Should You Offer Online Booking for Your Event?

The dinner is all set! You’ve prepared homemade Guyanese fried rice, Cassie is bringing mashed potatoes and gravy, and George is bringing rotisserie chicken. Now you’re waiting on them and everyone else to arrive, so you sit back and wait until they get there.

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 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.

 

When is online booking the better option?

Having planned and prepared for an event with very few individuals attending is disappointing; therefore, it’s important to know that online booking is the better option when you have an estimate of the individuals attending, a portion or portions of the event are timed, and the participants are more apt to change their minds. With the previous situation, a dinner (generally without untimed events and a lot of variance as far as decision-making goes) might not be the best event to use online booking for.

If you require attendees to sign up just to come to the dinner, that might be a little above-board unless the dinner is a special occasion such as a wedding rehearsal dinner or formal banquet. Signing up online just to come to a general gathering might be a hassle and make participants less hesitant to jump in. So let’s look more deeply at the things you need to consider when deciding when whether or not online booking would be the better option.

 

How many people are you expecting to attend?

If you plan to sponsor an event for a charity, such as a walk, or a group fitness event, then you need to consider how many people you expect to attend. If you’re advertised to the public for individuals to participate, then you should consider how individuals have interacted with your advertisement or even responded to you by word of mouth. If the count is expected to exceed 20 people, then you might want to consider using online booking since it would be easier to record a count of the participants later by printing out a report.

For this example, Fitness Fest is scheduled to be held on March 4, 2016 right before midterm exams for students at a community college. All students on-campus are invited to attend; however, the event sponsor anticipates that around 50 students are likely to participate. She has set up her online scheduler and can track each individual who has signed up thus far, and later print out a report of those who actually came. Very useful, right?

In the image below, you can see how 23 people have already signed up for Fitness Fest:

View current number of attendees signed up for your event

View current number of attendees signed up for your event

The event sponsor can download a PDF report and view the number of attendees for the event.

Generate a report to see your attendees

Generate a report to see your attendees

On the other side of this coin, if not very many people are planning to attend your event as it is more private, like a important departmental meeting, a contest, or a family birthday dinner, then online booking could be more a hassle to participants than a needful tool.

 

Will any parts of the event be timed?

Do participants need to arrive at the certain time to be a part of one session, or should participants complete a task or competition in a certain amount of time? If your event calls for a watch, then you need online booking.

As some common cases, competitions and conferences are generally broken down into timed parts. If participants will be timed in preparing a meal, joining a race, or building something, then online scheduling would be helpful as you could have them specifically sign up for what they want to take part in. If, on the other hand, your event is a conference and individuals must move to certain rooms to hear presentations or give presentations, then a web scheduler would be most useful as well.

As seen in the image below for a technical conference, a presenter can select the session that he/she wants to participate in:

Conference presenters can select which session they want to give a presentation for

Conference presenters can select which session they want to give a presentation for

The presenter can comment on the item(s) that he/she needs in order to successfully give the presentation.

Allow conference presenters to note their needs prior to the event

Allow conference presenters to note their needs prior to the event

Using a web scheduler in these cases help to provide event sponsors with a headcount, prepare name badges, and have necessary items and tools on hand so participants are ready to go when they get there. As a prime example of miscommunication, a conference presenter who does not have a smart-board to project his PowerPoint presentation would run into trouble if the sponsors were not prepared for his attendance.

 

Are attendees likely to be mind-changers?

Game changers can take anyone for an interesting ride, but if you have attendees that are likely to change their minds at the last minute, then the better option would be to use online booking.

You might be saying, how would online booking be the better option? Brief scenario:  you’ve sent out a group text message to fifteen friends for a movie night on Friday. Eight people respond to the text message that same day, and five respond over the next two days. People start going back and forth on which movie to watch, and three people text an hour before the movie starts saying that they can’t make it. Too many text messages! Spare yourself and your friends the extra memory that is left in their phones--not to mention disturbances while at work.

Responding to group messages can become a hassle

Responding to group messages can become a hassle

 

Give your friends the freedom to sign up to attend, and if they can’t make it, then that’s fine. You’ll at least bypass back and forth text messages, and still have an idea of who all are planning to come.

And that’s it--those are the questions you need to consider before offering online booking for your event. Know when it can be more of a hassle than a help, and in which cases it would be essential. No matter whether you’re sponsoring a company event or pairing up individuals with mentors, we offer online booking that is easy for your scheduling needs. With checkAppointments, you’ll have easy online events booking right at your fingertips.


Get started today and let us know how your event goes! We’d love to hear about your scheduling successes!