Whether an event will have 25 or 15,000 attendees, meeting planners are responsible for registering them. In some cases, that may mean just taking down names and creating a badge per attendee. For other meetings, you may have to facilitate lead retrieval and integration with various technologies, and create tickets or alternative mechanisms to indicate what specific sessions, events or tours each person plans to attend. You also may have to track attendees' actual participation in sessions, especially for continuing education credits, as well as much more. While registration needs to be the simplest of tasks to your attendees, it can be one of the most complex pieces of meeting planning.
While registration needs to be the simplest of tasks to your attendees, it can be one of the most complex pieces of meeting planning.
EVENT REGISTRATION - PART 2
ON SITE REGISTRATION
Area and space needs
Before selecting an area at the site to handle your registration tasks, whether it's a lobby or a meeting room, consider attendee accessibility and determine your specific registration area space needs, keeping the following in mind:
Overall number of attendees that will be coming through registration lines.
Number of registration counters needed for cashiers, advance materials pickup, etc.
Space needed for registration flow, with the worst-case scenario in mind if you don't have a good history for this event.
Space needed for other registration area desks (restaurant reservations, housing services, etc.).
Consider a cafe area with refreshments near registration to mitigate the "waiting in line" experience.
Space needs for "behind the curtain" activities and storage of materials.
Secure area for financial processing.
Private area to handle challenging attendees or groups.
Assessing your staff
Do you have adequate staff in your organization to handle on-site registration, or will you need to hire temporary help? Ask the local convention and visitors bureau to either provide this service or refer you to CVB members who can.
Training hired help
If you do need to hire temporary help, consider how you will provide training for them. Depending on the complexity of your event, training could be an all-day prior necessity. Printed reference materials for temporary workers are always well received. Hands-on practice provides practical application of policies and procedures.
Good customer service
One of the most critical training topics for temporary workers is to impress upon them the organization's customer service philosophy and how registrants are to be treated; how problems should be addressed and by whom; and that these workers are an extension of the organization's staff.
Money matters onsite
Work with your finance department to determine your procedures and policies for financial processing when onsite. What are the needs to ensure that this process is handled efficiently and safely? Some things to consider:
A separate closed and locked room on which the lock has been "recorded" (i.e., completely replaced) so that only your staff has keys.
A safe for storing cash and checks.
Security guards for registration and to accompany staff for added safety when depositing daily cash receipts.
Application of cash to the master account for the hotel or facility.
Processing credit cards.
Processing refunds and substitutions.
Determine what equipment you will need to rent and how to find vendors for that equipment. A single vendor tends to make deliveries and returns easier on staff. Consider the following:
Computers and Internet connections.
Data lines for credit card machines.
Printers and paper.
Office supplies for counters, especially pens.
Tools for staff or temporary help to sit at the counters.
Tables for storage.
Tables or counters for completing forms.
Ropes and stanchions for line tending.
Walkie-talkies for registration supervisors.
Wheelchairs and other services to accommodate requirements.
Decide exactly who has the responsibility for reporting numbers and financials on site. Designate one staff member to have a set appointment at the same time each day to collect this information, to avoid having multiple onsite staff members requesting the same information at various times of day, which could result in confusion. Post information in a staff-only access area.
Attendees will always have complaints, because nothing is perfect. Decide how you plan to handle various attendee complaints, special issues, unexpected long waits, traffic control, emergencies, and any other of the myriad challenges that may arise.