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Registration software is like Swiss Army knives (but not the heavy ones)

The company behind Swiss Army knives makes the Swiss Champ XAVT. It has 83 functions, ranging from a toothpick to a pharmaceutical spatula. (That’s the little tool pharmacists use to A Swiss Army Knife with 83 functionscount and sort pills.) A knife with 83 functions should cover just about every need. But it weighs about as much as a can of soda. If you carried it in your pants pocket for long, you would need a chiropractor.

Such a multi-use tool is not practical for most people. Therefore, other, lighter Swiss Army knives have more specific uses. Models include those meant for hunters, sailors, equestrians, mountain climbers, and one that appears to be for the wine and cheese crowd. Still, each knife has enough flexibility to handle the most common requirements of its users.

Guy looking at a wheel of cheeseThat’s the way it is with registration management software. If a system were to handle every scenario, it would become so unwieldy as to be almost useless. Countless software offerings fall under the broad heading of registration software. However, most are designed for specific needs. It’s somewhat like the Swiss Army cheese tool that’s great because you never know when you’ll encounter a block of Camembert.

When considering options within the vast realm of registration management software, it helps to think through what makes your situation different:

Do you need to sell tickets?
Some registration tools are designed around helping organizations sell tickets for occasions such as shows, banquets, or reunions. Ticketing software platforms can work for class registration in some instances. However, that is not their strong suit. Similarly, conference or class registration software can also sell tickets, but that is not their raison d’etre, as a cheese connoisseur might say.

Robust reporting is not a strong feature in ticketing software. Further, it may not address complex pricing scenarios beyond straightforward volume price breaks. Ticketing systems are not designed to handle the tracking of continuing education credits or other challenges that class registration software must address. If your needs are straightforward and you have only occasional events, ticketing software could be worth your consideration.

Are you planning a large event?
Many organizations have one large event each year. These may be association conferences or huge fundraisers like 10K races with thousands of runners and walkers. Some software options are designed specifically for big events. Conference systems often integrate with hotel reservation software. Software intended for races or similar events is designed around signing up teams and collecting limited information on each. Ticketing and class registration systems can also handle big events, but that is stepping outside their intended use.

Do you only need the basics?
If you’re currently handling registration via spreadsheets and emails, any simple online registration process is a step up. Don’t invest your time and money in a more robust system if all you need  is to collect basic contact information and automate a few communications. That would be like buying a sledgehammer to nail in a tack.A blue Tack on white background Instead, a form builder will suffice, especially if you have a few events or meetings with a small number of attendees. Some form builders even handle fee-based events, assuming pricing scenarios are straightforward. Options like SignUpGenius are available for free or for a small fee if you need a little more than the basics.

Do you have to manage registration for lots of offerings?
If your program handles dozens or more classes and other events annually, the other systems mentioned won’t get the job done as easily as you would like. That’s especially if you also need special functions like tracking continuing education, breakout sessions, the application of complex discount policies, single sign-on, APIs, giving students access to certificates, and so on.

Software like Learning Stream is designed to be as flexible and robust as possible, but those qualities relate to how the system handles the management of complex situations related to education and training. The great part is, no matter what type of requirements your program needs to address, you have plenty of options. That goes for software as well as Swiss Army knives.

Have questions about how Learning Stream compares to other types or registration software, please contact us here.

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