I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing online event reg systems. I do it roughly every 12-18 months. And after nearly 10 years of holding events, the winner remains RegOnline.com. No, they’re not paying me to say this. But hear me out.
If you have a simple event, then EventBrite and ones like it are just fine. You don’t need RegOnline. But evidently, when you need RegOnline, there is nothing else like it.
Do my class registrations look like the most sleek, modern, fancy things? No. But they are simple, laid out decently, and mobile friendly. I’ll take that. 🙂
Why Is An Axure Class Such A Complex Event?
My Axure classes live in San Francisco are not complex on the surface. A core skills class for the first two days. An optional third day on mobile app prototyping.
What’s complex is what I have cooking behind the scenes and how little of it I’d like you to see… so you have a better user experience. This means I need an Event System that knows when to show ’em and when to hide ’em.
- Each “Event” has two classes. You can sign up for one or both.
- Whether you sign up for one or both, the system should treat you as ONE attendee. I found other systems where once you said one ticket to this and one ticket to that, they assumed you were two people.
- There is an early bird discount. Each class has a different price and a different early bird discount. I need to put in when the early bird starts and ends, which is then shown automatically. Other event systems show you an early bird ticket like it’s separate from ticket at another time. I don’t want a long list of tickets by what date you are registering.The system should only sell you the ticket you can get on the day you are registering.
- There group discounts. The pricing is different for individuals (party of 1), send the team (parties of 2-4), and send the department (parties of 5 or more). If you are registering a group of 3, should you see the other two prices or ticket types? No, I’d like those hidden from you so that your path is uncluttered.
- I want there to be discount codes BY class. Most of the systems I reviewed would give people a discount at the end on their whole order. I can do that too, but I like being able to granularly control what discount codes are available (if any) based on a number of criteria you the user will never really see. Plus I don’t discount Axure software licenses, so I wouldn’t want discounts on the whole order.
- We sell discounted Axure licenses to people attending the class (I give them most of my reseller discount and basically break even). The system should understand that selling a class space is different than selling a thing, and RegOnline gets that.
- Most of my class attendees are groups that work at the same company… but they can’t always use one credit card for all of them. For internal accounting reasons, sometimes they have to split the check. RegOnline will let a group register and then have one person pay for everybody OR say how much they want to put on which card. Satisfies everybody.
- I’d like to auto-email people of different types at different times. I want to email people X days before my class with a reminder of the location, time, and other facts. I’d like to email them the day after the class with a follow up survey.
- RegOnline’s back end reporting looks a bit outdated in places but is very flexible.
The Beauty of RegOnline Is That The Complexity Is Behind The Scenes
Most of the event systems I looked at suffered from one or both of the following two things:
- Painful for me to set up. Bad UX on the admin side. Awful layouts. Confusing sections. So many screens just to build one ticket.
- Cluttered for you to use as a class registrant. Most of these systems would list out both classes, early bird and regular reg, and then each of the three group types. That means some reg systems would show you 6 ticket types and some would show even more. That’s no fun to use.
When you hit my class registration pages, one of the first things RegOnline finds out is how big your group is. That way, you are only shown the options and pricing for a group that size (on the next page). That good UX you didn’t even know you were getting. 🙂 Here is how it looks to me in setup (click to enlarge):
What you’re seeing is that there are agenda items, in this case the two-day class as one unit and the mobile app class as another.
- They then have sub-entries representing price discounts that are automatically given to groups of a certain size.
- The field type of “always selected” means you don’t have to ask for this discount. It is there automatically. The Registrant Types area is where I say that only groups of a certain size can SEE this, which is how I give a cleaner UX to groups of other sizes.
- The pricing on the right lets me say what discount they get.
- What you don’t see is that underneath that is additional conditional logic. I could say, for example, that everybody who answered the question “How familiar are you with Axure” as “totally new” will get another $20 off. I don’t do that, but I could. 🙂 Or that everybody who answered a reg details question a certain way sees something in the agenda others don’t.
Room To Grow
RegOnline can do a bucket of things I’m not even asking it to do.
It can understand travel and hotel registration as part of signing up for my classes, but I’m not reselling hotel rooms so I don’t use that.
It has some mobile features, which I don’t really use.
When you create agenda items (that people can sign up for or interact with), you have a LOT of choices.
It actually does a lot more, so if you have a fairly complex event, it may be a good choice for you.
On top of all that, RegOnline is affordable
Choosing to not pass event system fees to my customer (nobody should do that!), I can tell you that RegOnline is fairly priced. As they are charging cards for me, I lose that percent. I could put in gateways but I don’t bother. I’m going to lose that percent no matter what.
They then charge $3.95 per registration no matter how much the customer spends. No minimum per event or year. I can’t really complain about $4 per person! It’s a fair price for what I’m able to do and how easily I can do it.
So after another round of looking at various event systems, including ones that claim to be very complex and fit right into WordPress, I will stick with RegOnline.