If you’ve only recently embarked on a quest to find the best registration software for your camp, you might be struggling with assessing the abundance of solutions available online.
And there’s no shame in that.
Unless you’re clear about what exactly to look for, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Have no fear, though, as we’re here to offer guidance to point you in the right direction.
In this article, you will get ten actionable tips to help you choose the right registration software for your camp, ensuring you find the optimal solution that will last you for years to come.
And the first thing to pay attention to in your search is convenience.
- Prioritize Ease of Use
- Search for Smart Registration Forms
- Check Whether Group Registrations Are Possible
- Look Into the Available Payment Options
- Consider Whether You Want to Apply Discounts
- Look For Built-in Email Communication
- Evaluate How Easy It Is to Track Attendance
- Understand the Need for Reporting
- Find a Mobile-Friendly Solution
- Know the Importance of Customer Support
Prioritize Ease of Use
Registration software that is difficult to use is like a summer camp that is stressful to attend—both betray the purpose they were created for.
Therefore, you should prioritize ease of use when narrowing down your choices for camp registration software.
That’s not just our opinion, either.
In a survey of businesses using online services by the software review site Capterra, a majority placed functionality and ease of use as top priorities in opting for a software solution:
There are a couple of ways to determine whether a piece of software is user-friendly.
To start, try the good old-fashioned tactic of reading reviews.
Don’t worry—you won’t have to go through them with a fine comb. Simply make a quick scan for mentions of positive comments on the software’s usability.
Here’s an example of what to look for:
Source: Software Advice
Of course, you can also sign-up and see how it works for yourself.
Many platforms offer some kind of free trial period. For the ones that don’t, try contacting their support and negotiating one for your camp.
All in all, you need registration software to help the camp’s management and lighten the workload.
That’s possible only if staff members can use it without complications, so it’s best to eliminate hard-to-use solutions right from the start.
Search for Smart Registration Forms
Registration forms are an integral part of enrollment for any summer camp.
Filling them out is the first active step parents take toward having their child participate in your program and, as such, represents the first interaction between the two of you.
If the procedure in any way causes parents to feel bored, frustrated, or confused, you risk losing them halfway into it.
What’s worse, once that happens, research implies there’s a slim chance of getting them back again:
Source: The Manifest
Therefore, you must search for software with registration forms that leave positive first impressions, such as Regpack.
With Regpack’s online form builder, you can create personalized registration forms from scratch or edit one of the many available templates using an intuitive drag-and-drop system.
Once you are satisfied with the design, Regpack will produce a single line of HTML code that you can use to embed forms directly onto your website.
Bear in mind that, according to studies, integrated forms can raise conversions by a decent 27%.
Finally, Regpack’s smart online forms use conditional logic to create a personalized registration experience for each applicant.
In short, this is a system that takes into account the applicants’ answers when choosing which forms to present next.
Therefore, parents will only see questions that apply to them personally, saving them the time they would otherwise spend rifling through questions to get to the pertinent ones.
Ultimately, you want to provide parents with a hassle-free camp registration process, and getting software with smart online forms is crucial to achieving that goal.
Check Whether Group Registrations Are Possible
Running a summer camp means you will often get groups of children—school students, social club members, friends, or families—eager to sign up for the same program.
Fortunately, you can make their wishes come by choosing camp management software with group registrations, allowing groups to register under a single account.
To make it work, users have to designate one main head unit—e.g., a teacher or a parent—as the creator and owner of the shared account.
Like in the image above, the head unit can then add subunits to the account, saving time and effort over creating separate accounts for each individual member.
Obviously, the time saved is due mainly to having to fill out fewer forms per account. Meanwhile, the reduced effort part comes from simplified payment processing.
With group registrations, the head unit covers fees for their subunits as well. Consequently, other group members are spared from dealing with online payments altogether.
For camp management, collective payments equal fewer transactions and less paperwork.
In addition, processing one card instead of, let’s say, twenty means you have that much less chance of dealing with payment-related issues, like card rejections.
All in all, investing in software with group management capabilities is a sure hit, and even more so if it supports their preferred payment methods.
Look Into the Available Payment Options
What if some parents truly wanted their children to attend your camp—and were ready and willing to pay—but your system prevented them from doing so?
That would suck, right?
However, this is precisely the situation you will find yourself in if you invest in software with limited payment options.
Greg Cohen, the chief executive of an integrated commerce platform Fortis, shared a sentiment in the same vein as part of a recent Forbes article:
When it comes to payments, the key to success is for your business to be where customers are. Today, that means offering payment options across multiple channels.
Most, if not all, camp management software solutions will support credit and debit cards, so that’s a given. You should focus on the ones offering some alternative payment methods.
For example, paying by e-check has been on an upward trajectory recently, as has the use of digital wallets like Google Wallet or Apple Pay.
For reference, here’s a graph of the availability of various payment options from Paysafe’s 2021 study of online businesses:
Now, parents usually have a lot of children-related expenses. Some of them might lack the means to pay all fees in one go.
In that case, the registration platform you choose would also have to be able to process recurring payments, so take care you find one that does.
Ensuring that parents have as much flexibility as possible regarding payments will open up your camp to more potential customers and higher enrollment rates.
Consider Whether You Want to Apply Discounts
Let’s just state this for the record—there is nothing wrong with not offering discounts.
If your camp operates at full capacity already, reducing the price could even be considered a bad business decision.
On the other hand, if you feel there is still some room for improvement, discounts could help fill it with some lucky students—even if you are not planning on it right now.
After all, you could change your mind at any time. In case you do, it would be advantageous to have the option to create discounts and special offers already available.
Limited-time deals, sibling discounts, coupons, referral rewards, and loyalty programs are just some of the various types of offers to consider.
