ARTS- Advanced Registration Tour System
If your convention is offering its participants a choice of optional tours, you may wish to consider our advance registration system for tour sign-ups. This method has been successfully used by several conventions over the past fifteen years for groups ranging in size from 200 to 4,000 participants. In every case, discrepancies were zero and participant satisfaction was 100%. More importantly, the meeting planners and convention coordinators have thanked us many times for producing a system that could relieve them from the tedious, time-consuming details while providing their members professional and efficient services.
ARTS ensures an adequate supply of sightseeing seats that might not otherwise be available. Last minute attempts by your participants to sign up for optional tours can prove frustrating due to an inadequate supply of seats on a short notice basis. Our ARTS system includes the following:
1. Creation of a program of tours for your participants - we will submit a schedule of tour offerings, designed to comply with your meeting and social activity schedules, for your approval. After we reach agreement on the final scheduling, you would distribute our form to your participants in a mailing.
2. Having received this form, each participant then checks off the tours desired, fills in the order blank furnished at the bottom of the sheet, and mails it to us together with the payment or faxes it with credit card information. We then enter this information into our data base program and the original order blank is filed alphabetically to be used as a reference should a question arise at the convention registration area on registration day.
3. On a periodic basis, we will provide you with a printout of tour registrations to date. This information can be prepared as an alphabetical tour registration list or a listing by specific tour number, as you prefer. You may specify to us the frequency with which you would like to receive these printouts.
4. Vouchers are prepared and printed within the final week prior to the convention's arri-val. Each voucher is personalized with the registrant's name, specifying the pickup time, the pickup location, and further reminds the participant of the cancellation pol-icy. These vouchers are then collated and placed in envelopes with the name of each person clearly visible on the outside and filed alphabetically in order to be quickly distributed to the registrants.
5. The day before the first tour will operate, or on your main arrival day, we will staff a desk within the hospitality/registration area of your convention. At this time, we will distribute the tour vouchers to each participant as they finish registration and are asked to stop by our tour desk.
The program is especially useful for large groups, particularly city-wide programs. We can use it for small groups as well, but it's real value lies in the servicing of large programs.
If you have a group of, let us say, 4,000 persons, staying at every hotel in town, from El Convento out to the Ritz Carlton, and if no one pre-plans and pre-registers the participants for optional sightseeing tours, there is no way that everyone will be able to do the sightseeing that he or she might wish to participate in on a last minute sign-up basis. It would be impossible to put together a huge optional sightseeing program after the participants arrive here. Equipment has to be reserved ahead of time, dispatch personnel lined up, dispatch lists created, special programs involving catamarans, horses, mountain bikes or kayaks need to be pre-reserved in order to ensure their availability, hiking guides for the rainforest need to be pre-reserved, etc.
This program allows us to do just was has to be done - pre-sell the options through the internet and mail. It starts off with the meeting planner and ourselves agreeing as to what free times there are in the program (for we don't wish to offer sightseeing that might interfere with the official meeting schedule). We then prepare a grid of offerings that flows well and makes sense, keeping in mind traffic patterns with regard to certain days of the week (like NEVER plan a city tour for a Sunday afternoon) and that allows for good consolidation where we need it and ensures that the most popular tours are offered enough times that anyone that might wish to will have an opportunity to participate.
Once the meeting planner approves the offering we prepare a "Sell Sheet" which is comprised of the schedule, a description of each activity, and a tear off blank which the participant mails in with his check or faxes in with credit card information. We then key punch all registrations as they come in, day by day, so that at any given time we can print out an up to date listing of participation in each tour. Naturally the lists can be alphabetically organized, or organized by tour, or perhaps by tour and by dispatch center - with a good database system like we have the various sorts and filters we can apply are endless.
About a week before the group actually operates we print out vouchers, one for each registrant for each tour. The vouchers are personalized with the name of the individual, the time of the tour, the number of persons the voucher is good for, the cancellation warning notice, and the place where that person's tour will dispatch from. The vouchers are then placed in envelopes and sorted alphabetically. When registration opens, our staff is present with the envelopes and they are either pre-placed in each person's registration package, or distributed by our personnel directly to the registrants. This pre-selling will normally cover about 60% of the registrations. We remain on site at the various hospitality centers and continue signing up persons for tours - this is for those who chose not to pre-register.
This past year we have had two clients who have published our "Sell Sheet" in their web site which is promoting their congress, and the participants merely print it out and mail in the information after filling out the form.
All in all, it's a fantastic system, and there is no extra charge to the client for using it. It takes a tremendous burden off of the meeting planner. If the Association wishes to make a profit on each tour, that's not a problem, we merely factor that in as well when we do our pricing, and at the end of the meeting we cut one check for all commissions and accompany this with a printout showing how many people participated in each tour.
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