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5 Advantages to Taking Your Event Registration Online

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With an increasingly competitive events industry and all of the work that goes into hosting a marathon or local 5k, many event organizers are looking for innovative ways to streamline their workload and at the same time grow their event's prestige and overall participant satisfaction.  While the growing trend is to take all aspects of event management online with event registration software, many event organizers are still wary that that their participants will be scared away at the thought of submitting their data online.  Here are some advantages to going with online registration that may put your mind at ease...

1.    Quick and easy registration for the participant.  Paper registration requires the entrant to download the form and print it or pick up a copy from the event office, fill it out, write a cheque, and then either pay postage to mail it back or get in their car to drop it off.  Online entry is a fast and seamless experience for a participant linking to the form from your official event website.  The online registration form can have the same look and feel as your site so that the registrant feels like he has never left the website.  An online registrant can quickly fill out a simple online form that has been custom tailored to only collect the information required of a person entering their category (Adult, Child, 10k, 5k, etc) and submit it to your database within minutes.

2.    Automatic confirmation emails.  The average turn-a-round time from the day a paper entry form is received to when the entrant gets a confirmation of registration can take days or even weeks.  Events accepting paper registration forms may spend a good portion of their work day answering phone calls and emails from registrants curious to hear if their cheque and information has been received.  Most online registration software will automatically send a follow-up email to the participant notifying them that their payment has been received and space reserved in the event.  This instant confirmation will give your participants peace of mind and also reduce the administrative work required to reply to concerned registrants wondering about the status of their entry.

3.    Online data submission is secure.  Having said this, there are always exceptions and I would strongly suggest that when you shop around for an online registration provider, you should inquire about their security standards and the safeguards they have put in place to guarantee that your participant's data is held in a secure environment.  Once you have found a software that stores data behind a firewall and encrypts all payment information, you can rest assured that hosting your participant data online is as secure if not more secure than asking them to send payment and personal information by snail mail.

4.    Real-time reports.  One of the complaints that most event organizers have is that they never know how many people will be showing up to the event until the very last days of the registration period.  Accepting paper registration forms requires manual updates to attendee reports and especially in those last days leading up to the event, the workload can be hard to keep up with!  An online registration system will offer you the ability to watch your registration data flow into the database in real-time.  This means you can get a more accurate count of expected participants and the supplies needed to support them when they show up to the event.

5.    Using less paper is good for the environment.  This may seem a bit trivial, but with the growing trend of people altering their daily lives to reduce their personal impact on the environment, more and more event organizers are also doing their part and in the process finding that "Going Green" and eliminating their paper entry forms is appealing to the athlete community.  Developing an environmental impact statement and branding your event as a "Green Event" is not only good for the environment but may prove valuable to your marketing campaign.

In summary, with more and more people describing themselves as "tech savvy" these days, there is no reason to believe that your event participants will turn up their noses to online registration.  People are becoming increasingly comfortable with online transactions and event organizers have much to gain from new online technologies that can streamline their workload.