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 March 1, 2022

Are These 5 Registration Barriers Costing Your Business Event Sign-Ups?

As kids here in the northeast celebrated their 100th day of school, I was quickly reminded that I need to start planning for the summer camps my son will attend.

Last year, camps seemed to sell out overnight!

In early April, I found myself trying to cobble together weeks at different camps to keep my son active and having fun throughout the summer.

After an exhausting 2-day scavenger hunt, I was FINALLY able to secure camp sports in several camps and plug in activities for each week.

What would have made the camp sign-up process easier for me as a parent?

Here’s a look at common registration barriers and what YOU can do as an event organizer to get rid of the obstacles and ensure your sign-up process is up to par.

Registration Barrier #1:
You’re not promoting your event far enough in advance.

 

 

Last year, most camps hadn’t started promoting until late March. This late advertising created a frenzy … hundreds of parents trying to quickly register their children for camp.

It was hectic.

Stressful.

It felt like I was trying to score tickets to the world’s hottest rock concert, but without an ounce of fun.

It didn’t have to be that way.

THE FIX: Start promoting your event 4 months ahead of time or at minimum 3 months in advance of its start date.

For example, if you’re running a summer camp that starts Jun. 13, the latest you should begin promoting your camp is March 13.

Not only will this ample promotional time give parents enough time to register, it’ll give you more time to promote your event and increase your chances of filling every single spot.

Registration Barrier #2:
You’re using paper registration forms.

 

Surprisingly, many camps still to this day have paper or in-person registration forms with a call to action to call or email for more information.

When registering my son for camp, I don’t want to wait for a return call to find out if there’s availability at the camp.

I don’t want to print out a form, drive down to the registration spot, wait in a line, and cut a check to find out if I can secure a spot.

I want peace of mind immediately knowing there’s availability. I want to register for camp online when it’s convenient for my schedule. I’ll even pay an extra fee for that convenience. Take my money!

THE FIX: Use an online event registration system to take your sign-ups and payments online.

Consumers are accustomed to registering and paying for programs and services online. Your event shouldn’t be treated any differently.

By having your sign-up process online 24/7, you met consumers’ expectations and increase the likelihood that parents will register their child for your event.  

Having the sign-up process online also makes things a lot easier for you and your staff.

No more trips to the bank to deposit checks and cash. No more trying to figure out impossible-to-read handwriting on paper registration forms. No more having to key in registration information into Excel. All those pesky, painstaking tasks are eliminated with online registration software.

Registration Barrier #3:
You’re not offering special incentives to drive registrations.

 

Ultimately, I booked 8 weeks of camp with 4 different providers. There was nothing enticing me to book multiple weeks with one provider. No multi-week discounts. No payment plan. Nothing.

THE FIX: If you’re running an event like a summer camp with multiple weeks, consider adding a multi-week discount to encourage registrants to book multiple weeks.

For example. if you’re running an 8-week camp and the price per camper is $175, offer $1,260 for the entire 8-week program. (a $140 discount)

Another incentive to consider when running a higher-priced event like a camp is offering payment plans.

For example, in the Member Solutions event registration software, you can set a minimum initial payment, then offer a payment plan where parents pay the remainder of the total camp fee in installments leading up to the start of camp.

Payment plans offer convenient financing for parents allowing parents to pay the total camp fee over time.

Registration Barrier #4:
You’re still using paper waivers and asking parents to print them out and deliver them to you. 

 

Each time my son started a new camp, I knew it meant another registration line and more time. 😕 All the camps had paper waivers that needed to be signed — on site!

THE FIX: Incorporate electronic waivers into your registration process.

With a tool like Event Manager software, you can copy and paste the content of your waiver into the software and send the online waiver link to parents by email or text for signature.

Having your waiver online makes the process incredibly convenient for your registrants and it keeps paperwork neat and tidy for you.

You’ll be notified by email when the waiver is agreed upon and completed. And, all online waivers will be securely stored in one spot within the software.

Registration Barrier #5:
You only accept cash and checks for payment.

 

It’s hard to believe, but a lot of camps still take cash or check only these days. This creates friction for the parent signing their child up for your event as they’re accustomed to paying for products and services with their credit card or through bank account withdrawal.

THE FIX: Take your registration payments online. With online registration software, you can set up your account to accept credit card payments — VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover —  and ACH/EFT payments (bank account withdrawals).

By accepting credit card and ACH/EFT payments, you’ll increase the likelihood that parents will sign their child up for your event.

Plus, you make the payment process incredibly easy for you and your staff.

Again, no more trips to the bank to deposit checks and cash.

No more worrying about keeping the cash and checks safe until you do deposit them.

With online registration software, the event payments go directly into your bank account.

BONUS TAKEAWAY! 💥

Ultimately, the best and quickest way to see if your sign-up process is costing you registrations is something you can do RIGHT NOW.

Have a friend or family member go through your current sign-up and payment process for an upcoming event and then report back to you what they liked and didn’t like. Ask them to provide HONEST feedback.

Then, take their feedback and use it to improve the user experience.

By improving the user experience, you’ll improve your event sign-ups, and in turn, improve your overall registration results.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kristen Kercheval is Director of Client Success, Sales, and Marketing for Member Solutions. 

Hosting a Summer Camp?

Take Sign-Ups & Payments Online — Instantly!

Taking camp sign-ups and payments online is simple, fast, and secure with Event Manager software by Member Solutions! 

In 30 minutes or less, you can create an attention-grabbing registration page that captures all your camper info, then easily download the info into an organized spreadsheet! 

Even better, camp payments get DIRECTLY DEPOSITED to your bank account! That’s right, no more time-consuming trips to the bank to deposit checks or cash. 

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