Registration: Prepare and send out registration materials, receive registration forms and payments, maintain records of registrants. Prepare meeting name badges, tickets, and packets; staff registration desk at meeting, including distributing meeting packets and handling on-site registrations.
Costs associated with Registration will include copying (unless donated by a law firm or law school), mailing supplies, postage, and meeting supplies such as badges and ribbons. May also need to purchase bags, folders or envelopes to use for distribution of materials at the meeting unless a vendor is donating. Income is received from registration fees. (See Budget chapter concerning setting registration fees.)
Keep the form as short and simple as possible; don't ask for information you don't need!
Use only one side of the page if possible, as people may miss the back.
Post a PDF version of the form on the web site. Keep it all in a single document. (People may fail to print out more than one document.)
The form should include spaces for name, institution, address, phone, and email address.
It should also include check-offs for MAALL membership and for any ADA requirements. (If anyone has requirements, Local Arrangements will need to contact the registrant to find out what specific accommodations are needed. Any committees, such as Transportation, Events, Equipment and Meeting Rooms, needing to make special needs arrangements will need to be notified.)
The return address for registration forms should be clearly indicated.
The form also needs to include all of the information described below.
Separate amounts for members, non-members, per day registration and late registration.
Put all of the food related information together on the form. Include only essential information, such as vegetarian/non-vegetarian choices.
There should be a statement indicating which meals and events are included in registration fees. (MAALL fees typically include nearly all meals.) Do not ask people which meals or events they will attend. Assume they will attend all that are included in their fee. (See Guarantees section of Food chapter for optional approach to pre-meeting meal and event choices and registration fees.)
Single ticket purchase. There should be spaces and fees for anyone who wishes to purchase additional tickets (not included in fee) to particular meal or event functions. These will usually be for spouses or other guests.
Vegetarian. All plated (served as opposed to buffet) meals should include vegetarian entree choices. The form needs spaces for people to select their entrees.
Special requirements. There should be space for persons to note any special dietary requirements.
Deadline for regular registration should be stated. After this date, a late fee is charged. If possible, meeting and hotel registration deadlines should be the same. Regular registration deadline has usually been about a month before the meeting, though it could be later as long as it's well in advance of hotel and caterer guarantee dates.
Refund policy and deadlines:
Refund policy should be stated. Usually there is no refund after the date MAALL must guarantee meal counts to hotel and caterers. Full or partial refunds might be granted before that.
The packet should have a hotel registration form, which is returned directly to the hotel.
Hotel form should include room rates, tax rate, and registration deadline.
There should be spaces to indicate room sharing and any room special requirements.
Programs and events
The registration materials should include descriptions of programs and events.
Programs should be numbered, preferably by day.
It is probably not worthwhile to request that people mark anticipated program attendance. Exception: pre-registration might be required for a program that will have limited seating, such as a hands-on computer program, or a tour which requires transportation.
Do not include check-offs for events that are included in registration feesBassume everyone registered will attend. Sign up forms might be included for other events which need pre-registration.
Packets should include local maps and directions to hotel.
Other desirable information would be brochures or descriptions of local attractions.
Keep in mind, though, that MAALL has to pay postage for registration packets, so give enough local information to generate interest, but have more detailed information available at registration desk when people arrive.
Give your website address. Post all registration materials on the website. Link to local information.
Registration Packet Preparation and Mailing
If possible, have copying costs donated by a law school, law firm or other local organization.
The goal should be for members to have their packets six weeks to no less than a month before the registration deadline.
At least a week is needed for copying and envelope stuffing and another week for mail.
Therefore, all packet forms and other information need to be prepared and in the hands of the Registration Chair no less than 6, and preferably 8 weeks, before the registration deadline.
Sometimes it is difficult for the Program Committee to finalize all of its information by this time. There should be frequent communication with the Program Chair during the weeks and months preceding the registration mailing to encourage the completion of the program in time. If necessary, some programs or speakers may have to be described as tentative or "to be announced."
Packets should be sent to all MAALL members. Get address labels from the MAALL Secretary.
Packets should also be sent to speakers and special guests. Check with the Exhibits Chair for any exhibitors wishing to register for the entire conference as they will need packets.
Other possible recipients might include members of a local SLA chapter or members of other library or law-related groups who are likely to have an interest.
Receipt and Record-Keeping
Record information from each form as soon as possible after it is received. This should include receipt date, name, institution, payment, email address, type of registration, meal selections, special requirements, etc.
Use a database or spreadsheet, preferably a program that can be sorted various ways.
Send checks to MAALL Treasurer.
Keep paper forms on file or forward to someone else on Local Arrangements who has been identified as needing the information.
Be sure that EVERYONE who will be attending any part of MAALL (speakers, special guests, vendors) is added to the database and counted for each meal or other event which he or she is entitled to attend.
