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Online Registration - Best Practices Today and Tomorrow


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Presented at the SGMP National Education Conference, May 21, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, MO.

Online registration is an essential tool for meeting planners in their drive to reduce costs and increase convenience for their attendees. This session will show how event registration has changed over the years, and will describe current and emerging best practices. You will discover the most cost-effective options to provide a Web presence for your events and how email can best be used in online communication with your meeting attendees. We will explain how to use current state-of-the-art tools to avoid drowning in data and how to create custom reports that can be delivered in common formats. You also will receive answers to such questions as,

• What special considerations do government events have for online registration?
• What are the security, privacy, and compliance issues behind online registration?
• How does an online registration system fit into social networks and my event community?

In addition, you will learn about the Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) initiative sponsored by SGMP and other associations in the meetings and group travel industry. APEX is producing open standards for electronic data transfer of event RFPs, rooming lists, and event specification guides between meeting professionals and hotel suppliers.

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Online Registration - Best Practices Today and Tomorrow

  1. 1. Online Registration for Meetings: Best Practices Today and Tomorrow<br />Rick Borry<br />Chief Software Architect<br />Certain Software<br />
  2. 2. Outline<br />The “Cutting Edge”<br />Current Best Practices<br />Software as a Service (SaaS)<br />Customize and Personalize<br />Payment Card Industry (PCI)<br />ADA / Section 508<br />Future Best Practices<br />Web 2.0, Social Networking<br />
  3. 3. 1980: Phone, fax, note cards, checks<br />Mail<br />Phone<br />Fax<br />Data Entry<br />Attendees<br />Planner<br />Confirmation letters<br />Suppliers<br />Reports<br />
  4. 4. 1990: Windows, Spreadsheets<br />Mail<br />Phone<br />Fax<br />E-mail<br />Data Entry<br />Attendees<br />Planner<br />Confirmation letters<br />Suppliers<br />Reports<br />
  5. 5. 2000: Web-Based Registration<br />Web Sites<br />Planner<br />Reports<br />Attendees<br />Online Registration<br />Suppliers<br />E-mail<br />
  6. 6. 2010: Web 2.0(Virtual events, Social networks, Smart phones)<br />Web Sites<br />Planner<br />Reports<br />Attendees<br />Forms<br />Forums<br />Social networks<br />Suppliers<br />Blogs<br />
  7. 7. Outline and Objectives<br />The “Cutting Edge”<br />Current Best Practices<br />Software as a Service (SaaS)<br />Customize and Personalize<br />Payment Card Industry (PCI)<br />ADA / Section 508<br />Future Best Practices<br />Web 2.0<br />Social Networking<br />
  8. 8. Your event management software should have a Web interface<br />Software<br />COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf)<br />Custom Development<br />Web vs. Windows client-server<br />Deployment<br />Externally Hosted (ASP):<br />Multi-tenant SaaS<br />Dedicated Portal / Private Label<br />In-House Solutions:<br />Internally hosted behind your firewall<br />COTS or custom system<br />
  9. 9. <ul><li>Purchase new domains names, if available
  10. 10. Have IT set up sub-domains, e.g.,
  11. 11. Use URL-shortening service, e.g.</li></ul>Your event Web sites should have a readable Web address<br />
  12. 12. E-mail invitations should be straightforward and attractive<br />Customize:<br />Target the message to the audience<br />Respect “Opt-out”<br />Personalize:<br />Increase relevance<br />Appeal visually:<br />Use HTML<br />Minimalist design reduces distraction from message<br />
  13. 13. 2<br />3<br />1<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Set up multiple tabs or pages<br />Present essential information to Attendees<br />Customize with hyperlinks and images<br />Every event should have a Web site with all information in one place<br />
  14. 14. You should be able to modify your event Web site without programming<br /><table width="100%“ cellspacing="0"><br /> <tr><br /> <td><br /> <imgsrc="/event/accounts/usmint20030620074751/bannerBottom2.jpg" alt=“Third Annual Certain Users Group" align="top" width="593" height="52"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /></table><br />
  15. 15. Federal laws and purchasing initiatives protect disabled and personal privacy<br />Section 508 / Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)<br />Mandate accessibility requirements for web sites<br />Web sites and forms must work with screen reader tools for visually impaired<br />Burden of proof is on contractors who provide services to Federal agencies<br />Validate compliance with WebXAct and other tools<br />State and Federal laws protect e-mail privacy<br />Don’t send messages to e-mail addresses who haven’t requested information<br />Always provide an “opt-out” option, unless attendance is mandatory<br />"Target Corp. agreed to modify its Web site and pay $6 million in damages to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by the National Federation of the Blind. The NFB will test the site's accessibility annually for three years."<br />
  16. 16. 2<br />3<br />1<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Add your custom graphics and logo<br />Collect required or optional data<br />Customize questions and the event program<br />Online registration forms should be customized and personalized<br />
  17. 17. 2<br />3<br />1<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Accept payment via check, credit card or invoice<br />Process payments online directly into your bank<br />Provide refunds for cancellations, overpayments<br />Online payment processing should be real-time and seamless<br />