Girls With Confidence, an organization offering multiple children’s programs, even combined several discount tactics at once:
Source: Girls With Confidence
If you have a discount type (or types) you prefer, you should try to locate them on the software’s website.
Your best bet is to find one with solid customization options so you are free to create offers tailor-made to fit your camp’s unique requirements.
A convenient way to spread the word about your camp’s special offers is by using email, which is the topic we tackle in the following section.
Look For Built-in Email Communication
At first glance, integrated email communication may not appear as essential in selecting your camp management software.
After all, you already have an email account—isn’t this the same thing?
If we were talking about sending a few emails every once in a while, that would be true.
But camp management requires communication with a large number of parents and students on a regular basis. Hence, you need a system that helps you do it with minimal effort.
With that in mind, the difference in going for a fully-internal workflow lies in just a few key areas.
The first one is immediate access to a database of students and parents registered with your program.
For camp-related notifications, you can easily pick out the recipients by group, registration stage, payment completion, etc.
For example, this is how Regpack handles it:
Another advantage of having on-platform email management is the use of triggers for email automation.
To be fair, top services like Gmail also have the ability to schedule emails, even if limited.
The trigger system, however, allows you to automate messages for various actions happening within the software, which is hard to set up with an outside email provider.
For example, separate emails can be set to trigger when a user finishes registering, completes a payment, or misses out on one.
In conclusion, communication with parents and students is part and parcel of summer camp management.
To make it as smooth as possible, you should search for registration platforms providing robust email functionality.
Evaluate How Easy It Is to Track Attendance
Let’s face it—manual tracking is as dull and slow as it sounds.
Painstakingly transcribing information onto spreadsheets and performing tedious calculations is hardly anyone’s idea of a fun time.
In contrast, automatic tracking is fast, effortless, and—best of all—requires minimal involvement from staff.
After setting up the software, they will be free to focus on more substantial and certainly more exciting tasks.
Even though they are so far apart performance-wise, automatic and manual tracking are different variations of the same simple procedure.
Only, instead of keeping track of attendance with a pen and paper, digital tracking allows for check-in and check-out times to be entered via a computer or smartphone.
Of course, every entry is automatically stored, so you can access it whenever needed.
You can then filter out attendance data by group, student, time period, day of the week, etc., and create actionable reports.
Assuming that you settle on registration software that can also create payment and sales reports, you’ll have a comprehensive overview of the inner and outer workings of the camp.
Understand the Need for Reporting
If you’ve never used reports, you may overlook the value they can bring to your camp’s management efforts.
To put it simply, reports are diagnostic tools businesses use to identify issues in performance and inform their strategy moving forward.
According to research by Capterra, users put reports as their most used tool in managing projects:
You would be surprised at how much insight you can gather in seconds.
With the right software, you will constantly be just a few mouse clicks away from payment reports, sales reports, attendance reports and other analytics that can inform your business decisions.
Luckily, most camp management software has some kind of reporting function.
Seeing as reports are a potentially complex feature, you need to—as co-founder and managing director at Trengery, Peter Purcell says—“consider the ease of use.”
He further elaborates:
An enterprise reporting tool should be intuitive and easy to use. Business users should be able to write their own reports. Drag-and-drop functionality allows users to make reports easily. Overall, easy-to-use tools are more effective due to quick adoption and understanding.
If you want to know which software comes equipped with tools fitting this criterion, reading reviews can provide you with the information you need.
Overall, if you want to know more about your camp’s condition, you best ensure reports and analytics are included in the software package.
Find a Mobile-Friendly Solution
As you can probably surmise from what you’ve read so far, some of the best registration software are ones that provide excellent user experience for parents.
Compatibility with mobile devices fits firmly into that category.
As you can see below, Google reported that three-quarters of website visitors prefer mobile-friendly sites.
What’s more, half of all smartphone users reportedly often leave in frustration if they encounter sites that don’t support mobile devices.
That is a noteworthy percentage, representing a large number of people you wouldn’t want to repel from your camp’s website.
And the best part about the feature—it requires no work to implement!
You can build and embed mobile-friendly registration forms in the same way as described earlier in the article.
Only these ones are programmed to automatically adapt to various screen sizes and resolutions.
Having a mobile presence will open up your camp to a larger audience, especially young parents.
They grew up using their phones more than computers and should find the ability to register and pay for camp via smartphone convenient.
For a final note, camp managers and staff could also access the camp registration software on the go, providing more flexible working arrangements.
Know the Importance of Customer Support
Speaking of your camp’s staff, don’t let it slip your mind that they are customers too. Sure, the camp will pay for the software you ultimately pick.
But it is you and the staff that will have to figure out how to work with it. And you can guess what that means—a lot of back and forth with customer support.
For this reason, you need to discern how businesses treat their customers before investing in their camp registration product.
Reviews are always a good place to start. To verify their veracity, you can start your own conversation with customer support and see how it goes.
Also, consider the channels of communication. Customer support over the phone is the best option, as you get immediate and direct assistance from an actual person.
Most people share this opinion, at least according to a report by SalesForce:
Following this list, you want your registration platform to have decent phone or email support, at the least.
After all, you want to find a long-lasting solution to managing registrations for your camp, and good service is bound to lead to a more positive experience.
Now that you have received our best advice, do you finally feel ready to tackle the search? Most of you will probably answer “no”, which is common after a single read.
And while there is still much more for you to do, we hope that this article has fulfilled its purpose of sketching out a workable framework to help navigate an interested buyer’s journey toward the perfect camp registration software.
Now that the groundwork has been laid down, it’s up to you to use it and expand upon the knowledge you’ve gained so you can make it to the end of the road.