Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio December
Back to Basics
By Rick Borry
CRAFTING AN ONLINE PRESENCE
How to view your Web site and forms through the eyes of
Working with Web sites can be tricky. Even after you’ve spent
hours reviewing or designing the layout, adding and changing
content and coordinating with IT personnel, the pages you know so
well still might be confusing to potential attendees. Follow these
critical steps to develop a user-friendly site.
Define the goalNo matter how much effort goes into creating the
pages, an event Web site is not a popular portal like AOL or Yahoo;
most attendees will see it only once or twice.
Some of these viewers will be inexperienced Internet users,
which means the online presence should focus on communicating key
event messages and collecting the necessary attendee information in
the simplest and least time-consuming manner.
To accomplish this, define the goal for the site. Some
• To deliver information about the event and the registration
• To encourage attendees to visit the Web site to register for the
• To collect requests for invitation or for information;
• To register attendees and collect payment; or
• To deliver confidential details to specific groups of attendees,
such as vendors and sponsors.
PLOT A STRATEGY
For all types of events, keep these concepts in mind.
Use an outsourced service provider. If the
company does not have a Web server that is available 24/7, planners
should select a provider that is equipped to manage Web traffic at
Look like a pro. Those unfamiliar with creating
Web sites should get someone to assist in designing a professional
image that follows basic Web standards. The planner can focus on
the content and overall viewer experience.
Keep it simple. Text should be concise and
error-free. Use standard, familiar fonts like Arial, Times New
Roman or Veranda for all copy. Colors and graphics should reinforce
the branding of the event and draw attention to key content,
without overwhelming the viewer.
Find fresh eyes. Someone familiar with the
background and goals of the event, other than the person who
handled the construction of the site, should carefully review the
finished pages and registration form before they go live.
Consider all participants. The content and
registration process intended for an exhibitor is different from
that of an attendee. When targeting several audiences, review the
pages from the perspective of each group.
Registration should make sense. An online
registration form should be simple, and it should follow a logical,
step-by-step process. Planners using a system that requires them to
make compromises in the form design, which might confuse the
registrants, should either create a new form or find another
Use e-mail wisely. E-mail communiques can be
efficient, but frequent updates can be cumbersome for the planner
and annoying for the attendee.
Before collecting registrations online, decide how to use the data
before taking the site live. While creating reports probably is the
last thing on your mind four months before the event, it quickly
becomes a priority when registrations begin to roll in. Generating
reports with ease makes the difference between managing data and
becoming overwhelmed by the data.
After setting up an online form, run a sample report with some
test data. If the system can’t deliver the reports you need, change
the form or create new reports using existing data. It is much
easier to build new reports before registration opens than to wait
until two days before the rooming list is due.
Back to Current Issue indexM&C
| Events Calendar
| Incentive News
| Meetings Market ReportEditorial
| CVB Links
| Reader Survey
| Hot Dates
| Contact M&C