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ONLINE SECTION MANUAL

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GENERAL INFORMATION

The Geological Society of America® is committed to advancing the geosciences, enhancing the growth of its members, and promoting the geosciences in the service of humankind.

Our desire is to provide you with the highest level of service regarding your upcoming section meeting. The following information will assist you in planning your upcoming meeting.

Registration Form

GSA Meetings Coordinator will create the on line registration form. Access to on line registration will be available through the GSA web site. You'll need to provide registration fees and a list of associated societies that will receive member rates. All events should include cost, dates, times, maximums, and minimums.

In considering registration fees, take a look at the whole picture of attendee types, accessible areas by type and fees for areas of access (will guests be allowed into technical sessions?). Fees should be structured fairly for all. Non-members shouldn't pay an extremely high rate. If a one-day rate is offered for students, it should be offered for professionals. Does the one-day rate look balanced for all fee types? You will also need to determine an appropriate difference in preregistration fees and on site fees.

Receipts

All registrants will receive a receipt indicating that they have registered. For online registrants this will be a confirmation letter emailed shortly after their registration is received. A receipt for registration fees and events is also printed on the registrant's badge.

On-site registrants will receive a receipt on the back of their name badge.

Registration Policies

Policies should be clear and contain deadlines as possible. Everyone on your committee should be versed in these policies as well as your on-site registration staff. Utilize GSA Meetings Coordinator if question arise regarding standard policy for the items listed below.

Some policies to consider early on are as follows:

• Refunds—what qualifies for one in all fee areas? • Firm cancellation deadlines.
• Badge/Registration types and access to events? • Exhibitor perks—what are they if any?
• Family or friend wants to sit in on a talk? • Registrant lost all their tickets?
• What qualifies as a student registrant discount? • Free registrations—who?
• Exhibitor passes and access to the meeting and hall? • How will exhibitors be told to register for the meeting?
• Lost badges—how to handle and anticipate. • Luggage storage on-site & liability?
• Are one-day registrations available? • Do field trip leaders have to register for the meeting?
• Luncheon and tour ticket sales cutoffs happen when? • Do field trip registrants not attending the meeting have register for the meeting?
• How are the press handled? Will there be a press room?  

 

Tickets

For some events, such as luncheons and guest tours, tickets will be attached to the registrant's badge for pickup on-site. You will need to provide the Meetings Coordinator the information to be printed on the ticket. Departure information and return times, bus pickup points, and what may or may not be included in ticket costs so that the registrant is once again reminded.

Provide someone at the departure point or room to take the tickets. See that this person has brief information on the event (are more tickets available for sale? lost tickets, etc.). You may want a roster on hand for a reference of those previously registered. Retain the tickets taken to verify the guarantee afterwards against the catering bill.

On-Site Registration

What you do in the registration area on-site is critical. This is the focal point for the entire meeting. Orient your student volunteers and staff on meeting schedules, room assignments, services available and policies. You can't provide them with too much information on your meeting. The more information provided will help them feel more comfortable, and the registrants will get their questions answered. When considering what information to have available you should realize that the registrant doesn't always see the registration area only once when they pick up their packets—they will return again and again for guidance, reference, or help! GSA Meetings Coordinator will set up the on-site registration desk approximately four hours previous to the opening of the meeting.

Attachment #4 is a diagram of the on-site registration floor plan. Use this floor plan when you meet with the facility coordinator that will handle your meeting set up. If changes have to be made to the floor plan be sure to discuss them with GSA Meetings Coordinator prior to the start of the meeting.

The on-site registration area should be attractive, clean, and organized. Your GSA Meetings Coordinator will provide signs announcing the meeting and directing registrants to the registration desk. Check with your registration coordinator concerning any banners or signs you may want to provide.

Orientations

Schedule your orientations, allowing ample time for questions and answers and review of policies. If possible, schedule registration to open a few hours after your staff arrives. They can go through their orientation with you and help possible registrants wandering around in the area to get some procedures down before registration opens and lines actually begin. Their performance will have improved by the time lines begin to form and you will find the lines will go quickly. Don't expect that you will have covered everything in your orientation. The registrants will have plenty questions to keep you on your toes.

All volunteers and staff should be provided with a tour of the facility before registration opens. This gives them an idea on where to direct registrants searching for the speaker ready room, press room, or technical sessions. It also is a way to help them correlate the program copy with the actual services your meeting provides.

Don't forget to give your staff a brief rundown on GSA as a whole. This helps them understand what the meeting is all about. They will also appear to be more informed. Always keep in mind, the registrant will think that everyone working behind the counters is from GSA headquarters or a member of your local committee.

Information and Messages

A message board or system should be provided and publicized for the registrants' use. You may want this system tied in with the general information area. This will keep your volunteer staff person there busy. Your volunteer at this location should be versed in local information, facility information, and general meeting schedules and registrant services offered. Locate this desk near the registration counters so that the registration staff can offer assistance during breaks.