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The Ultimate Guide to Online Event Registration and Ticketing

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Looking to streamline your event registration and ticketing process? Our expert guide has got you covered. With insider tips and tricks, you'll learn how to choose the best event registration platform, set the perfect price for your tickets, and optimize the registration experience to sell out your event.

Online Event Registration and Ticketing

To ensure a shared understanding of the terms being used, let's begin by defining online event registration and ticketing.

What is online registration?

Online registration is the process of entering information into a digital form to secure a spot in an event or activity. This can be for a physical or virtual event, or for other purposes such as joining a mailing list, getting discount codes, or receiving special offers.

During online registration, users usually provide standard personal information such as name and contact details. Depending on the purpose of the registration form, other details such as date of birth and occupation may also be required.

What is event ticketing?

Event ticketing is similar to event registration, except it is always associated with an event. When purchasing tickets, users will input basic information such as name, contact info, and any relevant custom fields. After registration and payment are processed, users will receive a digital or physical ticket (or both).

Why should I use online event registration and ticketing?

With so much of our lives conducted online, it makes sense to also handle event registration and ticketing online. Paper registration forms and physical tickets can cause more problems than they are worth, and switching to online options will not only make event management easier, but also improve the attendee experience.

Online registration and ticketing actually offers several benefits, including:

  • Accessibility: Taking operations online allows interested parties to purchase tickets and register from any place in the world that has online access. The easier you make it for people to register or purchase tickets, the more likely they are to do so.
  • Time Savings: Using a ticketing system or event registration platform can turn users into registrants at the click of a button. No more handwritten forms, no more waiting in line, and no more potentially time-consuming face-to-face interactions.
  • Cost Savings: Event organizers understand that customer satisfaction is the name of the game. Beyond saving registrants' time, you can reduce event costs by reducing the staff required for registration and ticketing. These savings can be passed on to the registrants!
  • Improved Event Management: An online tool can streamline your event planning process and provide you with better access to data that can help you plan and evaluate your event. A good platform can allow you to monitor sales data in real-time, analyze attendee details, and shape your marketing strategy to better meet your event goals.
  • Eco-Friendliness: Anything that can be done to reduce the use of paper can help the environment. Online registration and ticketing mean less paper and a less harmful environmental impact.

Now that you fully understand the what and the why of online event registration and ticketing, it’s time to look at the things you should consider when choosing an event registration software .

Choosing an Online Event Registration and Ticketing Platform

event planners thinking deeply about choosing the right registration and event management tool with registration website and online payments capabilities

There are many event registration and ticketing tools available online, but how do you know which one is right for you? In addition to finding the most suitable ticketing and registration solution for your specific needs, you should also consider the pricing structure.

How much will it cost?

Price is often a key consideration when comparing products, and prices can vary greatly between different platforms. Typically, registration and ticketing platforms break down pricing using one (or a combination of) the following:

  • Flat fee per ticket or registration -- example: $1 per ticket sold
  • Percentage cost per ticket -- example: 1% of the ticket sale amount

These pricing options may seem straightforward, but the way providers implement and apply them can vary greatly. For example, some providers will charge a small flat fee (or none at all), but take a large percentage of the ticket sale amount. Other providers will charge a higher flat fee but not take a percentage at all.

Once you fully understand a provider’s service fees and fee structure, you can begin to determine whether or not the costs fit into your event budget.

One final thought: Before you move forward with any platform make sure you have all the information you need regarding credit card processing fees. Because you’ll collect payments online, the majority of sales will be charged to credit cards, incurring processing fees. Always ask about any associated credit card fees when assessing potential providers.

Who is responsible for paying fees?

“Fee responsibility” refers to the party that will ultimately pay the online registration and/or ticketing fees charged by the provider. There are two ways this could go:

  1. The host organization pays the fees
  2. The ticket buyer/registrant pays the fees

In the first scenario, the host organization will cover all fees. While the individual fees may not seem like much, they can accumulate quickly and become a very significant cost.

In the second scenario, the fees will be absorbed by event attendees when they purchase tickets or register to attend. Choosing this option means that the cost of the software tools will be next to free for you or the host organization. The ability to pass fees on to the buyer can be a significant advantage, particularly to small organizations or non-profits.

Now that some of the cost considerations are out of the way, it’s time to consider some of the features you should be looking for in registration and ticketing software!

Can I create ticket types?

Flexibility is key when it comes to creating an event that suits both your organization and the needs of your audience. The ability to customize ticket types will help you tailor the ticketing software to your specific requirements. Common ticket types and ticket customizations include:

  • Creating different ticket tiers and different ticket pricing
  • Choosing start and end dates for ticket sales and registration
  • Specifying the number of registration slots or tickets available for an event
  • Creating groupings or bundles (individual tickets or tables)
  • Adding discount codes or hidden offers

If you are even remotely considering offering ‘early bird’ tickets or tickets with different access levels, this will be a valuable function, so be sure not to overlook this capability when selecting a platform.

Can I design a branded registration page?

One of the most important steps you can take to promote your event and get the most from your event marketing strategy is to create an event website. Selling people on your event involves carefully planned branding that not only speaks to a specific audience but details who you are and what you’re all about. Branding (when done properly) allows you to tell a story and to create connections.

Look for a registration and ticketing platform with these customizable features:

  • The ability to add your brand’s unique story and message AND have it displayed prominently on your event page.
  • The option to customize colors and add your own logo and images. Consistent branding will help connect people with your brand at the event.
event planner modifying an event registration page template to add an event description, stripe and paypal payment options and a rsvp form

Can I collect custom registration information?

The data collected from your registrants can help you segment your attendee list and create communication and marketing strategies that are tailored to each segment.

Keep in mind that the data that is important to you may not be relevant or significant to another organization. That's why it's essential to have the ability to add custom fields to your online event registration form.

Some custom fields to consider are:

  • Company name
  • Size of business or organization
  • Job title
  • Industry
  • Date of birth
  • Dietary restrictions
  • Special accommodations (e.g. wheelchair access)
  • T-shirt size (for events with t-shirts or other merchandise)
  • Session preferences or interests
  • Marketing opt-in preferences
  • Past event attendance
  • Referral source (e.g. "How did you hear about this event?")
  • Demographic information (e.g. age, gender)
  • Social media handle
  • Phone number
  • Mailing address

Can this help me streamline my check-in process?

Anyone who has ever attended or hosted an event knows that event check-in can be a little hairy. Online registration and ticketing can help you streamline the check-in process - assuming your provider has the right features. And if they do, you’ll be amazed at how painless check-in can actually be. Look for:

  • Ticket Issuance: When someone registers or purchases a ticket, do they receive a confirmation email? Do they receive a ticket via email? The best platforms will email a digital ticket with an option to print a PDF of the ticket.
  • QR Code Reading: To improve the check-in process and satisfy both your management team and attendees, look for a provider that enables QR code scanning, making check-in as simple as pointing a phone’s camera at the code!
  • Guest Lookup: Because sometimes guests can’t find their tickets, look for a guest lookup feature as a backup. This will allow staff to search for registrants by name and then manually mark them as “checked in.”

What integrations are available?

When purchasing an event registration platform, it's important to consider the types of software integrations offered.

Native integrations refer to integrations that are built directly into the event registration platform. These integrations are typically more seamless and easier to use, as they are designed specifically for the platform. Examples of native integrations include integration with popular payment gateways, email marketing platforms, or CRMs.

Integrations via Zapier are a bit different. Zapier is a third-party tool that enables you to connect different apps in order to automate tasks and streamline workflows. If an event registration platform offers integrations via Zapier, it means that you can use Zapier to connect the platform with other tools, even if they don't offer a native integration.

API integrations are a more technical way to connect different software systems. API stands for "Application Programming Interface," and it refers to a set of protocols and tools that allow different software systems to communicate with each other. If an event registration platform offers API integrations, it means that developers can use the API to build custom integrations or connect the platform to other tools in an advanced fashion.

When selecting an event software solution, consider one that offers multiple integration options like Accelevents. This will allow you to easily integrate the platform with your tech stack.

Is there 24/7 customer support?

If a platform has strong customer support, you can breathe a little easier. Not only will you have the assistance you may need when setting up your event, but 24/7 support can also help you out during the event as well. Event planners typically look for a provider that has around-the-clock customer support through live chat or phone.

picture of friendly customer rep explaining how to embed an event ticketing widget into a customer’s website

Ticketing 101: How to Price Your Event

What are common pricing strategies?

Now that you know what to look for an online event registration and ticketing platform, it’s time to put it to use. Before you open registration or start selling tickets online, you need to determine a pricing strategy. The most common pricing strategies are:

  • Cost-Plus Pricing: With this strategy, event organizers add up all of their costs and determine a price that is higher than these costs and within the target profit margin.
  • Comparative or Competitive Pricing: With this strategy, ticket price is based on the ticket prices for similar events.

How do I determine my optimal pricing ?

Cost-plus and comparative pricing are common pricing methods, but they are not optimal. Instead, try a strategy that takes the perceived value of the event and the actual event costs into account.

What is the perceived value of an event?

The perceived value of an event is the value that attendees expect to receive from participating. This value can be influenced by factors such as the level of enjoyment or entertainment, positive emotions derived from spending time with friends and family, and any added value such as networking opportunities or exclusive experiences. When determining ticket prices, it is important to accurately estimate perceived value of the event for guests, as they may not be willing to pay more than they feel the event is worth.

