Should You Offer Online Booking for Your Event?

The dinner is all set! You’ve prepared a lasagna, your friend Cassie is bringing a salad, and George plans to bring the garlic bread. Now you’re waiting on them and everyone else to arrive, so you sit back and wait.

One hour has passed and no one has shown up for your dinner; you start to wonder what could have gone wrong. Some of your friends had told you that they would try to come, and some signed up through your scheduling website, but well, maybe they had a change of plans.


Exactly when is online booking the better option?

Having planned and prepared for an event with very few individuals attending is disappointing. When considering whether or not online booking is the better option, 2 factors that should be considered are:

  1. The number of attendees
  2. Whether or not parts of the event will be timed

With the previous situation, a general dinner (generally without timed events and a lot of variance as far as decision-making goes) this might not be the best event to use online booking for. If you require your dinner guests to sign up just to come, that might be a little above-board unless it is for a special occasion that needs guests tracking like a formal banquet.

So let’s look more deeply at the 3 factors you should consider before choosing online booking:


1. How many people are you expecting to attend?

If you plan to sponsor a public event for a cause or group event, then you need to anticipate the number of attendees. If you've advertised to the public, consider how they've interacted with your ad or how they've responded. If the count is expected to exceed 20 people, then you might want to allow them to sign up online since it would be easier to track attendees later by downloading and printing a report.

As an example below, the event Fitness Fest is scheduled to be held on October 11, 2017 right before midterm exams for students attending a community college. The entire student body is invited to attend; however, the event coordinators expect about 50 participants to actually take part in the event.

They have set up an online scheduler and can track each individual who has signed up thus far and later print a report of those who actually came. Very useful, right?

In the image below, you can see how 10 people have already signed up for Fitness Fest:

10 students have signed up for the event

10 students have signed up for the event

You could export a list of attendees into Microsoft Excel format:

Export a list of your event's attendees

Export a list of your event's attendees

You could also select the fields that you'd like to export and view:

You can also select the information that you want to be exported into Microsoft Excel format

You can also select the information that you want to be exported into Microsoft Excel format

Below is a sample of an exported attendees list:

Sample exported MS Excel attendees list

Sample exported MS Excel attendees list

Now, on the other hand, if you anticipate a small number of attendees for something like a departmental meeting, contest, or family birthday dinner, then online booking could be more of a hassle for your guests.


2. Will any parts of the event be timed?

Do participants need to arrive at a certain time to be a part of a session, or should they complete a task or competition in a certain amount of time? If either of these cases are true, then online scheduling for your event will certainly be helpful.

Competitions and conferences are generally broken down into timed parts. If participants plan to join a session, prepare a meal, run in a race, or build something, then online scheduling would be a good option as you could have them specifically sign up online for what they want to be a part of.

As seen in the image below for a marketing conference, an attendee can select the session that he/she wants to join:

Conference attendees can select the session they want to join

Conference attendees can select the session they want to join

Using a web scheduler in these cases help to provide event coordinators with a headcount, prepare name badges, and have necessary items on hand ahead of time.

And that’s it--those are 2 important questions to consider before offering online booking for your event. Remember that you want to accommodate your guests as much as possible, so there are times when online scheduling is helpful and times when it may be more of a hassle. But if you're looking for a online scheduling system to help you with your event, we provide a simple solution you can try free for 30 days - click the button below to get started!

You can sign up today and let us know how your event goes. We’d love to hear about your scheduling successes!