As an event organizer, you already know that your attendee registration system is more than a front door – it’s a customer experience that sets the tone for the entire event. That’s why, once you’ve defined your registration process, you’ll want to be just as careful to choose the perfect registration company to help you execute that flawless attendee experience, especially if you want to deliver a high level of customer service.
Here’s how to research, evaluate and select the perfect conference registration vendor:
1. Get the Referrals. Ask planners you know and trust for recommendations. Your goal should be to identify three to four potential vendors to evaluate.
2. Prepare your RFP. The Request for Proposal is very important to ensure that your prospective registration firm can meet all of your objectives. Be sure to include the following information about your event:
- Dates and location
- Event overview – a quick description of what the event is about
- Audience profile
- Number of attendees expected
- Types of attendees (speaker, paying, complimentary, sponsor, staff, etc.)
- Questions you need to ask the attendees to answer when they register
- Pricing grid and options
- Reports that you will require
Key questions to ask when sending out your RFP:
- Customer service: When is customer service available (times) and how (email, phone & fax)? If by phone, will your event have a dedicated line? How many customer service representatives are working on your particular event?
- Fees: What will be the cost of merchant fees tied into each charge?
- Accounting: How does the revenue captured by the registration company get delivered to your accounting team — and how often can it be transferred into your firm’s own bank account?
You should also ask for a minimum of three client references, as well as information about recent events that the vendor has managed for those clients. (Were they in a similar industry as your event? Did they have a similar attendee profile?)
3. Organize the Bids. Create a spreadsheet that includes your checklist of all the items you have requested the vendors to submit. This will allow you to organize the information you receive from the vendors in a way that both reflects your needs and makes it possible to do a side-by-side comparison.
You now have everything you need to make an informed decision about who your registration vendor should be!
Let me know if you have any additional tips that you can share!