Configuration of the Participant Registration Module

Table of Contents
1. Checking the User Registration Configuration
2. Set-up of the Participant Registration
2.1 Main Settings for Participant Registration
2.2 Manage Payment Options
2.3 Time Discounts, Part. Groups and VAT Rates
2.4 Price Categories
2.5 Prices
2.6 Event / Item Groups
2.7 Events / Items
3. Tests

One of the two main modules of ConfTool Pro handles registration and administration of participants for your event, the other one abstract submission and reviewing. This instruction gives an introduction into the use and configuration of the participant registration module. It provides an overview of the options and describes the most important features. Please note that all options and switches are also described online on the settings pages of the system and that you can find more hints for less frequently required options there. Furthermore, we provide several examples to illustrate the many options and possible solutions here: Examples on How to Configure the Participant Registration Module.

To understand the configuration options, let us start with a short explanation of the participant registration process as it is carried out by the participants:

  • The first step for persons using ConfTool is to enter the personal details and to create a user account. The user account allows each person to return to ConfTool, to print out the invoices and receipts (if provided by the organizers), to check the payment status or to print out a confirmation of participation after the event. If you also employ ConfTool for paper submission and reviewing, the same account is used for tasks related to being an author or program committee member (see image 1).
  • The next step initiates the actual registration for participation. This page identifies the Participant Status: The system will determine if a time-discount applies and the participant can select a participant group or status, e.g. student, member of an organization, or regular participant. Furthermore, the participant can enter a registration code or a member or student ID to select a group / status with a special discount. The statuses and codes are defined by the organizers, so this will be part of your configuration task (see image 2).
    Please note: This page will not be displayed if only one group / status is available.
  • The next step is the Event and Item Selection. On this page you define the items and sub-events and ask for all required data regarding the participation. You can, for instance, offer single events or packages for the conference, provide special options for dietary requirements, ask for accompanying persons, invite to social events, sell merchandising articles and ask for further remarks from the participants. All events / items on this page are defined by the organizers. The events / items are clustered into “event / item groups”, to organize the page and to arrange items that are related to each other (see image 3).
  • The next step deals with the Payment Details. This includes a choice of payment methods and an alternative invoice address, if required (see image 4).
  • Finally, the participant has to Confirm the Registration details to complete the registration. Here, the participant can also be asked to confirm the registration terms as defined by the organizers.
    The participant will receive an automatic confirmation e-mail after completing the registration (see image 5).
  • It is also possible to gather additional Personal Participant Data, e.g. if and how the attendee wants to appear on the list of participants and how his or her name and organization will be given on the name badge. You can also collect further personal details for a public online list of participants. The corresponding page will be shown after the registration process if you enable the participant profile functions of ConfTool.
  • If an online payment system like PayPal is used, the participant can now pay the registration fees directly via ConfTool by clicking the payment button. Payment results will also be stored automatically in ConfTool for most online payment systems. If an offline payment method (like bank transfer) is used, organizers have to confirm payments manually in ConfTool (see image 6).
Image 1: Registration page for new users
Image 2: User chooses participant status
Image 3: User selects events and items
Image 4: User enters payment details
Image 5: User confirms registration
Image 6: Online payment - PayPal

It is helpful to understand that participant registration consists of three main elements: First, everyone has to enter personal details and create a user account. After this step, you as the organizer will already hold all user details, even if the person cannot or does not want to complete the registration at this time. So you can contact these persons later, to remind them to proceed with their registration.
The second part is the actual participant registration. Here, the persons are asked all details about their attendance: These include, inter alia, the status of the participant (e.g. student, professional, member), registration for different events and sessions, special dietary requirements, accompanying persons, social gatherings, and finally payment methods.
Finally, in the third step, participants pay their registration fees.

1. Checking the User Registration Configuration

User registration is the first step of the registration process. Here, the person should be asked for all relevant personal details. This page has several mandatory fields such as name, address and e-mail and several optional fields such as phone number and home page URL. Many of these fields can be changed by the organizers and additional fields or selections can be added.

Please check which data you receive during the user registration process before you begin with the set-up of the participant registration and test if this data meets your requirements.