Be sure to get information from Exhibits Chair about vendor registrations and add them to database.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
The cancellation and refund policy should be clearly stated on the registration form. Full refunds will be given when notice of cancellation is received at least 21 days in advance of the conference. Half of the registration fees will be refunded when notice of cancellation is received between 7 and 20 days in advance of the conference. No refund will be issued if the cancellation is received fewer than 7 days before the conference. Approved refunds will be made only after the annual meeting. In lieu of cancellation, an alternate may be sent. If the alternate is not a MAALL member, she must pay any difference in rate. The Board shall have the discretion to refund the registration fee in extraordinary circumstances.
The following language is to be used on the registration form itself:
CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS
If you register and find you cannot attend, you will receive a full refund if you notify [Registration Chair, contact info] by [date of 21 days in advance of conference]. If you cancel between [dates of 7 days in advance and 20 days in advance], half of your registration fees will be refunded. No refund will be issued after [date of 6 days in advance]. Approved refunds will be made only after the annual meeting. Instead of canceling, you may choose to send an alternate. If the alternate is not a MAALL member, she must pay any difference in rate.
It is a tremendous help for Local Arrangements planning if most people pre-register. This allows for much more accurate counting for meals and other events.
To encourage pre-registration, the Local Arrangements Chair should post reminders on the MAALL list or send direct email messages to members.
While "badgering" members should be avoided, there should probably be a minimum of 3 remindersBone when the packets go out, another shortly before the registration deadline and a third after the deadline but before meal guarantees are due. In the last one, ask people who are planning to register on-site to notify Local Arrangements so they can be counted.
It may also be worthwhile to review the registration listings and contact directors of any large MAALL libraries that are not represented to see if anyone is planning to come.
[By using reminders, St. Louis was able to hold on-site registrations to only 3. We had heard in the past that a large number of on-site registrations were typical at MAALL meetings.]
Print badges for each registrant, including speakers, guests and vendors.
Badges should include name and institution in large, easy-to-read letters. It is also nice to include the MAALL logo if space permits.
"Per day" and vendor registrants should be identified on the badge (including which day for per day). To save space, this can be done by color-coding the badge.
Badges should have plastic covers with strings and clips for wearing around the neck, or offer a choice of clip, pin, and around-the-neck-holders.
Have colored printed ribbons available to attach to badges for officers, speakers, Local Arrangements and Program Committee members. Ribbons printed horizontally rather than vertically are nice as they don=t get crumpled up so much.
Tickets should be printed for meal events, especially those which have more than one selection.
Have a ticket for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrees. (This is to prevent people from switching entrees if they think something else looks better than what they orderedBthis can lead to entree shortages!)
Other materials for program packets
Essential: Bag or envelope to hold everything (Preferably, President arranges for a vendor to donate bags.)
Printed program of events, including locations and hotel map
Optional: Vendor freebies, like pens or scratch pads
Local attraction information
Additional information about particular programs, events, etc.
About a week before the meeting, print badges and tickets.
Use registration database to match tickets for each meal and event with name badge.
Put in an envelope with registrant's name on the outside. Include ribbons for those who should receive them.
Other materials can be put in bags in advance or as packets are handed out.
At the Meeting
If possible, the registration desk should be located near meeting rooms and other activities. There should be signs directing people from the hotel entry to the desk.
The registration desk should have an assortment of basic office supplies on hand such as stapler/staples, tape, pens, pencils, markers, scissors, tacks, post-it notes, etc.
The registration desk should be large enough to accommodate at least 2 people seated, and all of the registration packets and other materials. There should also be space for sign up sheets for various activities, brochures about local attractions, etc. More than one table will probably be needed. It is helpful to have a storage area nearby.
Assuming that MAALL is running from Thursday noon to Saturday noon, the desk should be staffed beginning by about 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. on Thursday and continuing until the end of programs that day. It should also be staffed most of Friday. Saturday staffing should not be necessary.
Most of the time only one person will be needed to staff the desk, but two should be available the first day, especially during the last couple of hours before the meeting starts.
Registration desk staff should greet and check in registrants and give them their packets. They will also need to complete any on-site registrations and be prepared to answer a variety of questions.
Information about any on-site registrations should immediately be conveyed to the person handling arrangements with the hotel for the opening luncheon.
For the most part our registration packet worked well; however, here's what we'd do differently if we had it to do over.
$ We failed to have a place for special dietary requirements.
$ We forgot to include the refund policy.
$ We would not ask people to mark whether or not they are attending events that are included in the registration fee. (Doing this lead to endless debate about whether or not to count people who didn't mark the event. Inevitably, some people won't mark anything!)
$ We would not ask people to mark which programs they plan to attend. This theoretically should be useful for planning meeting size and informing speakers of handouts needed. However, inevitably many people don't mark anything. We found that our own estimates of which programs would be the most popular worked equally well.
$ We'd put all the meal information together. (Luncheon entree descriptions were on a different page from check off for vegetarian selection.)
$ On web page version, put all forms in one document. (We had more than one and some people missed the second one.)