Lisa Laws, Founder and Event Coordinator for Reggae Runnerz and Owner of The Black Onyx Group, has been using Regpack since 2015.
The Black Onyx Group is a group travel concierge event planning company. She does everything from corporate meetings to group leisure trips. Reggae Runnerz is an annual race event held in Jamaica for running groups across the US. In addition to the fantastic trip to Jamaica, and the Reggae Marathon, the event has raised thousands for a local Jamaican school.
As Lisa’s Black Onyx Group client list expanded and groups got larger, the need for one platform to handle every aspect of her event and travel planning business became essential. After using a few other platforms, and researching other options, nothing came close to what Regpack was able to provide for her business.
Lisa’s users agree: using Regpack is intuitive and easy. Regpack gives Lisa tools she needs to get large groups registered for complex events quickly and easily.
Read more of my interview with Lisa below about how she is using Regpack to manage her main race event, Reggae Runnerz, as well as a whole host of other events she expertly plans. A big thanks to Lisa for taking the time to chat with Regpack!
Tell me a bit about what you do.
The Black Onyx Group is a group travel concierge. We do group and leisure travel. My groups are anywhere between 20 and 600 people. I do weddings, family reunions, girlfriend getaways, and business group events. They are all destination events.
My biggest one is Reggae Runnerz which is a group of almost 600 people that go to Jamaica every year.
What led you to search for a registration software? What features were important to you in an event planning software?
If you have a small group, it’s easy to work with different platforms to manage the event. However with larger groups, and the fact that my programs are so detailed, I needed a platform that was customized for my events.
All of my events are different. They all have payment plans, which makes it easier for my clients. It’s nice to be able to just go into Regpack and create a profile. A user can create their login and password and register for an entire event and then make their deposit, and make a payment.
The reason why I contacted Regpack was because I needed to be able to incorporate roadblocks into the application process and then room shares, splitting the cost of the room with my clients who have roommates. That was very important. A lot of the platforms out there didn’t do that and also didn’t have payment plans.
Regpack allows me to create and customize everything to fit my programs needs as opposed to having to use another program and their basic template. This requires me to have to change my program to fit into their template. With Regpack, I can edit it however I want to edit it.
Why did you pick Regpack over other event management platforms?
I needed something that was very intuitive so that my users could use it easily as well. This year my users are so happy with Regpack.
I needed a platform that was intuitive not just for my clients, but for me as well. I can manipulate Regpack to fit my needs. I don’t know any other platform that allows me to do that. No other platform gives me the flexibility that Regpack gives me.
How are you using reports in Regpack’s system?
I use reports for EVERYTHING.
I’ve got all of my service providers, from the airline when I book group flights for example. The airline requires passport information, gender, date of birth, etc. In Regpack, it’s very easy to create that report and download it. Then I just send it off to them.
I can basically go into the system and run whatever report I need. And it’s nice to be able to create the report’s fields and save them so I can run it again in the future. This allows me to build my reports as I’m going and it’s easier to do it this way, rather than having the report templates already there in the system that are standard and can’t be customized.
Regpack reports aren’t standard reports. They are custom reports that I’m creating to make sure that I’m downloading just that specific information that I need. And then it’s very easy to just send that information off to whoever I need, including my service providers.
It’s just so easy. It’s important for me to download this information and get it to who needs it quickly so that I’m not sitting here manually doing it. And that’s the thing for me, not manually doing these admin tasks. It frees up my time to be more efficient and productive with the time I do have.
How are you using emails in the system?
I am an e-blast person! I love to send emails!
It’s nice to be able to filter through my users. So if I have people booked on a particular excursion, I can contact them directly. For example, just recently I had an excursion provider who is closing down for the rest of the year for renovations and opening again in January. I can filter those individuals who purchased that excursion through the end of the year and send them an email telling them the excursion was canceled and they can switch or get a refund. It just goes to those individuals, and I love that.
The other thing I do is send reminders to users who are late on their payments, or their credit card declined. I already have emails set up so I can just go into Regpack, click on that user and send them that message. And all of their information is already populated in the text of the email there.
It’s great because you create the templates and it just fills in the blanks with the tokens to make it personal for the recipient.
How has managing payments and setting up a variety of payment plans been? Have you noticed a difference or change in your cash flow and nonpayment rate?
My clients put down a deposit and then they have monthly payments. What’s nice is that it shows them their payment plan.
Let’s say that I have a couple that is doing registration 2 months after another user. I can create a payment plan based on the date of their application. I can customize each person’s payment plan if I need to do that if it’s a small group, or I can have payment plans for people who registered in October, November, etc.
I can also adjust the amount of deposits based on the number of people in the group.
My users can just look at their payment plans and know what their next bill is going to be. And automatic payment processing is also wonderful because then I don’t have to worry about people saying “Oh, I forgot to make a payment”. They are charged automatically by the system!
How do your users enjoy using Regpack and registering for your events and programs?
My programs are probably more detailed than most. I’ve got over 10 forms, including hotel information, flight information, ground transportation information, what you’re doing Friday, Saturday, etc and then your departure.
So when you register, you are selecting your ENTIRE trip.
I actually just had somebody say the other day that this year it was so easy to register. He said a 3rd grader could actually register and not have any questions. That makes me feel good.
When my clients say, “Wow this is so much easier than last year”, or “I like this much better than the platform you used a couple of years ago”, that’s what I need to hear.
I had Carina at Regpack, who was just amazing in teaching me how to set up my system and talking me through the process, sending me videos, etc. I think that that helped tremendously to make my program so user-friendly.
It’s a long registration process, but as long as it’s easy, and not frustrating for them, then there’s no pressure on my clients.
Would you recommend Regpack? Why?
I don’t think you can find another platform that is going to be customized for your events. You don’t want to go with a standard platform that you have to change your event and how your event works and how it runs in order to use that particular platform.
With Regpack, it can be customized or you can customize it, to fit your needs, and to fit your client’s needs. That way, it makes it easier for you. Regpack staff and I, every year, talk about what we can do better, what we can do to make it easier for my clients and for myself.
This year, for instance, the payment plans worked even better than they did last year. And next year I want to change some things that I think will improve my process and the way the system works even more. I can present these ideas to Regpack, Regpack shares how they think it will work best for my needs, and it’s like a collaboration. I don’t think you’re going to get that from some of the other platforms that are out there. Some of them are just so regimented: this is what we have, this is what we offer, this is what you use.
It’s a no-brainer for me. I would highly recommend Regpack. It’s amazing the amount of stuff you can do!