How to tell one online registration platform from another
Online registration is a broad term that covers more territory than an Airbus 380.
Within that massive category are many subcategories, each catering to a different set of needs. To determine which type of registration software best suits your program, think of what is most challenging for you. Besides getting people signed up for something, what is your main objective?
- Scheduling kids for gymnastics?
- Enrolling them in childcare?
- Selling tickets for shows?
- Building a sports/recreation business?
- Holding summer camps?
- Corralling participants in a 5K run?
- Holding occasional meetings?
- Managing members and donations?
- Coordinating annual events such as conferences or conventions?
- Diving deep into the collected registration data?
- Issuing and tracking continuing education credits?
- Staying in touch with attendees via follow-up communication?
- Working with a payment processor you already have a relationship with?
Every one of these examples can require from slightly to significantly different software. You’ll find several registration platforms for each type of need. Some systems are flexible enough to cross over into other areas. But you may give up a feature or two to gain two or three others. If you come across a software provider that promises to do all the above, run away.
First, consider this broad range of registration software categories.
If your event is free, ticketing software may still work. That’s provided there’s nothing complex about your requirements. But ticketing platforms usually generate revenue via transaction fees. You can get more options if your program will generate significant revenue for the software provider.
Some software options are designed specifically for big events, which may have thousands of attendees. Perhaps it’s a class reunion with golf outings, wine tastings, and other options. Event software has subcategories, too. Conference registration platforms may need to work in tandem with hotel reservation systems.
If, for example, you’re trying to schedule room space or time for yoga classes, you’re looking for something completely different than event planning or ticketing software. You’ll find plenty of options for small businesses that generate revenue via leisure activity classes.
Multi-class and program registration management
A handful of registration platforms, like Learning Stream, zero in on education and training programs that tend to have more complex requirements before and after registration occurs. Programs that find Learning Stream an ideal fit also have classes and other events occurring through all or most of the year. The functions such programs require may include significant reporting and data analysis, continuing education management, testing, single sign-on, connections to other programs through APIs, and issuing certificates.
Once you narrow down your requirements to a broad category, test drive a few options to see which one best suits your program.
Have questions or comments? We always like to hear what online registration challenges the vast universe faces.