The registration team will need to work closely with the budget, scholarships, program, press and logistics teams.
Give consideration to hiring a registration management company to handle the printing of name badges and purchase of conference bags, as well as the management of the on-site registration desk. This is a tremendous amount of work best left to experts in conference logistics.
A registration company will also help you run the registration desk; however, volunteers that hand out the name badges and conference bags are also needed.
These are the different interplays between the registration team and other teams:
The budget team should determine best practices for handling money and where the money should go, as well as setting registration fees.
The scholarships team and registration team will need to coordinate about how to register participants who are also applying for scholarships.
The program team and registration team will need to coordinate about how to register program speakers, as well as how to register the long list of VIPs and guests that the program team will have: everyone from Jimmy Wales to the local dignitary.
The press team and the registration team will need to coordinate for issuing and keeping track of press passes.
The logistics team, who will provide cut-off dates for registration (for instance, no more registrations after Date X so that we can order the food), as well as information about accommodations (which may or may not be a part of the registrations process). The logistics team will need an updated and accurate count of registrations throughout the process; it's probably helpful for the registration team to get in the habit of making a weekly report to the core team throughout the registration season.
Visa assistance. This is probably one of the most time-consuming and complicated thing to consider. As Wikimanias get larger, the number of countries represented also increases. The basic concept is that attendees from some countries may need a travel visa from your country's government in order to attend Wikimania, and while your government may have firm requirements such as sufficient home-country ties, an invitation letter can help your attendee. Writing these letters is a full-time job, and being able to turn them out in time is necessary so that attendees can apply for visas in time.
on-site registration. All attendees will need badges and will need to be checked in.
you will need adequate registration software, a list of information to collect from attendees, an established registration fee structure and payment collection method, and enough information about the conference so that people will want to sign up.
Past conference teams have used the Drupal content management system with the "UberCart" extension, along with a few other extensions.
Whatever software backend you use must support the creation of custom registration forms (obviously), with the ability of registrants to revise those forms after they filled them out. You need to know all the information you need to collect in advance—this is important, since otherwise you may be missing important details from registrants. Your system should have a coupon code system that allows registrants to pay a reduced rate or nothing, especially for scholarship recipients. You need an online payment system like PayPal or a credit card merchant service, though some registrants may ultimately need to pay in cash in person due to issues with e-commerce in certain countries like Ukraine. Your registration form must be made available in many different languages, and you need a convenient way to export your data so that it can be incorporated onto name badges.
An important caveat: registering for the conference and registering on the conference registration system should be the same process. If you have website registration and conference registration as two separate processes, it confuses attendees into thinking they have registered for the conference when they have not. It makes data collection very frustrating, since you end up needing to reconcile two different sets of databases (the user database and the attendee database).
The problem withDrupal content management system with the "UberCart" extension, along with a few other extensions is that while it is highly customizable free software, the code is very unreliable. The number of things that needed to be resolved with the code (some of which were never fully resolved) took up a lot of time and caused a delay in beginning registration. Future conferences should implement more robust software, or better yet, use a third-party service like EventBrite that simply works without any need for configuration. Of course, the downside with third-party registration is that you must trust the third party provider with other people's data, which, while it is not a substantial risk with a good company, may still concern some people.
Project (featuring listing of wiki projects) and Project Language (if applicable—e.g., French Wikiquote)
Optional: Preferred languages
Optional: Interests (this is an open-ended field meant more to facilitate conversation and is low-priority, given limited space available on badges)
Attendees should be able to specify whether or not they want certain information on their badge. For instance, some attendees may want to leave their last name off their badge, going only by their first name.
Choice between discounted registration price or full registration price
Days attending (check box for each day)
Tracks (check box for each track—be sure to note that this is to help with assigning rooms and is not binding)
Gender (male/female/decline to state) (this is for statistical purposes and helps with ordering t-shirts)
Special accommodations needed (sign language interpreters, etc.). This should be an open-ended field.
Name as it appears on passport
Passport expiration date
Date of birth
note the recipient's accomplishments and explain how their travel is being paid for (needed to write the invitation letters for scholarship recipients).
Accommodation (If attendees are signing up for hotel or dorm rooms through the conference and not directly through the hotel)
check-in and check-out dates
smoking or non-smoking room
If an attendee is bringing someone with them, they should make a note of that.
information on roommate preferences
whereby people ask to be randomly paired with a roommate so that they can split the costs of a room
whether the roommate smoke
whether they need to be the same gender.
Registrants should also have the option to specifically name a roommate.
Those applying for scholarships should have the option of submitting a conditional registration, where they can submit information as though they were registering for Wikimania but not have it be finalized until they can confirm their attendance. As for the scholarship application process itself, the information you collect will depend on what the scholarship committee wishes to collect.
