The egg goes on the spoon, and you take off running as awkwardly as you can. It’s the great American egg-on-the-spoon race, and trying not to let it topple off is the name of the game.
Who doesn’t like watching while others awkward run-walk-balancing act (not to mention watching eggs splatter!).
When you’re the egg carrier, you can risk it and try to run as fast as you can, or you can take it slow and steady and hope your fellow competitors have shaky hands…but how much easier would it be if you could just…use a larger spoon? You could probably sprint full speed.
You can think of camp registration software as the spoon. This analogy is a bit off the wall but go with us here.
Too often camps choose technology that’s not actually suited to their needs. They force themselves to work with a tiny plastic spoon when they could be spooning their way to forward at full speed.
And when you’re forced to use software not aligned with your camp’s goals, you run the risk of dropping the egg – i.e. data loss, a frustrating registration process for parents, or an experience that’s not well-designed.
Here’s a better solution: Ditch the plastic spoon. Embrace summer camp registration software that’s designed to help you run the race as fast as you want.
Achieving Enrollment Goals with a Camp Registration Platform
When you choose the right tool for a task, you can make your life easier.
That’s certainly true about camp registration software. The software enables you and your team to achieve specific goals: A simplified application and enrollment process for parents, easy credit card processing, and fast reporting, to name a few.
You can’t begin without at first considering where you want to go.
What are your goals for improving your registration?
If your software platform is holding you back, you can save valuable time and headaches by changing providers and finding a tool that’s better suited to your needs.
Just think: How much faster could you run the egg-and-spoon with…a ladle? Your software should be the ladle. (And yes, we know, that might be the first time ever software’s been compared to a ladle!)
Goal #1: Simple Credit Card Processing and Invoicing
There are numerous reasons camps should offer online payments. It’s convenient. It’s faster, more accurate and better organized.
The good news: Even though you probably aren’t an e-commerce expert, with the right tool, you can look like one.
So how can you tell if the registration software you’re using isn’t aligned with this goal? A few of the biggest credit card processing problems include:
- You can’t offer pay-by-installment or auto debiting for parent accounts
- Accounting is challenging or confusing
- Invoices can’t be sent quickly
- Parents are directed to a third-party site to make payments
The simplicity of your payment processing has a big impact on your customers. According to a Forrester report, for example, 11 percent of adults are willing to abandon purchases if you’re asking for too much information. That’s why you need a platform that’s designed for payment simplicity. Choose a platform that allows:
- Unlimited Payment Options – You should offer parents a wide menu of payment options. In fact, according to a Milo survey, 56 percent of online shoppers expect a wide range of options. For camps, that means things like scheduling auto debits, payment installments, and easy pay-in-full processing. Plus, your platform should accept all major credit cards, as well as newer options for payment like PayPal or ACH transactions.
- Promotions and Tiered Pricing – Discounts and promotions likely play a role in your marketing. So choose a platform that allows complete customization – you should be able to offer multi-camper discounts, multi-session discounts, early-bird promotions.
- Automated Invoicing – An invoice should be automatically created and sent to parents. Say a parent signs up for Session 1 and Session 3. You shouldn’t have to manually create an invoice and calculate the cost for both sessions; the platform should automatically calculate the cost, apply any discounts, and send the invoice to the parent’s email or payment account.
- Easy Account Creation: Creating an account for payment can be frustrating. And that’s why parents should be able to do it in minutes, add financial details without a hassle and pay a deposit quickly.
- An On-Site Check-Out Page: Perceived security is very important for building trust with your camp families. They already trust your brand, so don’t send them away from your site. The registration platform should look like and keep parents on your website.
Goal #2: A User-Friendly Experience for Parents
A No. 1 reason camps look for new registration software: Their existing platforms make registration difficult or confusing.
And let’s face it: You’re researching software so you can work more efficiently, not to spend all spring walking parents through a complicated online process.
