I register for conferences online.
I make my hotel reservations online. I make my flight reservations online. I try to schedule my itinerary online.
I schedule my medical appointments online. Except for emergencies of course.
I make my hair appointment online. I make my dental appointments online. I buy my movie tickets online.
I connect with most organizations online first. It’s a way of life for today.
Online Presence First
I’ve learned something that applies well beyond scheduling reservations or appointments. A well designed, user friendly and robust online service makes a huge difference.
Yes, I still need a face to face connection with my airlines, conference and hotel agents. And with my dental, medical and grooming professionals.
And I still need the physical experience of the travel and conference. Or the doctor’s visit. Or the movie.
Face To Face Expectations
I arrive at the face to face experience with some preconceived ideas about the experience. If my online experience is negative, I expect the face to face experience to be similar. If my online experience is positive, I arrive feeling positive about the upcoming experience.
Unless the organization’s employees are rude, or my appointment goes south, or the experience falls flat, I probably will be a repeat customer.
Organizations that have irritating conference websites with minimal information and procedures that force me to call usually don’t get my business. At that point, I want a smooth efficient online transaction, not face time with an employee.
Conference hosts value face to face experiences. As they should.
Unfortunately, many people come to the face time with opinions already formed, attitudes already set, expectations already positioned–often created by their online experience.
Organizations need to put more energy, time and thought into their online conference presence. And their customer’s processes to register or plan an itinerary.
Why? Their conference experience actually starts with the launch of that first electronic marketing piece. It sets the tone, the pace and the expectation.
Folks, it’s an Internet age. We should all get used to it!
What drives you nuts about online conference registration systems? What do you wish more organizations provided on their conference websites?
Ken Sien says
It drives me crazy when it is difficult to maneuver through a website when I want to buy something. I can only imagine how many potential attendees quit the registration process because of the difficulties they experience when trying to register. Events should look at websites like Amazon or Zappos, where they make it easy for.the customer to buy.
I agree with Ken. Using something like hellobar on your website for an easy registration reminder, making it easy to heckout with something as close to Amazon’s 1-Click purchase as possible, and a big badge on the right hand sidebar or footer advertising to “REGISTER FOR SUPER AWESOME CONFERENCE x900” would be steps for any organization to take in order to create a better registration experience.
Here is a great example of setting up a easy to use registration page that is full of information and has multiple reminders to register, it also happens to be a online conference format for the pharma industry with multiple sessions & speakers: https://www.socialmediainpharma.com/
Jeff Hurt says
I share your frustrations with difficult online registration processes! I’m with you that more conference organizers should follow models like Amazon and Zappos.
Thanks for sharing the example of the Social Media Pharma Summit. That is an excellent example of a user-friendly, appealing registration landing page. Glad you shared it too!