How to Avoid Being a Galactic Bounty Hunter
Conference planning comes with lots of expenses. There will likely be fees for the location of your gathering, the speaker’s speaking fee, feeding your guests, and the list goes on. As a conference administrator, you have a million things on your mind. You don’t need the added stress of collecting registration fees from your guests.
On the one hand, you don’t want money to be a barrier from registration, but on the other hand, you need the registration fees on time so that you can cover upfront expenses.
If you’re already dealing with unpaid guests, you may still have to follow up with them individually until the fees are paid. But since the best offense is a good defense, let’s consider proactive ways to handle registration fees that can help you avoid becoming the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy.
An Unpaid Guest is an Unregistered Guest
No one enjoys putting their foot down but for your event to go well, you can’t budge on payments. Clearly communicate that guests will not be considered registered until they’ve paid their registration fees. This means that they could lose their spot or miss out on early bird discounts. Setting that boundary is usually enough to motivate your guests to be ready to pay when they sign up.
Collect Registration Fees via Online Form
There is critical information you need from guests to plan an exceptional experience. Managing registrations online allows you to set required fields before a person can click submit. Mandatory fields require guests to fill out the form and pay before their registration is complete. Paper registrations can’t enforce this requirement.
Be Strategic About Setting the Calendar
In our Launch Guide we discuss the importance of setting the dates for your conference including registration deadlines. When you plan a conference, work backward from the launch date to ensure that you have the time you need to gather the payments and complete the planning without setting your hair on fire. Often, problems with late payments can be solved by allowing everyone enough time to submit registration forms and fees.
Use Incentives for Your Registration Fees
Everyone loves getting a discount. Many conference directors find success in offering early bird discounts to their guests. Keep this option in mind as you are setting the calendar for your conference. Give your guests enough time to take advantage of an early bird discount. Other incentives may include offering a free bonus activity or breakout session, t-shirt, or other conference swag to motivate your guests to get their payments in on time.
Are you still having trouble collecting payments? Explain to your guests why registration forms and fees are important so they understand the bigger picture. Remember that this is not about money as much as it is about creating an exceptional experience for everyone.
You can avoid having to chase down people for money with proactive planning and processes in place. If you need more guidance in this area, download our free Launch Guide where we unpack all the phases of conference planning.