Though it may come as a surprise to many people, building an effective online event registration form can be quite complicated. Finding a balance between asking for information you need, without being overwhelming and risking losing a potential registrant, is not an easy task. Not to mention the fact that many form builders can be difficult to navigate, both for event planners and the attendees attempting to use it! That’s why we’ve given you this quick-reference list to help simplify the process.
In our experience, there are 7 items that you should ALWAYS include on an online event registration form. Use this as a guide any time you start to build one:
1.Event name, date, location, and a short description
Duh, right? But you’d be surprised how many event planners forget to include this crucial information on the form itself. Consider how your registrants will land on your form: If they click a direct link off an email or social media post, they may miss the actual event listing on your website with this basic information.
Similar to the above, if there’s a cost to attend your event then this should be clearly stated. If there’s no cost, then consider stating that, too! People love a free event – and as a result, they will love you for it.
3. Event branding
Wherever your event registration form is hosted online, it should match the look and feel of your event. This functionality is a MUST when using event management software. If your form doesn’t look associated with your event, it could cause people to get skittish and bail before they register.
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4. Make the email address field required
So much event communication happens over email. You’ll want to be able to confirm registrations, send important details leading up to it, and follow-up with a post-event survey – so don’t let your registrants skip out on this! Pro tip: If your registration form allows people to register multiple attendees, make the email address required for all of them.
5. Your own email address
Reciprocate the above requirement by providing your contact information. Questions will undoubtedly crop up, so give potential registrants a place to ask. (And then answer them quickly so they complete their registration.)
6. Fields that’ll collect data to improve the attendee experience:
Here’s where our suggestions become less specific, since these fields depend greatly on your event and goals. Here are a few examples:
- If your event includes meals, consider asking about dietary preferences and restrictions – and follow through on providing a variety of options to the best of your ability!
- Providing an optional field for social media profiles is a great way to create buzz before your event and creatively influence the event promotion process before, during, and after the event has concluded!
- Ask registrants for more specific “demographics” in your online event registration form so that you can group attendees for meaningful activities. This is especially applicable to larger conferences as well. If you can gather all of your marketing folks, or all of your entry-level attendees, for a panel discussion, then it’ll be more targeted and impactful.
- You may also consider asking registrants for a phone number (be sure to let them know it would only be used for text messages with the ability to opt-out at any time). This way you can text attendees a personalized link to download your event’s dedicated conference app where you can send updates in real-time and let attendees craft custom itineraries.
- If you plan on hosting a virtual conference, or adding a virtual element to your in-person event (what’s known as a “hybrid” event), consider creating a form field that asks registrants if they have ever attended a virtual event before. This will provide valuable information that you can use to target attendees who are new to virtual events and follow up with a “What to Expect” email.
7. Refund and cancellation information
Things happen! You’ll want people to register comfortably knowing that if something comes up, they’ll have the flexibility to receive a refund or apply their ticket forward to another event or conference. Make your policy super clear, though, so there’s no back-and-forth. You might consider adding an external link in your online event registration form that sends users to your cancellation policy for reference and clarity – this is especially useful if your event is outside or weather-dependent.
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While these are the basics we recommend including for any event, there’s a lot more to consider. With various options to choose from, the best event management software will include a host of tools and features that work best for all of your event planning needs. If you’re on the hunt for an online event registration system, here are five questions you NEED to ask yourself: