Topic: Accompanying persons: separate registration for participation?  (Read 90890 times)

We are unsure about how we should deal with accompanying persons, such as spouses or kids who want to go to the conference along with the main registrant. Shall each person register separately or should accompanying persons be registered together on the same registration of the main participant?

(A German version of this article is available.)

In most cases we would advise to not let accompanying persons register separately (i.e. in ConfTool you would define a separate participant group for accompanying persons). This would require a separate registration for each person, including each accompanying person.

Instead, if you want to allow your participants to bring along spouses, family members or friends to some of the conference (social) events, then create separate items/events for this purpose, which means that accompanying persons would be part of one main registration. In that way, the main participant can easily do the whole registration in one process.

We see several advantages when you choose this option:
  • Creating a separate participant group for accompanying persons would inflate your total number of participants and you could encounter difficulties to ascertain which venues might be suitable for your academic part of the conference. With accompanying persons on the main registration, you will keep your total number of "genuine" (academic) attendees realistic.
  • Accompanying persons will only have restricted access to parts of the conference, e.g. the academic program might be off limit, and only certain events can be booked for them, such as receptions, dinners or social events. When you create extra events for accompanying persons, you might have better overview of the booked events and might be able to differentiate easier between main participants and accompanying persons, also across specific events.
  • Each registration creates a separate invoice that has to be paid individually. Hence, letting accompanying persons be part of one main registration will reduce the number of invoices and transactions both for you and your participants.

Some disadvantages are:
  • Accompanying persons will not get their own user account (with personal data and e-mail address), so you will not be able to contact them directly.
  • You will only be able to ask for the names of accompanying persons indirectly, i.e. when you use an event/item and activate the option "Extra Input Field" to ask for the name(s) of the accompanying person(s).
    Please see: How to use the Extra Input Fields (Additional Options) of Events/Items
  • Users do not get a separate invoice for the accompanying person. Usually this is not required (or wanted), but sometimes people request this.

In some cases, it might be helpful to create events/items for the accompanying persons as well as a separate participant group for accompanying persons (for example if many people request separate invoices for their companion). But from our experience, the application possibilities for that scenario are few and far between.

If you decide to go for accompanying persons as separate participant groups, please read the following entry in the forum. It describes how you can hide unwanted options/events for the accompanying person group:
Hiding events / items for certain participant groups or time discounts.