Hand-written registration forms are obsolete in a post-COVID world. Instead, camp directors are opting for an electronic camp registration system.
Although these systems take time to learn, they quickly prove their worth. They’re efficient, inexpensive, and convenient.
In this article, we’ll discuss five reasons you should add online forms to your camp registration forms process this summer.
- Reduced Costs of Paper and Printing
- Streamlined Camp Registration Process
- Increased Payment Flexibility for Parents
- Easier Way of Collecting Parents’ Signatures
- Expanded Selling Opportunities for the Camp
- Online Registration Benefits Both Directors and Parents
Reduced Costs of Paper and Printing
First, using online registration forms reduces printing costs.
With online registration, you no longer have to print separate registration forms for every camp you run. You also don’t have to print new forms for different weeks or years of the same camp.
Instead, you can adjust one online form each time you hold the camp.
Online registration also saves you the cost of printing other forms.
Why does that matter?
Printing is expensive. You have to pay for a printer, ink, toner, and paper, along with regular upkeep and maintenance when something inevitably breaks.
As Alyson Keenze puts it in the SchoolMint blog:
Implementing a paperless enrollment system has an upfront cost, but it starts to pay off immediately. Once everyone is trained on the new system and all the appropriate online systems are in place, you can sit back and enjoy the cost savings on labor, printing, paper, ink, storage, and lost files.
When parents or campers register, they send you health records, liability waivers, and other documents.
If they register online, they can send these forms electronically—which means you don’t have to print the forms for registrants to fill out and sign when they get to camp.
Streamlined Camp Registration Process
Online registration forms also make the camp registration process faster and easier.
First, online forms simplify the registration process for you and your staff.
You can include important intake questions with the registration form, saving you time chasing down parents later to get the information you need.
Online forms also send information directly to your registrant database. You don’t have to create a physical file for every camper; instead, all the information you need is just a click away.
Online forms also make registration easier for parents.
If the registration process is too long, they get frustrated, making them less likely to sign up for your camp.
You may have the most exciting camp around, but people won’t attend if registration is a nightmare.
Camp registration software makes the process quick and easy.
According to Travis Allison, a camp professional with Go Camp Pro:
Campers’ happiness isn’t just derived from the quality of your camp. On the contrary, it is impacted by every step of the camp experience, including the first impression they receive when registering for an upcoming program.
As Allison points out, it’s important to make sure your campers have a positive experience both before and during your camp.
A pleasant registration experience also makes people more likely to mention your camp to their friends.
That’s important because word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most effective types of marketing.
People trust their friends, so make sure your camp maintains a positive reputation by making registration a breeze.
One of the ways to do that is to include conditional logic in your online registration forms.
With conditional logic, forms show different options to different people. They respond to each registrant’s input by showing them only the questions that are applicable to them.
That makes forms shorter and prevents user frustration.
For example, Regpack’s customizable online registration forms use conditional logic to give every parent a personalized experience.
In the diagram above, parents see a different set of questions when they answer yes or no to an initial question.
Increased Payment Flexibility for Parents
Another way online camp registration makes life easier for parents is by giving them payment flexibility.
That means parents can use:
- Deferred payments
- Payment plans
- Credit card
- Debit card
- Apple Pay
Parents can also set up automatic billing with software like Regpack.
With automatic billing, parents don’t have to try to remember when payments are due.
As the example above shows, all they have to do is delete a payment if they decide not to go through with their purchase.
With online camp registration forms, parents can pay in whatever way works best for them. That’s not just convenient—it makes camp possible for those who couldn’t otherwise afford it.
Relatedly, online registration makes it easy for you to offer discounts and scholarships, such as:
- Military discounts
- Returning camper discounts
- Referral discounts
- Multi-child registration discounts
- Financial need-based scholarships
The American Camp Association explains why online registrants are more likely to accept discounts and scholarships compared to in-person registrants:
You have the option of generating discount codes using online forms. Pride is a major reason parents don’t take advantage of opportunities like camp scholarships, so allowing codes upfront removes a barrier for parents.
In other words, it’s easier for people to accept a discount when it’s offered to them. It’s harder to approach someone and ask for financial help.
Online camp registration software also saves you and your staff time spent chasing down payments.
The tool tracks the amount each registrant owes and can even send them automated payment reminder emails.
In an ideal world, every camper would pay the same amount at the same time—but it rarely works out that way. Online registration makes individual payment plans less of a headache.
Easier Way of Collecting Parents’ Signatures
Another benefit of online camp registration forms is that they facilitate the use of E-signatures.
Electronic signatures are as legally binding as hand-written ones. They’re also common in our post-COVID world, and people appreciate the option to use them.
E-signatures can be as simple as typing your name into a box, like in this example:
Like John Smith, simply click I agree, and voilá—a legally-binding signature.
In addition to making your campers’ parents happy, e-signatures make life easier for you. You don’t have to flip through physical files to ensure you have all the signatures you need.
Instead, online registration software automatically stores signed papers in each parent’s file.
You also don’t have to worry about rain or dirt smudging signatures on important forms.
Many camps are held outdoors, meaning parents traditionally signed forms on an outdoor surface.
Camp staff had to worry about the elements damaging those forms before being able to get them inside. With online registration forms, you don’t have to worry about such scenarios.
Online registration also eliminates the back-and-forth between you and the parents by guiding them through the process, in addition to reducing mailing costs.
Sign Plus adds:
The modern-day customer likes everything convenient, and there is nothing more convenient than being able to sign a document from anywhere and at any time.
Convenience and security are just two of the advantages of collecting parents’ signatures online.
Expanded Selling Opportunities for the Camp
Last, online camp registration facilitates upselling and cross-selling.
Upselling refers to customers buying an upgrade to their original product. Cross-selling refers to customers buying an extra product in addition to their original product.
This diagram illustrates the difference between the two, using food as an example:
As you can see, cross-selling involves providing other products and services in addition to the ones the consumer was initially interested in, whereas upselling refers to extending and expanding that initial offer.
So, for instance, while parents are paying for one camp, you could cross-sell participation in a different camp you direct.
After all, they trust you enough to sign up for one of your camps. That makes them more likely to sign up for another.
On the other hand, upselling could involve offering extra time at the camp they’ve signed up for, or access to additional workshops for campers.
Online upselling and cross-selling don’t just earn you extra money. They also help you save money by making it less likely you’ll order too much gear.
If parents and campers put in orders ahead of time, you’ll better understand how many purchases to expect. That’ll help you cover your costs.
And parents are more likely to buy your products when they can do it online.
The alternative is sending their kids to camp with money and hoping they won’t spend it on Snickers bars. Unlikely!
With online registration, parents can buy exactly what they want their kids to have. Then they can rest assured that their kids aren’t spending money unnecessarily.
The secret to both upselling and cross-selling is to make it simple for parents to buy the extra product. If an enhanced experience is just one click away, why wouldn’t they take it?
Online registration makes that possible.
The right registration software automatically shows parents possible upgrades during the checkout process. All they have to do is click on what they want.
Online Registration Benefits Both Directors and Parents
As your camp grows, the flexibility you get from online registration becomes more and more important.
Being able to quickly and inexpensively communicate with parents helps you focus on what really matters: your campers.
Online camp registration forms save you time and money. You don’t have to print or mail forms, keep up with physical files, or worry about damaged signatures.
Meanwhile, your registrants don’t have to deal with a complex, lengthy registration process.
In other words: online camp registration forms are a win for everyone.