To change these options go to
Overview => Settings => Settings for User Registration

Please note that it is advisable to ask for personal details only during this step. Please do not ask for details regarding the participation at the event, like dietary requirements for an evening event, preferred workshops or hotel options, as processing and filtering these details is not as convenient as if you use the event and item selection.

2. Set-up of the Participant Registration

Please begin with the set-up of the participant management here: 
Overview => Settings
Scroll down to section “Settings for the Participant Management of ConfTool” (see image 7).

The best way to define the settings is to start from the top and work all the way through to the bottom, keeping to the order of the available options. The next chapters will give an overview of the most important concepts and options.

Image 7 - Settings for participant management - Click image to enlarge

2.1 Main Settings for Participant Registration

Please go to main settings for participant registration (see image 8):
Overview => Settings => Main Settings for Participant Registration

First, in the section “Registration for Conference Participation”, define the phase in which participants can register.

In ConfTool Pro it is also possible to enable editing and deleting registration data by participants themselves (contact us to enable this function). However, we usually do not recommend using these options, as registration should be binding and organizers should therefore confirm changes and cancellations and carry them out for their participants. Organizers can always edit and cancel registrations for participants. Thus, you can keep changes in registration under better control and inform participants about their responsibilities for editing or canceling certain options or paying outstanding payments.

The next group of options, in the section “Participant Registration Options”, includes the question for a registration code, a membership number or student ID. Enable this option "Ask for a member number/ student ID / special registration code?" if you want to give one or more participant groups special codes for registration, allowing them to pay a reduced fee or offering certain events or sessions only to them.

The “Conference Currency” must be defined before the first person registers for participation. The "Currency code" is the internationally standardized three digit code, as defined by the International Standardization Organization (e.g. EUR, USD, AUD, GBP, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_4217 ). The "currency sign (symbol)" is a commonly used symbol, like $, € or ¥. We recommend using an internationally recognized currency sign, such as AU$ for Australian Dollar.

Please note that it is also possible to define extra currency exchange rates for specific countries in the expert settings. This is useful if you have for instance bank accounts in different countries with different currencies. In this way, you can save substantial bank costs for money transfers.

In the section “Invoices and Taxes” define for the option "Invoices with VAT/GST?" whether prices are tax-free, if they already include VAT, or if VAT is added to your prices. With the option "Show invoices to participants" you can allow participants to download and print their invoices after registration. Alternatively, you can bulk print the invoices and send them or hand them out to the participants at the conference: 
Overview => User and Participant Management => Bulk Printing of Invoices

When you enable the option “Issue Pro Forma Invoices”, invoices will be preliminary and without invoice number until the payment has been recorded in ConfTool Pro, or the registration was confirmed by an organizer. It is advisable to use this option if you expect many fake registrations (for instance to gain a visa invitation for your country) or if you want the list of invoices to be ordered by the time of payment. Adapt the invoice number to be compliant with your financial accounting by defining the options "Prefix of the range of invoice numbers", "Digits of invoice number (4 to 11)" and "Number of the first (next) invoice".

In the next section “Payment Receipts”, with the option "Show receipt to participant?" you can enable the access by participants to their receipt. Alternatively, you can bulk print all receipts later in one go and send them per mail or hand them out at the conference registration desk: 
Overview => User and Participant Management=>Bulk Printing of Payment Receipts

The last section “Participant List Options” allows you to open an online participant list for all attendees. Enabling this option gives participants the chance to see who the other registered participants are, if the latter have agreed to appear on the public list. The list of participants can be accessed by registered participants after log-in. Furthermore, you can set a "Maximum Number of Characters for Full Name on Name Badge", if you want participants themselves to specify their name and the name of their organization for the badges. This data will also be included in the exports: 
Overview => Data Import and Export => Export Data

Image 8 - Main settings participant registration - Click image to enlarge

2.2 Manage Payment Options

The supported payment options are set on this page. Please note that ConfTool GmbH does not provide payment services. Therefore, you will have to open a bank account for your event and obtain a merchant account with an acquirer or a PayPal or a Skrill (Moneybookers) account if you want to accept credit card payments.

You can enable and disable the different payment options at any time. You can also activate them for admin users only, in case you want certain methods to be available in the back end only. If your participants have to pay a fee, you will obviously have to provide at least one payment method (see image 9).

  • Payment by cash (at the conference registration desk): Remember to have sufficient change (small notes and coins) at the registration desk, if you want participants to pay locally. Please note that choosing this option might produce a considerable amount of no-shows, therefore we recommend making this option available only shortly (e.g. 1-2 weeks) before the conference.
  • Payment by check is still supported in several countries and might be a cheap option for national participants, but international checks are usually expensive to handle and fees of 20.00€ – 30.00€ are common.
  • Payment via PayPal can be used for several payment methods and allows organizers in many countries to receive credit card payments, too. The module to link ConfTool to PayPal is included in ConfTool Pro. Please note that you will have to open a PayPal business account. The account is free but the usual PayPal payment fees apply (about 1.9% - 3.9% per transaction). Please consult this page first before you decide to choose PayPal as a payment method: Configure PayPal for ConfTool Pro.
  • Payment via Stripe: Stripe allows you to receive credit card payments from anywhere online. Only the organizers need to create a Stripe account. Stripe does not charge any setup or monthly fees, but as usual payment fees apply (depending on your location, about 1.9% - 3.6% plus about 30c per transaction). You will find further information here: Configure Stripe for ConfTool Pro.
  • Payment via Skrill (formerly Moneybookers): Skrill is another online payment system which will allow you to receive credit card payments. This module is already integrated in ConfTool. Participants will have to create a Skrill account if they do not already have one in order to be able to pay. Monthly gateway usage service fees and transaction fees apply (depending on your location, about 2.4% - 3.9% plus about 25c per transaction). You will find more information here: How to Configure Skrill (Moneybookers) for ConfTool Pro.
  • Payment via Sofort Banking / Sofort Überweisung: This internet payment method allows participants from several European countries to pay via a secure payment form in which they enter their online banking details, including a TAN. The money will be transferred to your banking account. A set-up fee and transaction fees are incurred. This module is already integrated in ConfTool. Please see Configure SOFORT Banking for ConfTool Pro for further information.
  • Wire / Bank Transfer: This payment method is the cheapest (and safest) option in most countries and we recommend it when you expect most payments to come from within your country or from countries within the EU, if your country is part of the EU.
  • Payment by Credit Card: In order to be able to receive payments for all three credit card options, you will need a merchant account with an acquirer / acquiring bank. We recommend reading the introduction on how credit card payments are processed first: Receiving Credit Card Payments.
    • Online Payment via a Credit Card Gateway: To automatically receive online payments without manual handling, you will also need an online payment gateway account. These are often offered together with the merchant account as a package by the same company. For ConfTool Pro we can provide modules to link the system to over 25 different credit card gateways. Please note that we charge an extra fee for the license, installation and configuration of these modules and that the gateway and acquirer accounts have to be provided by the organizers.
    • Enter Credit Card Details Online: You can ask participants to enter their credit card details online into ConfTool. You can export the payment details of all participants from the ConfTool database and handle them manually to receive payments from the acquiring bank. Please remember that you must not store credit card details longer than required, so you should delete the data when the payment is entered into ConfTool. Furthermore, you will have to ensure that the high safety requirements for handling and storing of this data are met.
    • Send Fax With Payment/Credit Card Details: With this option, you don’t have to store any payment details online and you get a signed confirmation from your participants. You will have to handle the payments manually to receive money from the acquiring bank.
  • Extra Payment Options: You can define up to three additional payment options with customizable text in the expert settings. These can be used for example to put a link to a payment page or your organization or to inform participants that they will receive an invoice and further payment details by post.

When you decide to have ConfTool Pro linked to a credit card gateway or to PayPal, Stripe, Skrill or SOFORT a link to the online payment service provider will appear after registration. Here, participants enter the payment details for further processing. Payments made in these external payment systems will be automatically entered in the list of all payments in ConfTool and the invoice of the participant will be marked as paid.

For all offline payment methods you will have to mark registrations as paid manually. Participants will receive an automatic confirmation e-mail when the payment is entered.

