SPRING is an annual Christian festival held the week following Easter in Willingen. It attracts thousands of visitors from around Germany and beyond, and includes hundreds of events throughout the week. The festival has grown since its inception in 1998, and several years ago, SPRING found itself in need of a new registration tool. The event organizers got in touch with b13 to see what could be done.
A growing logistics challenge for event organizers
When you’re planning a yearly festival, you only get one chance to get it right. SPRING hosts over 4000 participants, from ages 0-100, all of whom have specific accommodation and group travel needs. Add 37 site locations, 40 information stands, volunteers, and hundreds of events around the clock, and you have a serious logistical challenge. The event organizers were deeply committed to caring for all participants’ needs, but the workload of coordination had become overwhelming.
Before b13 came along, the event organizer, Michael Hampf, used Excel (not to mention a desk scattered with printouts, maps, and post-its) to organize participants’ registrations, payments, and accommodations. On occasion, details slipped through the cracks. The growing event was becoming difficult to track, from both an organizational and financial planning perspective.
“We need to serve people across multiple dimensions, from lodging to event attendance. We need to know who is actually present, and how to contact people as quickly as possible. These needs became especially important in light of the Coronavirus,” says Hampf.
The right tool for the task at hand
SPRING had tried a few potential solutions for registration, but most had too much extra functionality, which bloated the system and went unused. Once b13 understood SPRING’s specific needs and challenges, they were able to build a registration tool with custom business logic, all in TYPO3.
b13 built SPRING a tool allowing participants to enter their registration in a form, including data on their party size, ages, accommodation requests, and price constraints. Once participants were booked, the tool ran their information through a custom workflow which allowed event organizers, Tourist Information Willingen, and large hotels to access their information through a front-end interface. From within the workflow, Tourist Information Willingen could book reservations with hotels and pensions, larger hotels could confirm stays directly, and the organizers could make final approvals.
Data in the registration tool can be exported to other systems, including SPRING’s bookkeeping software and system for participant badge creation. All changes and messages are logged, so no information is lost. The tool does exactly what SPRING needs — nothing extra.
No participants left behind
With SPRING’s new registration tool, no guests’ lodging or details get lost in the shuffle. Nearly all guests now register online, which makes them easy to contact should any issues arise. Since implementing the tool, event organizers spend less time fixing one-off issues and have more time to dedicate to the event itself. The volunteers who manned SPRING’s problem resolution stand even noticed a serious drop in visitors.
“We’re not in fire-fighting mode the whole time anymore,” says Hampf. “Now that we can trust the tool’s information without double-checking a spreadsheet five times, we can save our energy for any emergencies that crop up.”
Because of the more tightly integrated data and systems, invoices are paid much faster than before. Hampf has noticed that he’s able to close the books within a week of the event, and the hotels and lodging providers are pleased with the pricing and documentation processes. This arrangement is mutually beneficial—SPRING has a contractual obligation to fill beds, and they can now see in real-time which participants are in which hotel or accommodation without sorting through heaps of paperwork.
“Our cooperation with b13 delivered the results, even though our needs are very complex. They always listen carefully and make time for us,” says Hampf.
Technology that builds trust
With good tools, SPRING and the accommodations hosting visitors felt much more confident about payments and processes. Participants felt less stressed, so they could better enjoy all the events. The registration tool even allows SPRING to plan for multiple events (people can start registering for SPRING 2022 while 2021 is in session).
Building the right technology for your needs can build trust among your stakeholders. b13 has experience in understanding problems and building tailored solutions, and can help solve your complex or bespoke needs.