How to Use Your Online Registration to Make Your Conference Program a Success

Ever plan a conference where some rooms are overflowing while other rooms sit mostly empty? Did you ever have to face angry attendees that were turned away from a highly anticipated presentation because the session could not sit another person? Planners know that the latter case can seriously “ding” your overall conference survey scores because people do not forget the sessions they were forced to miss.

Fortunately, you can use your online registration form to solve many of these problems. By letting attendees build their itinerary at the time of sign up, you can get an accurate picture of what your customers want while, at the same time, informing them of other possibilities.

Here are some good reasons to include itinerary building on your online registration form:

  • Reports on the sessions chosen will help you avoid the awful problems mentioned earlier – namely you can identify the programs of greatest interest and set them in appropriately large rooms.

  • If some sessions are particularly popular, it is possible to start planning for overflow rooms or even develop a live streaming strategy.

  • If you can detect hot topic trends early in the registration process, you would still have time to add items to your schedule to further market items of interest.

  • Attendees are able to prepare their itinerary in advance of the show.

  • The itinerary can be downloaded to the mobile attendee app so people easily reference and update their schedule.

So how should you present your schedule in advance of the show?

  • If you have a large program, you should have a separate schedule web page where registrants can browse sessions by filters like date and track. All sessions should cross-reference presenter pages which should include bio, credentials, photo and so forth.

  • Unless your schedule is small, the program should be displayed on its own page in the registration process.

  • At a minimum, your program should show title and time for all appropriate sessions. Breakouts should be grouped together by time.

  • It is ideal to have a short description associated with your sessions and breakouts. It can be inline on the form, but more often a detailed popup would be great. The popup should include a detailed description of the contents of the session and a list of speakers. Photos of speakers can be a nice addition.

  • If you have the session is tied to a room, the form should say something like “Sold Out” and not be available for selection if the capacity is hit.

  • If you are able to manage it, sold out sessions should offer wait listing to interested attendees.

  • If your sessions are of premium interest, you may want to show the number of seats remaining.

With great online registration software, many logistical tasks such as scheduling room assignments can be performed more simply and with greater accuracy.