The section “Payment mode update by users” allows users to change their preferred mode of payment after having finished the registration for participation. To be able to keep track of changes, we recommend only letting the administrator change the payment mode after registration.

Image 9 - Settings payment options - Click image to enlarge

2.3 Time Discounts, Participant Groups and VAT Rates

Proceed by setting up time discounts, participant groups and VAT rates.

Manage Time Discounts” allows you to define time periods with different prices. You can for instance offer a reduced price when participants register before a certain date (early bird registration), a normal price for late registrations and a high price when they register on-site. You can define as many time discounts as you like, but you need at least one time period, i.e., if you do not offer an early-bird discount, just define a single rate “normal registration”. Please note that the price depends on the time of registration and not on the time of payment, as this is common practice. Should a participant not pay within the allotted time frame (normally within four weeks), issue a reminder of payment and, if necessary, adjust the fee by changing the date of the registration for participation to a date of the late registration phase.

Manage Participant Groups” allows you to define different groups / statuses. These are useful if you want to offer different prices to different participant groups, e.g. students, professionals or members. Furthermore, this can be used to give certain groups of participants access to specific events, e.g. when you offer round tables for senior researchers exclusively or workshops for non-academic interest groups. You can define codes for each group, in order to limit access to these groups / statuses to those people holding a corresponding code or invitation.

Please note:

  • It is usually advisable not to define a group for accompanying persons, as these persons should register only together with the main participant. So if you want to allow participants to bring family or friends to the dinner or other events, add these as options to “Manage Event and Items”.
  • If you define only one group, the corresponding registration page will be skipped. But even if you have only one price for all participant groups or do not charge any fees at all, it might be beneficial to discriminate several participant statuses. You can use groups / statuses for statistical purposes or to provide specific options on the next page (event and item selection) of the registration process.

In the section “VAT / GST Rates” you can define the VAT / sales tax rate(s) for your conference. Please note that 0% as a VAT rate cannot be deleted, but you do not need to use it. Add more rates at your discretion. If you do not have to charge VAT / sales taxes, please disable the VAT function in the Main Settings for Participant Registration.

Image 10: Time discounts - click image to enlarge
Image 11: Participant groups - Click image to enlarge
Image 12: VAT / GST rates - click image to enlarge

2.4 Price Categories

Create a “Price Category” for each type of event or item with a specific price. Price categories serve as meta-level price groups and their names will not be displayed to participants. Examples: You want to charge a conference fee for the whole conference. But there are several different participant groups, e.g. students, professionals and senior researchers and several time discounts, e.g. early bird and normal registration, which leads to a table of different prices. For this table you only need one price category “Conference Fee” and it will consist of many different prices, one for each participant group and each time discount. However, if you have for instance several tutorials with two different prices (full day and half day), you will need two price categories.

The prices will be entered for each price category, each participant group, and each time discount period separately in the section “Prices” (see below). The price category “No costs apply” is set as a default.

You can find a more detailed explanation of price categories in the ConfTool support forum.

2.5 Prices

Once you have outlined all participant groups, time discount periods and price categories, you can enter the “Prices” for all available combinations. If you do not want certain combinations to be selectable by participants, enable the expert settings on the bottom of the page and untick the boxes next to the prices to choose items not to be shown on the registration page. You will find an example here: Examples on How to Configure the Participant Registration Module.

Image 13 - Individual Prices - Click image to enlarge

2.6 Event / Item Groups

Event / Item Groups” have an organizing function for the options on the “Events and Items” selection page: First, they serve as headers for events or items that belong to the same group. Within each event group, you can set how many events and items may be selected or if participants may even only choose exactly one item from the group (see image 14).

It is important to understand that event groups are not to be confused with price categories and that they are not directly related to prices or price categories! You will find several examples here: Examples on How to Configure the Participant Registration Module.

2.7 Events / Items

Finally, “Events / Items” are the options that will appear on the registration page for “Events and Items”. 
If you create a new entry, choose the event group for this particular item first. The options for the setting of this item will depend on the parameters of the event group chosen.

Enter the title, date, location and additional information of the item to show all required information to participants during registration and also on the invoice.

