What are the peak periods for association online event registration?

There are two reasons your association might want to anticipate the peak periods for your association’s online event registration:

1) It will help you load test or at least know when to closely monitor your association’s online event registration system for questions/problems from attendees.
2) It will help you project the total attendance for your association’s event, meeting or convention.

As you might guess, your association has some control over when the peak periods will occur. Peak periods for associations tend to be driven by:

– Association marketing reach and frequency
– The use of association registration discount periods (also called early bird registration discounts)

Your association marketing reach and frequency will determine whether you have a surge at the beginning, middle and end of the registration period. If you have aggressively promoted the event prior to the start of registration, you will see a slight surge that may last a 2-3 days but then taper off to more of a steady state.

If your association marketing is hitting after registration opens (hopefully because your registration was open early, not because your marketing hit late), you will see a more mild surge during this period, but it will last much longer – probably two weeks in length.

If your association marketing includes a series of reminders to register, you will see small, short-lived surges behind each reminder (with the exception of an early bird reminder, which is discussed next).

If your association offers early bird registration discount periods, you will see a surge beginning approximately one week in advance, and peaking in the final two days before the discount period ends.

Beyond anything your association controls, you will also see a surge in the week before online registration closes (or the show starts, if online registration never closes). This surge will be significant if you offer a pre-show registration discount and/or if registering on-site is slow and painful.

Of all of the surges that your association may see, those associated with discount periods tend to have the greatest peak. The end of pre-show registration can also be quite robust if on-site registration is difficult). It is during those times that you should monitor your system carefully and be prepared to answer the greatest number of attendee questions.

How does your association manage your peak periods of event registration? Do you have extra staff dedicated to dealing with attendee questions?

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