How do I set the right ticket price?

When it comes to evaluating actual event costs, you will find they typically come in two forms - fixed and variable.

  • Fixed Costs: These costs will remain constant throughout the event planning process. They may include things like staff costs, venue rental, and decorations.
  • Variable Costs: These costs will change depending on the size of the event and the resources required. They may include things like food and beverage costs and swag or gift bags.

Once you have a clear understanding of your costs and the perceived value of your event, you can set a price that covers your expenses while still offering a value that meets or exceeds the expectations of your guests. The goal is to find a balance that allows you to be profitable while still offering a fair and enjoyable experience for attendees.

How to Optimize Ticket Pricing

Here are a few tips that can help you optimize your pricing strategy:

Boost the perceived value

While the perceived value of your event will largely depend on the opinions of your guests, there are ways to increase the value of your event and give yourself an edge. Try:

  • VIP Tickets: Offer exclusive perks and benefits, such as access to a VIP lounge or private meet and greet with performers.
  • Early Access Tickets: Offering the opportunity to enter the event before general admission ticket holders.
  • Limited Edition Tickets: Create a sense of scarcity by offering a limited number of tickets.
  • Premium Seating Tickets: Offer tickets with prime seating or viewing locations.
  • Package Deals: Offering bundle packages that include tickets, merchandise, and other perks.

Gradually Increase your ticket prices

To create a sense of urgency for attendees increase ticket prices as the event approaches. Consider creating the following ticket tiers:

  • Early Bird: Discounted tickets available for a limited time
  • General Admission: Mid-range priced tickets
  • Last Minute: Higher priced tickets available for a shorter period before the event
  • At the Door: Highest priced tickets available on the day of the event
picture of potential attendee using his mobile app to study the best event ticketing option and add ons for a future onsite event

Tying It All Together: How to Sell Out Your Event

Now that you've selected a registration software and online ticketing provider, determined your ticket prices, and completed your final preparations, it's time to start selling!

Leverage FOMO

To increase ticket sales, use fear of missing out (FOMO) tactics such as offering different ticket tiers and displaying the remaining ticket count on your registration page. This can create a sense of urgency and encourage your audience to purchase tickets right away.

Many ticketing and registration systems allow you to track your sales numbers internally, but the best ones also provide the option to show the number of remaining tickets for each ticket type.

Draw on past attendees

With online event registration and ticketing platforms, you can collect valuable contact information from all of your attendees. This data can be instrumental in promoting future events. Use it to reach out to past attendees and encourage them to attend and promote your next event to their network. Or create targeted marketing campaigns to specific audience segments, such as those who have attended similar events or expressed interest in your event topic.

Enlist your network and supporters

Your event management staff, event committee, and volunteers are already fully on board with your event and feel strongly about it. Tap into their passion by asking them to promote your event among their personal networks. This can build momentum and create a little buzz. The result? A rush on early ticket sales!

Use social media

Here are some tips for using social media to promote an event:

Leverage ALL social media channels: Share teasers and updates about your event and drive scarcity by announcing the number of tickets remaining.

Utilize relevant hashtags: Create a unique hashtag for your event and encourage attendees to use it when posting about the event on social media.

Create impactful visuals: Use high-quality photos and videos to promote your event on social media. This can include behind-the-scenes glimpses, interviews with speakers or performers, or highlights from past events.

Use social media ads: Consider running paid social media ads to promote your event to a targeted audience. Make sure to carefully define your target audience and create engaging ad content.

Engage with your followers: Make sure to regularly interact with your followers on social media. This can include answering questions, responding to comments, and sharing relevant content.

Collaborate with influencers: Collaborate with influencers or industry thought leaders in your event's topic to reach a larger audience and increase the credibility of your event.

Run a ticket giveaway

Hosting a ticket giveaway can be a great way to increase ticket sales and engage your audience. By offering tickets as a prize for completing a task or series of tasks, such as sharing your event on social media, liking your branded pages, or referring a friend to buy a ticket, you can motivate guests and potential ticket buyers to participate. Just be sure to consider the number of tickets you give away to protect your profits.

picture of happy attendee getting a notification about winning a free event ticket which illustrates how ticket giveaways boost attendee engagement

Consider every marketing channel

Sure, promoting your event is a no-brainer, but have you actually taken the time to map out all of the different ways you can do this? To help get the juices flowing (and make life easier), we’ve put together a handy list of event marketing strategies and promotion ideas. From choosing a cool venue to selling tickets online, our list will help!

Congratulations On Making It To The End Of This Guide!

You now have all the information you need to begin planning your next successful event. While the registration process and ticket sales can feel complicated and a little overwhelming at times, this guide, coupled with an event registration software like Accelevents, can help find the success you are after!

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