. There should be encryption, firewalls, secure socket layers…and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance. PCI Level 1 compliance is the highest tier and your data shouldn’t be trusted with anything else.
2. Missing Required Information
As people register, certain information needs to be included to protect your event from liability. Namely, waivers and emergency contact information are very important to have included within the registration flow. One event did not have a system with this functionality and the organizer spent countless hours collecting waivers one by one from participants. The other problem is that the required information wasn’t stored electronically with the rest of the registration data. On the rare (and unfortunate) chance you do need this information, you want it in a centralized location that you can access immediately.
3. No Reporting
Knowledge is power and if you don’t have quick access to your registration numbers, revenue channels, fundraising, etc, you’re operating from a blind spot. An event director told us recently that she has to send a request to her technology provider to manually pull reports, and then she slaves over an Excel sheet to decipher the data. Frankly, that’s just too darn hard! A good event management system will have standard and custom reports, as well as event overview dashboards, that can be viewed with a few quick clicks so you can take any necessary action or make adjustments right away.
4. Coupon Code Craze
This one made the list because it can cause major money problems. We heard this story from an event organizer at a tradeshow: his registration system wasn’t equipped to correctly handle coupons and it resulted in registrants applying multiple coupon codes to one standard registration fee. Ouch! As you can imagine, this dramatically cut into the registration revenue and affected operations. Offering coupons and discounts is a mainstay of most events’ marketing programs, so when choosing a registration system, make sure: 1) the coupon code functionality lets you control how many times and when a code can be applied; and 2) you are able to create separate codes per registration category.
5. No Customer Support
If something does go wrong with registration, you need someone to call. Or email. Or tweet at. The bottom line is that event organizers have hundreds (if not thousands) of people depending on them and if something needs to be fixed or adjusted, it needs to happen fast. So many event directors tell us that they don’t have any support provided with their registration technology, and we don’t think that’s cool. All of the technology partners you work with should provide knowledgeable customer support so you get any help you need and keep things running like clockwork.