In a company of 25 people; putting on a marketing event and charging an entry fee could give the event administrator a severe headache. Patricia Thomson was in this position only last week. Her “normal” job of Marketing Assistant still had to run while she organized the seminars and she realized she could be handling hundreds of enquiries over the period. This was their first venture into this type of event and the company’s accounts department was not really set up for a mass influx of small payments.
The registration and payment procedure that you use should be as professional as you can make it. This fairly small part of the overall event paints a very vivid picture to your delegates of your capability and will be their first evidence of how the whole event experience is likely to be. If you handle this phase flawlessly, you may be excused small hiccups along the way. Make a mess of things here and your delegates will start marking your report card with red ink.
The registration procedure
Take some time with your administrative staff to draw up a detailed process that should be followed consistently by anyone who takes a booking. Please don’t just hand them a procedure that you have designed because you will end up shouldering the responsibility for any mistakes that are made down the line. If the process is co-owned by everyone involved, they will feel more motivated to change the process to ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated.
A typical procedure will consider all of the following:
• How will bookings be taken?
• By mail
• By phone
• By Email
• What type of database will the administrators use?
• Paper based system
• Relational database
• If an online booking system is to be used, will it be in-house or outsourced to an organization like mybookingmanager.com?
• If an outsourced online booking system is used how will you synchronize the data and how frequently will you do this?
• Will payments be accepted using bank transfer, credit card, business and/or personal check?
• How frequently will the event managers and the event caterers require updates on booking statistics and delegate details?
Patricia took one look at the checklist and started researching online booking agents immediately. She reasoned that the workload necessary to do a first class job would probably entail bringing in a temp and training him/her to do the job that the online booking agent could handle easily. The cost of having a temp in their already cramped office and the thought of designing a system, training them to use it and finding work for them to do when the phone wasn’t ringing was already giving her that headache. She also decided that the cach é of being able to offer round-the-clock facilities for credit card booking and also a 24 hour telephone answering service would impress their intended delegates.
This week the bookings are rolling in.