Tech Tuesday: Registration Platforms v. Ticketing Platforms — What's the Difference?

Kaitlyn Tatulli |

MacBook-Website-Builder-2019-stevie-1Selling tickets or registrations for your meeting or event is hands down one of the most crucial steps in the event planning process. Why? Because high attendance helps secure successful event ROI.

Knowing that the ticketing selling process during attendee registration is one of the most important points in an event’s lifecycle, the industry has developed many technologies to help planners streamline this process. The technologies fall into two buckets: registration platforms and ticketing platforms. They seem similar, but what is the difference? Which platform should planners use for a particular event? A comprehensive, robust registration platform? A quick and easy ticketing engine?

In this guide, we will highlight the similarities and differences between registration and ticketing platforms to help you decide which platform is right for your meeting or event. 

What is a Registration Platform?

A registration platform is typically a part of an event management platform that helps planners centralize and simplify their event planning. A registration platform is ideal for planners looking to completely customize their registration experience with their branding for their attendees, securely accept payments, features and integrations, and track attendee and event data.

Pros of Registration Platforms:

  • Dedicated event website
  • Branding and customization features
  • Dozens of payment methods
  • Sell paid tickets online for free
  • Customize the confirmation emails
  • Third-party integrations
  • Collect and track audience data

Cons of Registration Platforms:

  • Can cost more than ticketing platforms
  • Can take more time to learn to use because of all the features offered

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What is a Ticketing Platform?

Ticketing platforms are more simple platforms that allow planners to sell event tickets to attendees. These online ticketing platforms do not create individual event registration websites, but instead, host all events on one website.

Pros of Ticketing Platforms:

  • Easy to use
  • Budget-friendly for free events (most ticketing platforms are free for free events)
  • Help you reach a wide audience since your event is housed on their website

Cons of Ticketing Platforms:

  • Don’t get a dedicate event website
  • Little to no customization features
  • Only a few payment methods
  • Often take a percentage of sales from events that aren't free 
  • Few to no third-party integrations
  • Data analytics
  • Little to no customer service
  • Issues with capturing attendee data

Key Differences Between Registration & Ticketing Platforms

After asking yourself “What is the size of my event?” and “Does price matter?”, we’ve compiled a list of questions to help you decide which platform best matches the type, size, and lifecycle of your events.

Business Model  Ticket  Registration
Are my attendees financing the event?  
Are my sponsors financing the event?  
Am I financing the event and expecting ROI through attendee engagement?  


Event Cycle  Ticket  Registration 
Am I managing a niche event and do I know all the contacts?  
Am I dealing with a recurring and/or morphing event year after year?  
Do I expect my audience to network during the event?  


Ticket  Registration 
Do I want customizable, on-brand registration pages to meet my event needs?  
Do I want the ability to create custom workflows by attendee type to personalize the registration experience for each attendee?  
Do I want my registration platform to integrate with my website?  
Do I want to offer targeted emails to build event buzz?  
Do I want to easily inform and engage my audience with up-to-date event information and my brand’s content?  


Logistics  Ticket  Registration 
Do logistics represent more than 25% of my budget?  
Does my event require coordination with more than 3 logistic vendors?  
Do I need RFPs to find a venue?  
Do I have an accurate estimation of my attendance?  
Do I need day-of customer service?  


Event Structure  Ticket  Registration 
Does my event have multiple categories interacting with each other?  
Is my event on multiple days with multiple locations?  
Does my event require managing multiple areas (budget, social media, marketing)?  
Do I need to handle registration and budgeting in multiple languages?  


Event Marketing  Ticket  Registration 
Do I need to market my event?  
Do I want out-of-the-box SEO optimized templates to help ensure my website can be found online and attract my intended audience?  
Do I want to promote my events and boost event attendance with strong email marketing campaigns?  
Do I want to inform and engage your attendees with powerful mobile event apps?
Do I want my platform to integrate with social media?


Data & Reporting  Ticket  Registration 
Do I want to measure and track event performance against key benchmarks and ROI goals?    
Do I want to be able to collect and track event performance in real-time?  
Do I want the ability to integrate with CRM and Marketing Automation Systems?  
Do I want to use Google Analytics integration to understand my attendee's journey from online to onsite?  
Am I only concerned about tracking my ticket sales?    

Whether you decided to go with a registration platform or a ticketing platform, make sure you do your research (review sites like G2 and Capterra can be helpful!) and make sure your platform’s goals align with your company’s goals.

Do you use a ticketing platform or a registration platform for your meetings and events? Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below!

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This Post was Written by Kaitlyn Tatulli

Kaitlyn Tatulli is a graduate from Fairfield University with majors in Digital Journalism and Psychology and minors in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Computer Science. Currently, she is receiving her MFA from Fairfield University. Kaitlyn...

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