In its simplest form,
online registration is a web-based questionnaire that attendees
fill out and submit to the planning or registration department.
Today, a vast number of companies provide online registration
services at many levels. Before assessing such vendors, determine
* Is there a core
database of names and addresses that your firm or association
markets to (for meetings or products) on a recurring basis? Is
there value in being able to track who responds, who attends and
what they attend?
* Do you use your
online registration to clean your mailing lists (tracking invalid
e-mail addresses or asking people to update their information in
your database)? Or are you more interested in getting people to
attend and need it to be more of a marketing tool?
After considering data requirements,
consider budget. Typically, most online systems charge a setup fee
and then may charge either a flat rate based on the number of
anticipated registrants or a predetermined rate per registrant.
Options will range from systems that provide you with a database
and import utilities to bring in your data to seed the database, to
solutions where attendees enter their information when they
Additional charges may be incurred for
site design; for setting up pages to reflect your brand; for
special fields or information that needs to be tracked; for special
programming required for billing options, and possibly for
transaction fees for credit card payments made online. Be careful
with credit card payments; make sure the payments being made are
going directly to your merchant account rather than to the
While it is virtually impossible to
list all of the online registration providers out there, following
is a list of some prominent firms. (Note: Rates are not listed, as
they will be determined by a number of factors, including the total
number of registrants, the length of time you need the system
available, the nature of your meeting and the manner in which you
want the final information delivered to you.)
* Acteva (www.acteva.com). This
San Francisco-based company offers comprehensive marketing support
* Attendee Management
Inc. (www.attendeenet.com). Based in Wimberley, Texas, this
firm works with planners to determine the best technology to use
and then facilitates the process, offering online, phone and fax
* Certain Software (www.certain.com).
Check out this San Francisco-based firm’s “Ten Tips for Successful
* Cvent (www.cvent.com). The
McLean, Va.-based firm’s website has a list of questions for
planners to ask online registration providers.
* 123Signup (www.123signup.com).
Based in San Jose, Calif., 123Signup has a wide range of services
for events, membership and training.
* Registration 123 (www.registration123.com). The Geneva, Ill., company
offers a full range of management services for meetings and
* Regonline (www.regonline.com).
The Boulder, Colo.-
based company offers planners per-attendee pricing, easy-to-review
online pricing and estimators for pricing out their services.
* Smart-reg (www.smartreg.com).
This Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm provides broad-based solutions
including lead retrieval, attendance and tracking.
* Thriva (www.thriva.com). This
Bothell, Wash.- based company has a variety of solutions for
meetings registration, in addition to registration for schools and
Bob Walters,based in Fort Worth, Texas, is founder of Phoenix Solutions
and developer of MeetingTrak Software.