Ways to Make Sure People Pay Their Registration Fees

PaymentIn a perfect world everybody would pay their registration online with the amount due in full and with a credit card. Unfortunately, in many cases that may not be the only way to register that you’ll be able to offer. Especially with meetings with high fees or a large number of government or international attendees, you may have to offer the choice of registering with a Purchase Order or a promise that a check or wire transfer will be issued.

If your meeting is in this category, you know that this creates a ton of extra work and can hurt cash flow. Even worse, you may face the possibility of deadbeats who attend your conference and then don’t pay. Here are a couple of ways in which you can offset these negatives yet still offer alternatives to payment in full with credit card.

  • When non-payment registration options are chosen, you should issue invoices immediately via Email.

  • Since many accountants complain about “Email” invoices, you can make the invoices look more formal by also offering a PDF invoice. For some reason, many accountants feel more comfortable with a PDF invoice than one that was simply send via Email. The confirmation Email should include a link to the PDF.

  • It is absolutely critical to ask for the billing contact before issuing the invoice. In many situations the person or people being registered are not the person responsible for the payment of the invoice. It will greatly improve your process if you have a separate form asking explicitly for the billing contact.

  • If you are taking purchase orders, make sure to ask for the PO number.

  • Your back-end reporting should assist you in this process. In particular, you should have real-time balance due reports and be able to resend the invoices at any time.

  • Some agencies will require you to mail invoices. Your registration software should allow you to print invoices complete with mailing labels.

  • You should be able to Email reminders to just those people with outstanding invoices. Emails should be customizable with the wording you need and be sent out as frequently as needed.

  • All you messaging should make it clear that full payment is required by a certain day or at the start of the conference. Do NOT leave the payment due date open. If you do not offer a specific drop dead point for payment, you are opening yourself up to deadbeats.

  • If you have an onsite payment policy, be prepared to have to enforce it. Your badge printing program should make it easy for you to identify people who have not paid so you can direct them to the payment line.
  • At the conference, do not listen to sob stories about being unable to pay. Make the unpaid registrant call their billing office so you can speak to an accounts receivable person directly.

  • Your online registration system should make it easy for you to record payments of any type – be it credit card, check, cash or wire transfer.