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Making Event Registration Codes Easy for You and Your Registrants

By Jim Romanik Subscribe to RSS | December 21st 2011 | Views:

Adding a field to your online event registration form for registrants to enter a code can be a good way to offer discounts or to control which options people can register for.

Be careful, however, with how you word the code field and any related text on the form as well as with the codes that you choose to use or you might end up with some frustrated registrants and extra work on your end.

Here is what we recommend:

The wording on the form

If you label your code field as a discount code or promo code you might have some registrants feeling left out and wondering why they aren’t getting a discount. If you use a more generic label such as “code” or “registration code” that doesn’t as clearly imply a discounted rate, you may not get as much unwanted attention.

How many codes to use

If you can keep the number of codes to a minimum you will make your life as an event planner easier. If you have just one code for speakers and one for sponsors, then you only have to send out two codes. If you have a different code for each speaker and sponsor, then you will need to merge the appropriate code into an email and will need to be looking up individual codes when people lose them and call into you.

Either way you can monitor the use of the codes using the registration system, so keep it simple at your end.

Make codes easy to enter

it’s unlikely that people are going to try to cheat by using a code that they aren’t entitled to because they expect that you are checking and will eventually have to attend the event and don’t want to get caught. On the other hand, you want to make the codes unique enough that someone isn’t simply going to guess it.

In general, you should avoid the following when coming up with your codes:

* Spaces – people are unsure if they should enter the space or not

* Punctuation – it can be unclear as to whether quotes, periods or other punctuation are a part of the code you are providing or just a part of the sentence the code is included in

* Mixed cases – keeping your codes all upper or all lower case will make them easier to enter

* Avoid the number one (1) and zero (0) as in some fonts they can be confused with upper case (I) or lower case (l) and upper case (O)

What to do if you catch someone using a code when they aren’t supposed to:

If you do see someone misusing codes it’s likely an honest mistake, or at least approach it like it is. A simple phone call to ask the registrant where they got the code from or a question such as, “I see you used a sponsor code, are you planning to become a sponsor?” should usually clear it up.

As long as you are doing your checking before the event it’s easy to charge a credit card for the difference or send another invoice and if the bill isn’t paid you don’ t have to let the registrant into the event.

Jim Romanik - About Author:
Jim is the president of ePly, an event registration software that makes event registration software a breeze. For more information about online registration software please visit

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