Using the 5 “W’s” of Information Gathering to Craft Better Event Registration

Business events rely upon ATTENDANCE! Without a bustling group of attendees, an event can become a misuse of time and money. For trade shows, conferences, meetings, training sessions, fundraising events, and other business or non-profit events, registration holds the key—sometimes literally—to guest services, as well as the key to Event Managers’ reporting.

Starting off on the right foot is important in any situation, and business events are no exception. Event registration is the first step in the relationship between the attendee and the organizer. More importantly, with the technological capabilities and data-gathering that is available now, registration is the ideal opportunity for attendees to offer up their preferences, and for Event Managers to carefully collect and analyze that valuable information. Let’s use the five “W’s” of information gathering—who, what, when, where, why (and how)—as we evaluate the registration process.

  1. Who?

At its most basic level, event registration strives to answer a single fundamental question: Who is coming? Event Planners need to manage the logistics issues regarding the exact number of attendees and the services, facilities, assistance, and necessities they will require. However, to be truly remarkable, events need to also take a closer look at the ages, genders, regionalities, and job functions that are represented within any group of attendees. This information naturally leads into our next, and most important, question . . .

  1. What?

What do these attendees want? An exceptional registration process needs to ask questions that dig deeper and help decipher what attendees want or need from the event itself—whether their goal is networking, sales opportunities and conversions, client acquisition, product marketing, information gathering, or recruiting. However, registration must also include the personal details that streamline and customize that event for each individual—gathering their business information, contact information, and scheduling details, as well as storing information on their payment processing, group logistics, sign-up info, ticketing and lodging. Event registration must gather the attendee information that helps make the event both PRODUCTIVE and PERSONAL!

  1. When and Where?

This question is easily answered. Registration needs to happen whenever and wherever it is most convenient to attendees. An ideal registration system allows for online or onsite registration, and it should allow registration by web, mobile device, fax, direct mail, or in person. Attendees may know far in advance that they’re participating, or they may need to join at the last minute. The right registration system caters to the preferences and schedules of all potential guests.

  1. Why?

Why offer registration? Simple; for the DATA! We’ve covered the front end advantages of registration data—how it creates a better experience for attendees by helping them achieve tailored, industrious results. However, in this new age of Big Data, Event Organizers and sponsors benefit from this information-gathering on a MUCH larger scale! Through barcoded name tags or badges, Planners can gather specific information on guest movements, individual meetings, session sign-ups, participation, traffic patterns, document requests, downloads, breakout room behavior, scheduling, changes, processing, flow, wait times, and tech use, as well as detailed attendance reports based on time, location, and guest demographics. Furthermore, all data can (and should) be used to populate CRM systems—boosting the foundation and the success rate of future events and campaigns. Registration is the gateway to data.

  1. How?

The right combination of hardware and software will create ideal results from this vital process. For onsite registration, hardware such as kiosks, iPads, and touchscreen monitors can allow attendees to self-register, as well as to access and edit their own information. For registration software, a trusted technology provider can offer products customized to create exactly the attendee experience that you want, while it gathers precisely the data that you need!