  18. 18. Credit cards face many fraud issues, but also have standards for prevention<br /><ul><li>Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance – “Level 1”
  19. 19. Employee screening process
  20. 20. Request a report from an independent auditor
  21. 21. Data Encryption and Security
  22. 22. Transmit data securely via SSL (“https://”)
  23. 23. Encrypt credit card information on stored media
  24. 24. Mask credit card information online and in e-mail
  25. 25. Address Verification Service (AVS)
  26. 26. Zip Code and/or Street Address
  27. 27. 0.1% reduction can save thousands $$$
  28. 28. Card Security Code (CSC, CVV)
  29. 29. Number cannot be stored</li></ul>5426 9123 1826 4162<br />Mask<br />******4162<br />Encrypt<br />aC82Ij4Hn9sP012Hc4sxz9eqPf8<br />
  30. 30. Combine registration and housing to prevent attrition<br />Booking the event hotel should be the easy path<br />
  31. 31. Collect travel requests or reservation information with event registration<br />Travel requests<br />Trip-level reservation detail<br />Ground transportation<br />Arrival / Departure manifests<br />Integrate with GDS<br />Sabre, Resx, GetThere, Concur Cliqbooks<br />
  32. 32. Online and e-mail confirmations should be custom and personal<br />3<br />2<br />1<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Create custom confirmation pages<br />Automatically generate confirmation emails<br />Provide custom links to inform attendees<br />
  33. 33. Allocate tables and seating assignments<br />Select from standard or custom room layouts<br />Print table tents and seating charts<br />
  34. 34. Session Management to organize speakers, reviewers, and time slots<br />Submit abstracts<br />Review papers online<br />Assign speakers and sessions<br />
  35. 35. Post-event surveys provide feedback<br />Separate surveys for sessions, events, exhibitors<br />
  36. 36. Outline and Objectives<br />The “Cutting Edge”<br />Current Best Practices<br />Software as a Service (SaaS)<br />Customize and Personalize<br />Payment Card Industry (PCI)<br />ADA / Section 508<br />Future Best Practices<br />Web 2.0<br />Social Networking<br />
  37. 37. Web 2.0 connects people, everywhere<br />Web Sites<br />Planner<br />Reports<br />Attendees<br />Forms<br />Forums<br />Social networks<br />Suppliers<br />Blogs<br />
  38. 38. Blogs connect an author to a wide audience<br />“Blog” is short for “Web Log”<br />Easily publish short articles of interest<br />Attendees subscribe to your articles<br />Allow comments for audience participation<br />Example:,<br />
  39. 39. Forums allow an audience to communicate<br />Moderator establishes topics of interest<br />Audience posts to these topics<br />All members receive summary of others’ posts<br />Example:<br />
  40. 40. Social networks connect individuals to like-minded<br />Set up a profile and join groups of interest<br />Arrange face-to-face appointments at an event<br />Examples: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, EventMingle<br />Downside: Time investment from many before any benefit<br />
  41. 41. Integrate event social networks with registration database<br />Brand network to match event<br />Ask attendees to join network at registration<br />Bring Tweets, LinkedIn, into event<br />
  42. 42. Mobile applications enhance event experience<br />Lead Retrieval<br />Bartizan iLeads<br />Techneat<br />Audience Response<br />VisionTree<br />Networking<br />SpotMe<br />Dozens more:<br /><br />Bartizan iLeads<br />
  43. 43. Web 2.0 creates a meeting environment, with a new set of issues to address.<br />Controlling your Web 2.0 systems<br />Make people “opt-in” to public displays<br />Review posts for compliance, not opinions<br />Enforce professionalism<br />Control content, friends, comments<br />Controlling the outside Web 2.0<br />Publish company policies<br />Monitor keywords with Google Alerts<br /><br />Respond to fair criticism and false information<br />
  44. 44. Enter Data<br />Run Rooming List<br />Prepare Event Resume<br />Double-check accuracy<br />Planner<br />Send to Hotel<br />Back to Hotel<br />Enter Data<br />Enter Data<br />Enter Corrections<br />Create BEOs<br />Run Hotel List<br />Create BEOs<br />Supplier<br />Back to Planner<br />Now - data entry and transfer of printed documents.<br />
  45. 45. Web Servers<br />Database<br />Other Services<br /> Credit card processing<br /> Travel GDS<br /> CRM, Employee Databases<br />Attendee<br /> View event web site<br /> Register online<br /> Cancel / modify<br />Internet<br />Supplier<br /> Respond to RFP<br /> Set up BEOs<br /> Room Lists<br />Planner<br /> Manage event objectives<br /> Communicate with attendees<br /> Share data with suppliers<br />Data Transfer (XML)<br /> Event RFP<br /> Rooming List<br />ESG<br />The future will have seamless data exchange.<br />
  46. 46. How will we get from here to there?<br /><ul><li>Data Exchange Standards
  47. 47. All trading partners must adhere to a common standard for data exchange
  48. 48. First, the standard must be developed
  49. 49. CIC (Convention Industry Council)
  50. 50. APEX (Accepted Practices Exchange)
  51. 51. OTA (Open Travel Alliance)
  52. 52. XML (Extensible Markup Language)
  53. 53. Standard structure for Web-based data exchange</li></li></ul><li>APEX data standards can save time, reduce errors<br /><ul><li>Example: Meeting professional manages housing block
  54. 54. Click a link when rooming list is due
  55. 55. Hotel instantly receives data in their system
  56. 56. APEX/OTA standards
  57. 57. Event RFP (OTA 2005B)
  58. 58. Hotel Rooming List (OTA 2006A)
  59. 59. Event Specification Guide (ESG) (OTA 2006B)</li></li></ul><li>Web services offer communication channels between systems<br />Single Sign-On, Automated reports, Web services<br /><br />
  60. 60. APEX should be seamless to Planners<br />Similar to credit card processing experience<br />1<br />2<br />
  61. 61. Questions and Discussion<br />Subscribe to my Blog at<br />Rick Borry, Ph.D.<br />Email:<br />Twitter:<br />LinkedIn:<br />Certain Software:<br />P: 415-345-2715<br />