A user-friendly registration experience makes things easy. Each step in the process is clearly explained and defined: Account creation, understanding which forms to fill out, knowing how to fill them out correctly, knowing how to ask for help, and making payments easy to schedule. Parents should have few questions about what they’re required to do.
But how can you be sure a platform’s aligned to this goal?
Act as a parent would. Request a demo and follow all the steps in your registration process. If you’re confused, chances are parents will be too. In particular, look for a platform with:
- Easy navigation
- Clear directions of what to do
- Simple account creation
- A method for saving progress
- Easy-to-find answers to common help questions
- A visual progress tracker
- A customer support team who is willing to talk to parents
Goal #3: An Attractively Designed, Branded Registration Experience
You’ve put a lot of time into earning the trust of camp parents and building your brand. In other words, your registration platform should align with those branding expectations.
Your payment and registration page should look and feel like every other page on your website. The colors should match, your logo should be front-and-center, and the fonts should be the same.
If the platform you use isn’t aligned with this goal, you might be forced to make a one-size-fits-all design work. It won’t match your existing website – and that could disrupt the trust you’ve worked so hard to earn.
Goal #4: Personalized Registration with Easy Selections
What’s unique about your camp’s registration? Maybe you offer 6 sessions – or maybe its 2? Might you offer day camp and overnight camping? Or you might accommodate a lot of families that register multiple campers?
Your families expect a personalized experience. They want to be able to customize their camp experience at home during registration, and they want to have the flexibility to choose the options that apply to their children.
So look for platforms that empower parents to personalize their child’s camping experience. A platform aligned to this goal would include features like:
- Bunk Requests: Allowing campers to request bunkmates is a powerful tool for getting kiddos excited about camp. Plus, it makes your job easier when it comes time to organize your bunk assignments. For more info on this, check out our post: How New Software for Bunking Assignments is Making History
- Family Registration: Does your platform enable parents to easily register all their kids at the same time? Family registration is an absolute must; it will save parents time and make their lives easier.
- Personalized Payment Plans: What level of flexibility do parents have for scheduling payments? The best camp enrollment software enables parents to select payment dates, customize amounts for each date, and schedule their payments to match their needs.
Goal #5: Registration Data Fits Into Your Operations
Your registration platform does more than just make it easy to collect forms and payments. It’s a tool that can empower you and your team to work more efficiently year-round.
How? A platform designed to fit your needs puts data at your fingertips. It makes data easy to plug into all your day-to-day tasks, like optimizing staffing, making group assignments, developing menus, or scheduling transportation. Choose a platform that helps with these tasks:
- Session Staffing: Let’s say you’re a day camp that has more campers on Monday than it does on Friday. This is a valuable insight that can help you optimize your workforce, i.e. informing you to schedule more help on Mondays, and reduce your workforce on Fridays. This type of data should be easy to visualize. Plus, the right platform can also help you quickly calculate a counselor-to-camper ratio, to ensure you’re meeting accreditation requirements.
- Scheduling: Scheduling transportation to and from camp can be a logistical headache. The right platform, though, can automate some of these logistics, creating routes that are optimized and that are based on all your camper’s drop-off locations.
- Group/Bunk Assignments: During registration, you likely collect group and bunk preferences. A platform that helps you make sense of this data and organize it can help ensure you’re creating assignments that keep your campers happy.
How Updating Your Registration Ensures You Reach Your Goals
You don’t have to run the registration egg-and-spoon without the right tool. When you’re using software that’s not aligned with your goals, it’s just too easy to drop the egg.
But the right spoon can help you in some real ways. It can empower you and your staff to:
- Reduce frustration and confusion during camp registration
- Ensure you’re receiving payments on-time
- Eliminate the chaos of collecting camper forms and signatures
- Provide a personalized experience for every camp family
- Organize all the data that you collect
So when it comes to registration, don’t get caught with the wrong spoon. The right platform for your camp will help you run as fast as you want.