January a Perfect Time to Devote to Business Development

Author: Erin Walton, Manager, Conference and Event Services, MacEwan University

For some of you, January can be a quiet season in the office if you only have conference space during the summer months.  This is precious time you can be devoting to business development, service enhancement and diversification. 

Have you been thinking about adding Online Registration to your service model for years now?  Speaking from experience, it can be quite a successful way to grow your business.  We use a combination of Constant Contact and Cvent products to deliver online registration services to our clients. Here are some of the ways we have incorporated it here at MacEwan University:

*RSVP tracking – when collecting revenue isn’t required, we use Constant Contact (~$34 per month for unlimited events) to track rsvps.  Some events that take advantage of this service are Convocation Lunch & Dinner, Employee Christmas Party.  Internal clients love this because it makes it so easy to rsvp!  We also use Cvent for event rsvp’s that require more sophisticated programming (ie waitlists, multiple sessions etc).  For example, we provide the registration in all programs offered by the Centre for Advancement of Faculty Excellence throughout the year (approximately 65 annually).   We also use this system for MacEwan University’s Organizational Development Day. There are no fees associated with this event but multiple concurrent sessions where waitlists are required.

*Conference Registration – where internal or external clients need to register for a conference/event where fees apply, we use Cvent (~$5 per registration based on the volume we purchase).  It has been cleared through ITS in terms of Certificates of Compliance and the secure paypal account makes it easy to reconcile with Finance post-event.

*Accommodation Reservations – here at MacEwan University we don’t currently offer online room reservations for our overnight guests.  To facilitate this with our clients that want a one-stop shop for their conference needs, we are incorporating some questions into the online site to capture their accommodation needs, then contacting them directly to confirm their reservation.  It isn’t entirely automated, but it makes the client feel like it is.

So, if things are a little slower for your department at this time of year, why not consider adding online registration services to your service menu?  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the opportunities for application for both your internal and external clients.  We’ve even offered this service to clients that aren’t meeting on our campus – because it’s all web based and doesn’t require any software it can be done virtually from anywhere.   Since adding online registration to our service menu in 2007, we have registered over 9000 delegates at 72 events.  Cha-ching!


Erin Walton, Manager, Conference and Event Services, MacEwan University
Telephone: 780-497-5038
Email: WaltonE@macewan.ca

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