By integrating the program process with the registration conference, you may save yourself a lot of effort. You won't have to worry about whether speakers have registered for Wikimania, and you will have a simple, efficient way of finalizing each speaker. The first step is the original submission of the presentation, with a title, name of presenters, brief abstract, and more information if applicable. Then, as the program committee accepts presentations, presenters can use the form to confirm their attendance and provide more information if they have any.
Registration for press should be separate from regular attendee registration, since they register for free and different information is collected about them. You will need the following information for press credentials:
Press credential request
Contact name, address, phone number, and email address
Type of media
Special needs (i.e. room for interviews and editing videos)
Interview requests, if applicable
Sponsor registration is slightly different. If an attendee is registering as a representative of a sponsor
Company logo (optional),
A one hundred-word description (optional)
A yes/no field asking “Are you the main contact for this sponsor?”
A yes/no field asking “Are you the billing contact for this sponsor?”
A yes/no field asking “Are you attending this conference?”
For validation, add a sponsor code field. Sponsor registration is free. If a registrant is not attending the conference, add them to a separate list from the other registrants. There are two different types of sponsor codes: regular sponsor codes and guest sponsor codes. Regular sponsors get a “Sponsor” ribbon, while sponsor guests do not.
Groups, such as Wikimedia chapters, will want to register attendees in bulk for their scholarship awardees or staff members. Coupons can provide free/discounted registration, free/discounted hotel stay, or it can provide both. Groups will be billed based on use.
Name of group (e.g., Wikimedia Hong Kong)
Name of group contact
Group contact email address
Group contact title (e.g. Treasurer, Travel Coordinator, etc.)
Billing email address
Number of codes requested of each:
Registration discount only (and amount discounted)
Hotel discount only (and amount per night discounted)
Both registration and hotel discount (and amounts discounted)
The idea of specifying the amount discounted is that it allows the coupon code user to either stay at a cheap dorm for free or stay at a more expensive hotel for a subsidized cost.
This form generates the coupon codes, but before they go live, someone from the Wikimania team needs to email the named contact person to make sure the order is authorized. This is to ensure that the group intended on taking on the potential cost. Common sense should be exercised. Once the person from the Wikimania team approves the request, the codes should be emailed to the contact person who will distribute the codes as necessary.
As coupon codes are used, their use and the amount discounted should be recorded in a central database. This will ultimately yield an invoice to be payable by the group.
Additionally, the Wikimania team can use this feature to generate coupon codes for its own uses (for example, for free registration codes for sponsors).
Printing name badges can become complicated, since people's registration details change, people turn up on the day wanting to register, the printer breaks, someone made a typo (you'll be blamed even if the attendee goofed), someone is registered as a normal attendee but want a speaker/organiser/press badge... the list goes on. Be prepared to create new badges on-demand at registration.
The name badge needs to include the name of the conference, a logo to prevent easy duplication/faking, and information per the request of the attendee
You should either print this information on both sides of the badge, or engineer the badge such that it cannot flip over. What you don't want is a case where badges easily flip over, causing them to fail in their most basic function.
The font should be as large as you can fit on the badge, but note that some people have very long names and user names (over 40 characters is not unknown in some attendees).
Badges need to be attached to Wikimanians. This is usually done by hanging them round the neck on a lanyard with an option for clipping them to clothing. Pins are a bad idea, since they are difficult for some clothes, there is a potential for injury, and they are less visible).
Use different colors and text labels for different type of attendees, including organizers, volunteers, speakers, and especially press.
Include a small booklet with the schedule and most important information, such as venue layout, nearby shops and pharmacies, and shuttle schedules, and put this booklet inside the badges so it can't get lost and can easily be transported. This was a great idea from Wikimania 2011 that was repeated for Wikimania 2012.
Not all information on the badge is of equal importance. Use different font sizes to easily identify the important bits (e.g. name).
Landscape badges have more space
username@homeproject is quite long to read—consider separating onto different lines
You (or your funding sources) may wish to add sponsors' logos to the badges too
Some attendees will not want their photo taken, and will ask for a marker to indicate this. Sometimes we have included this either on the badge or as a sticker to apply by attendees on registration.
The name of the game is keeping lines short—long lines discourage attendees.
You will want to have several different lines. The first few lines should be for pre-registered attendees (A-J, K-P, Q-Z, or something like that).
Then, you will want a line for on-site registration that features a point-of-sale.
Finally, you will want a special line (or lines) for VIPs, speakers, and press. This should be set up in advance so that large signs can point out these different lines.
Those who have already registered should enter into their appropriate line.
A volunteer will hand them a welcome pack including the program book, conference information, maps, and a conference bag with small gifts.
Consider giving out t-shirts in a separate place to keep lines moving; however, at the least, include a voucher for a t-shirt.
Keep a badge printer handy in case of misprinted badges; something like a simple label printer will do.
For registration on-site, people will fill out a short form and then have a name badge generated on demand. You will need a cash box to handle cash transactions as well as a system to handle credit card payments. Wikimania 2012 used Square payment processing to great satisfaction.