In the section “Choice Options” you can select minimum and maximum numbers and a default value for each item. The following options apply to event groups with the default selection mode “Normal: all events / items of this group are independent” (please see screenshot below). Most important settings:

  • If you want the event to be chosen with a checkbox, then set the “Minimal Choice” to 0 and the “Maximal Choice” to 1. The default value identifies if the checkbox is initially selected.
  • If you want to offer a select list for the number of this item, then set the “Maximal Choice” to a value larger than 1. Again, the default value defines the initial value of that field when a participant reaches the page.
  • If you want an item to be obligatory, for instance the main registration fee, set minimum and maximum to 1 and the default value to 1, too.
  • If you set min and max to 0, the item is shown as a description only and will not be selectable.

Please find more detailed information in the ConfTool Support Forum.

The section “Pricing” provides options relating to the amount and the calculation method for the fee of the event / item. It is important to select the correct price category and VAT rate here.

The “Charging Mode” can identify different methods for calculating the fee based on days. Choose the relevant option here and set a start and end date. This allows participants to choose a date or dates from within this time frame, charging flat, per diem or per night. You can e.g. use this if you want to offer hotel bookings (charged per night) or if you want to sell day tickets.

The “Extra Input Field” in the section “Additional Options” should be reserved for supplemental details only, as the options for filtering, limiting, updating and exporting information entered in these fields by your participants are limited. Thus, we advise against using this option for events like workshops or sessions. These fields are well suited to ask for additional information, like the dietary requirements for an evening event, the name of an accompanying person or the level of experience of tutorial participants.

Again, you can consult the ConfTool Support Forum for additional information.

Setting the “Maximum availability” will enable a counter of the available spaces for an event or item. It will be deactivated once booked out.

Furthermore, you can “Deactivate” or “Hide” events at any time. Deactivated events will be marked as booked out on the registration form. To hide an event on the registration form, change the “Visual Style of the event”. Still, such disabled options can be selected by admin users and organizers.

Image 14: Registration form - Click image to enlarge

3. Tests

It is very important to test all your settings for the participant registration module before going live.

For a preview of the complete form for participant registration, please call this page:
Overview => Settings => Manage Events and Items
Open the drop down menu "Related Functions" and click on "Edit Participant Data". A new window will open in which you will find all input fields and options as a preview of the participant registration form.

The first quick tests of the settings can be done from the list of users:
Overview => User and Participant Management => List of All Users
In the right-hand column “Action” click the option “Reg. Particip.” to see all options of the registration process on one page. Simply reload this page as long as you modify the settings to see the changes.

For a naturalistic test you can use the “Service Mode” of ConfTool Pro. In “Service Mode”, registration of new users is blocked and only administrative users may log-in. To enable the “Service Mode” go to:
Overview => Settings => Main Setup
Now you can enable the registration phase (see below), without the risk of users registering.

To test the settings you should use a test user account without administrative rights. You can always create user accounts here:
Overview => User and Participant Management => Create New User Account
To log-in as one of the test users, go to the list of all users:
Overview => User and Participant Management => List of All Users
In the right-hand column “Action” click on ”Login as”. Now you can test the participant registration from the point of view of normal users.

Once you have finished your tests, delete the registrations for participation and the test user accounts.

To cancel and delete the registration for participation, go to the list of participants:
Overview => User and Participant Management => List of All Registrations for Participation
Click on “Cancel” in the right-hand column “Action”. If you select “Cancel registration and remove participant registration details from database.” as cancellation status on the second screen, the registration for participation will be removed permanently from the database.

To delete test user accounts, go to the list of all users:
Overview => User and Participant Management => List of All Users
and click on “Delete” in the right-hand column.

You can permanently remove deleted users from the database by accessing:
Overview => User and Participant Management => Purge Deleted Users

In order for users to be able to register for participation, enable the phase for “Registration for Conference Participation”. You can set deadlines for both user registration (“Registration of New ConfTool Accounts”) and registration for participation independently. If you disable the user registration phase during the phase for conference participation, only users with an existing ConfTool account will be able to register for your conference.

Finally, don’t forget to disable the “Service Mode”.