Before reading this article, take a minute to read about Item-Connected Slots in our Agenda Help Article. That is our terminology for a registration item connected to the agenda. Said another way, an Item-Connected Slot is a "slot" on the agenda that is connected to an underlying registration item. Here is a recap.....
THE GOAL OF THIS ARTICLE: help you comprehend why registration items should be linked to your agenda and what features you can leverage once you do [connect your items to your agenda].
Many event hosts will consider their agenda as central to the registration experience and with good reason. The agenda drives the entire experience of an event and so it would make sense to jump right to the AGENDA tab in the Event Builder and start constructing the agenda from there.
In some cases, if you only need an agenda for display purposes, it is fine to begin your event build process by constructing your agenda.
However, our system is item-centric. And if you need attendees to actually register for the activities on your agenda, you'll need to first create those activity options as registration items. From there, you can import those items into the agenda. With this setup technique, you will have access to extra features in the system.
As a general rule of thumb: when you need attendees to register for activities on your agenda, build the activities using the REGISTRATION ITEMS tool. Then, link the items to the agenda by giving them a date/time.
From the perspective of both 1) event operations and 2) the attendee experience, here are the core benefits to creating registration items then importing to the agenda (as opposed to creating a manual agenda first that is separate from registration):
1) CHECK-IN: if you need to check registrants into sessions / activities on your agenda, you will need to create Item-Connected Slots
2) CEU HOURS: if registrants earn credit hours for attending sessions on your agenda and you need to track that data, you will need registration items connected to your session slots on the agenda
3) DATA: if you need to track session attendance data, you will need registration items underlying your agenda slots
EVENTSQUID IS ITEM-CENTRIC
You may have heard the phrase "item-centric" at some point when dealing with our team. Our founder, Michael, says it all the time and with good reason.
Any option that is offered on the registration form needs to be built as a registration item. Common examples of options that are built as registration items by event hosts include:
- Breakout sessions
- Meal options
- Registration fees / levels of event access
- Guest passes
With this in mind, consider the three factors above. If anything happening on your agenda requires any of the three key functions above, then you'll need to build that option as a registration item first, then import to the agenda:
- If option requires check-in time stamps, create the item first >> import to the agenda
- If option needs credit hour tracking, create item first >> import to agenda
- If you need to track who attends that option, create item first >> import to agenda
CREATING ITEM-CONNECTED SLOTS
Let's walk through an example. Say our event is offering attendees 1 of 3 main activity choices on the main agenda:
- Panel Session
- Roundtable Discussion
- Live Debate
However, based on the following requirements, you understand that these options are unique and need to be created as item-connected slots:
- You need to capture attendance data for your post-event reports/analysis
- Check-in to each session is required to earn credit hours
To set these options up, first access the Registration Items tool [within the REGISTRATION tab of the Event Builder] and create a new item. We recommend using the Enhanced Registration item type - this limits the selectable quantity for any single registrant to 1 (i.e. a checkbox for selection, rather than allowing the registrant to pick more than 1 of that option with a dropdown selector). Now, we can place the item on the agenda by giving it a date/time/location.
Click the LOCATION & TIME tab on the left side of the item's editing panel:
In this window, you can assign the appropriate details, which allow you to place the item on the agenda:
Once the details are complete, click the orange ADD TO AGENDA button, which will generate a corresponding slot on the agenda for that item.
***IMPORTANT FEATURE*** Note the series of 4 radio buttons "make item inactive..." in the above screenshot. These options give you the ability to setup your registration item so that it automatically deactivates according to the start/end times of that item. The benefit of this is so that registrants don't sign up for sessions that have already started or passed. However, an inactive item will have no effect on the registrants that already signed up for that item, prior to its deactivation.
NOTE: In order to add Item-Connected Slots to your agenda, you need to have an agenda first! If your agenda is not created yet, access the AGENDA section of the Event Builder, then click the Agenda Setup tool on the left. If you don't have an agenda yet, you'll see a CREATE ONE NOW link to click.
QUICK TIP: You can also add Item-Connected Slots to your agenda inside of the Agenda Setup tool itself. On each day, you will see a yellow ITEM-CONNECTED SLOT button. Click this button and you'll reveal the same exact Location & Time editor that we accessed in the Registration Items tool above:
Once your registration item is represented by a slot on the agenda, you'll have an indicator inside the slot. Click the slot to open its settings - on the left of the slot's settings panel, you'll notice a "linked to item" indicator, telling you which registration item the slot was generated from [and is connected to]: