No matter what kind of event you’re planning, your museum’s event planning team already has the creative force, passion, skills, and experience to deliver outstanding events and programs to increase participation, raise funds, and drive community awareness!
A sometimes-overlooked part of museum event planning is choosing an integrated event management solution. The right event management software will streamline and simplify every aspect of registration, communication, and administration so your team is free to focus on what really matters: planning a fantastic museum event.
The ideal event software will ensure that your registrants, attendees, and sponsors enjoy a seamless experience that increases their interest and engagement before, during, and after the event!
Here are 7 essential features to look for in your event registration software solution:
- Event configuration
- Custom registration forms
- Capacity and waitlist management
- Add-ons and upsells
- Discounts and promotions
- Attendee communications
- Mobile ticketing and check-in
Invest in the right event management software to support your long-range museum event planning goals!
1. Flexible event configuration
Streamline all of your event planning with registration software that supports every kind of event your museum may hold! You’ll reap the greatest benefit from a solution that can handle events of any complexity, including:
The right museum event management software will empower you to collect any kind of information you need and provide tools to share, report, and analyze data before and after the event.
Look for flexible registration software that supports not only your team’s event planning needs but also the needs of other departments with reporting, analytics, financial data, and more. Take a look at the different fields Doubleknot software provides for your team:
High-level information is readily available to help your logistical team as well as outreach and marketing teams make informed planning decisions.
2. Custom registration forms
Every museum event is unique, and you may need to collect unique attendee information during the registration process, like this Doubleknot registration form that asks for the registrant’s T-shirt size:
By including custom fields like in the example above, you allow organizations to offer additional opportunities to raise money and promote their cause. For instance, when supporters are able to purchase a t-shirt for the event via an online registration form, they’re not only contributing more to your cause but also giving them the opportunity to share your mission with others. Think about it: when supporters wear your apparel, they’ll be promoting your cause to everyone who sees them. This could lead to more people attending your event or donating to your cause.
The best long-term event registration solutions offer much more than letting you choose which form fields will be displayed. At a minimum, you should be able to set forms and individual fields as mandatory to ensure that waivers and other important requirements are complete before the event registration can be submitted.
Additional customization features like assigning different forms to different registrant types and using conditional logic ensure that your visitors are only asked for information that’s relevant for their purchase. Some event management solutions offer forms that also support add-ons, upsells, and donations during registration — read more about those in the add-ons and upsells section of this post!
3. Capacity and waitlist management
Capacity management is an important factor in museum event planning! For most museum events, you’ll want to maximize revenue and headcount while ensuring that VIPs like members, donors, and honorees are able to attend and bring guests.
Look for an event management solution that lets you set capacity for each registrant type as well as overall event capacity — you can maximize revenue by offering different kinds of tickets at different prices! For instance:
- Limit VIP tickets to just enough to fill a few tables at the front of the venue.
- Sell a handful of family ticket packages that come with children’s meal tickets.
- Offer volunteer tickets for those who want to help out but can’t afford a ticket.
Depending on the event, you might also choose to limit the total number of tickets that an individual can purchase.
Encourage your audience to register by using event software that shows up-to-date availability for each ticket type. They’re likely to register sooner when they know that tickets are going fast! Automatic waitlist management can move people off the waitlist in the right order so your events are full and your supporters are treated fairly. The best event registration software also lets you manually override capacity if needed, like Doubleknot:
For special VIP guests to end up on the waitlist, the ability to manually override the system is a valuable tool!
4. Add-ons and upsells
An important element of museum event planning is deciding what kind of upsell options and donation requests to include in the event registration process — you need to maximize revenue opportunities without making registrants feel like they’re being wrung for every possible dollar. Look for event management software that lets you offer popular add-ons during registration, including:
- Event merchandise
- Raffle tickets
- Guest passes
- Meal vouchers
- Tour slots
You can still sell these add-ons at the event, but you might choose to sell them online at a lower price than in person.
When your event registration software is part of a larger museum management solution, you can promote and incentivize additional purchases (like memberships, tour tickets, and classes) and ask for donations to support your programs, like in this example from Doubleknot:
And, if you’re offering a special member discount or members-only tickets for your museum event, show your customers the benefits of membership (including how much they’d save) and allow them to purchase a membership at the same time!
5. Discounts and promotions
Ticket pricing, discounts, and promotion strategies are essential elements in successful museum event planning. To maximize revenue and encourage registration, look for an event registration solution that supports a wide range of discounts and promotions.
Important features include early registration discounts, special discount codes, and discounts to encourage greater attendance, such as “Buy three tickets and get a fourth ticket free.”
When museum event registration software is part of an integrated solution for all online, on-site, and mobile sales, your team can design discount and promotions strategies to boost participation and sales across the museum.
For example, registration is integrated with membership management, you can promote membership sales during registration by offering members a discounted price. Take a look at this Doubleknot example, which offers a family discount at checkout to these visitors:
You can also offer event registrants a discount on anything else you offer such as gift shop merchandise, tour tickets, camp, and class registration; another special event; or anything else in the system!
6. Attendee communications
Communications are crucial before, during, and after a museum event!
To promote the event, you need to reach out to potential registrants with exactly the right message — that’s why the best museum management solutions let you query the complete constituent database to identify and send messages to supporters who match your target profile.
After a ticket purchase, you need to keep registrants informed and excited for the event. It’s easiest if you can create your messages in advance and automatically schedule them to be delivered to everyone who’s registered at the time.
See how Doubleknot museum event planning software allows you to send messages to those who have registered for a specific event:
After the event, you’ll want to reach out to thank the registrants, share event photos, seek feedback to improve future events, and perhaps offer them a special discount just for event attendees. That’s why top museum event planners rely on solutions that integrate outreach, memberships, donations, purchases, and attendance to engage attendees even after they leave.
7. Mobile ticketing and check-in
When your museum event is about to start, the last thing you want is long lines of ticketholders waiting to enter.
No matter where your event is held, the fastest way to check people in is to scan their tickets with a device that’s integrated with the event registration solution. You can ensure that you have enough check-in lines if your team can use iPhones and iPads instead of expensive custom scanners.
Choosing a registration system like Doubleknot that delivers scannable print-at-home and mobile tickets also lets you:
- Save the costs of mailing tickets
- Reduce paper waste
- Offer your guests the greatest flexibility
Another great benefit of an integrated solution is support for making last-minute changes and collecting payments and donations as attendees enter the event. Look for a ticketing solution that supports updating registrations, adding donations or merchandise, and collecting any balance due by swiping a credit card!
With the right event registration and management software, your team can spend more time on the valuable and unique elements of museum event planning and less time on routine administration and paperwork. Museums with the foresight to choose a fully integrated solution can strengthen relationships, increase participation, recruit and reward members and grow revenues and donations while building goodwill.
In the meantime, check out these incredible additional resources:
- Museum Software Guide. Looking for an event registration solution or other museum software? Check out our ultimate guide to choose the perfect solution.
- Museum Membership Ultimate Guide. Before you host a membership event, make sure your membership program stacks up with our essential guide to museum membership.
- Membership Renewal Letters Guide. Are you hosting new member events as part of your onboarding process? Ensure they renew next year with our membership renewal letters guide.
Elissa Miller, M.Ed. is Doubleknot’s Communications Director. As the former development director for a regional nonprofit, she’s passionate about helping nonprofits and youth-serving organizations effectively harness new technologies to streamline operations and support their missions.