Determining & Accepting Registration Fees
Registration fees are the main source of revenue for most conferences. It is important to set fees that will cover the cost of running the conference and attract the most number of attendees.
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Where to Begin
To begin, determine the registration types associated with the conference. Once established, the conference has to estimate the anticipated revenue and expenses associated with the conference.
When setting registration fees, consider the following:
- Prior year’s registration fees
- Exhibitor income and sponsorship income
- Previous attendance numbers
- Anticipated expenses, such as food and beverage, hotel
- Fees for registration services
- Local taxes and fees, such as value-added tax (VAT), or goods and services tax (GST)
- Sister Society Partnerships (information regarding partnerships can be found on the ieee.org website)
Establishing Registration Fee Types
Begin by clearly defining the registration fees associated with each type of attendee.
In accordance with Policy 10.1.15, all registration fees must abide by the following:
- IEEE member/non-member registration fee differential of 20% or above for all financially sponsored conferences.
- Conferences where IEEE is the sole sponsor must have a reduced fee for Life Members no more than that for Students.
|Member||The base registration fee for the conference|
|Non-member||20% or more than the member registration fee paid in advance or on site. A benefit of membership is reduced fees at conferences, so you want to charge non-members more than members.|
|Sponsoring organization (IEEE)||Equal to or less than the member registration fee. You may provide a reduced fee to members of the sponsoring organization to encourage members from their organization to attend.|
|Co-sponsoring organizations (non-IEEE)||Equal to or greater than the member registration fee. You may provide a reduced fee to members of the sponsoring organization to encourage members from their organization to attend.|
|Student member||Reduced or waived fees. Required where IEEE is the sole sponsor.|
|Life member||Reduced or waived fees. Required where IEEE is the sole sponsor. The registration fee for a Life member must be the same or less than the Student member fee|
Unemployed IEEE members
Retired IEEE members
Special VIP guests
|Reduced or waived fees. Reduced fees for these groups is at the discretion of the Conference Committee of the sponsoring organization.|
|Non-members who join IEEE||The difference between a member fee and a non-member fee paid by the attendee can be applied toward membership enrollment in IEEE.|
Offer Early Discounted Fees
An early discounted rate is typically offered before the full registration fee goes into effect. There are many benefits to offering discounts not just for the attendee but for the conference as well.
- Reward: Attendees are rewarded for early registration with access to popular sessions and keynote speeches.
- Buzz: As attendees register early, this provides more time for them to promote your conference to other colleagues and friends.
- Marketing Evaluation: Based on the number of registrations during the early discounted rate time period, marketers can evaluate their efforts and determine if a further push is necessary.
Quick tips: Never extend the deadline for the early discounted rate and ensure you market the early rate as much and as often as possible.
Clearly state the refund policy on the registration form and conference website and in the registration-confirmation letter.
Typical refund policies:
- Fees are refundable within 30 days of registration.
- Refunds are made within seven to ten days of receiving the cancellation.
- If a cancellation is made within 30 days of the start of the conference, the refund is made after the event.
- The refund is reduced by a small fee, usually US$50 to US$100, to cover the administrative costs of processing and refunding a registration.
Establishing Payment Processing
Today, almost all conferences collect the vast majority of their registration funds online via credit card. There are 4 main components needed to execute this, all of which are offered by IEEE to conference organizers:
- A front-end, customer-facing payment portal on your conference website
- A payment gateway, like authorize.net or CyberSource, to authorize the payment
- A merchant account, for collection of registration funds
- Your conference bank account, for funds to ultimately settle into and for use in making conference disbursements
Learn more about IEEE’s Registration offerings, which include the use of a payment gateway.
- Learn more about IEEE’s Merchant Account Lending Program
- Learn more about IEEE’s NextGen Banking Program
If you decide to use a registration provider other than MCE, it’s important that they comply with IEEE policy and can deliver an output suitable for an audit.
- Learn more about registration provider requirements (PDF, 144 KB)
An important component of the registration process is performing a reconciliation. This involves confirming that all funds that the conference was expected to receive based on the registration report have actually been deposited into the conference bank account. This task should be performed by the Treasurer and/or by the vendor contracted to provide registration services. For more information on registration reconciliation, watch this short video: