Organizations and groups face a big challenge today putting on events for their members. While the cost of events is rising, members are becoming more cost conscious.

This means organizations need to not only manage their costs for events, but also ensure that registration fees will cover their costs.

For organizations that have been collecting registration fees at their events, the number of “no shows” can result in costs exceeding revenues.

Event organizers know that the number of people who RSVP to an event can be very different from the number who actually attend the event. This is especially true for events that don’t require a registration fee to be paid online prior to the event.

For the business networking events I help organize we found that a significant number of the “Yes” RSVPs don’t attend. Fortunately, our events are free, which means we don’t have a financial obligation to meet.
However, most organizations have significant costs to host their events. So, many organizations are moving to online event registration to:

  • Motivate members to pre-pay by discounting online registration prices
  • Ensure a minimum number of attendees by the people who paid for event registration online
  • Reduce the staff needed at the event’s registration area

Most online event registration systems handle the basic needs:

  • Sell any number of registrations
  • Accept credit cards for payment

While it may appear that a traditional online shopping cart can handle event registrations, additional features are needed for an effective online event registration system.

Here are the most used features SureToMeet provided in our first generation online event registration system. (Note: we’ve transitioned to providing a patented business networking service) :

  • Display event description pages within the organization’s existing Web site.
  • Send e-mail invitations to a mailing list on predetermined schedule.
  • Obtain the name of every attendee and the registration type (e.g., member, guest, student) that was purchased for them.
  • Offer “early bird” price discounts that reward attendees for paying their event registration online.
  • Offer certain types of registrations to specific groups of people (i.e., member discounts only to members, etc.),
  • Limit the number of each type of registration that can be sold online to encourage early purchase.
  • Customize the online registration form to ask questions specific to the event.
  • Accept attendee referrals of new people, which are added to the organization’s mailing list.
  • Create an online community of attendees prior to an event so people know who will attend.
  • Download online registrations for printing nametags prior to the event.
  • Automatically update online content with links to the organization’s upcoming events.
  • Sell organization memberships online.
  • Receive online registration payments without the cost of bank credit card merchant account fees.

When an organization uses these and other features of an online event registration system attendees feel the event is more enjoyable and beneficial — starting with the online registration through the entire event.

This gives attendees a greater sense of quality for both the event and the organization. And, the online event registration system helps manage revenue to ensure that the event will be beneficial to the organization, too.