Skip to content
  • Blogs

Optimizing Online Registrations for Sports Leagues and Sports Camps at Your Recreational Facility

Featured image for Optimizing Online Registrations for Sports Leagues and Sports Camps at Your Recreational Facility post

Operating a sports league can take on a life of its own. Offering online registration improves the registration process and takes the stress off the administration and staff.

Thanks to digital technology, it’s easier to conduct online registrations. Plus, it provides convenience to participants and their parents. Registration is available 24 hours, and you can provide PDF documents that are easily downloaded from your website.

Even more essential is the ability to open registration for multiple leagues simultaneously.

If this is your first time offering sports league registration online, you probably have many questions. Keep reading for tips on optimizing online registrations for sports leagues and camps at your recreational facility.

Why Choose Online Registrations?

Imagine opening a youth football league for multiple age and size levels. You can easily approach 500 participants, including players, coaches, and support members. Manual registration takes time.

If everyone had to complete a paper package, the process could quickly become chaotic. Your staff would be overwhelmed with increased traffic. Someone would need to enter the information into a spreadsheet, likely leading to human errors.

It’s been proven that online registration improves enrollment numbers. If you reach capacity for a group or the league, you can close registration with the option of a waiting list. Or, if someone misses the deadline, you can decide whether to reopen the system.

Depending on accessibility to your recreation facility, there is the option to set up computers for people to come in and use. Not only does this help your staff, but you’re also showing the community you want to give everyone a chance to participate.

Having a web-based business management tool doesn’t eliminate the need for paper forms. However, you don’t want to publicize it as an option. Paper forms should only be available on an as-needed basis.

The ultimate goal is to have everyone register online.

Choose an Online Registration Platform

Advances in digital technology have improved the way every industry service their clients. Sports leagues have software designed to provide accessibility via desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices.

Platforms also accept documents, and participants can pay fees online.

Before choosing a platform, meet with your process improvement team to brainstorm. Next, create a wish list of what the platform should offer. Make a list of all opportunities to use the software.

Things to consider include:

You’ll also want to know how many staff members can have administrative access. Will your team require different levels of access? Another option is read-only options for coaches and program leaders.

The registration platforms you review should all have data protection and online privacy protocols in place. Your customers must trust the platform you choose.

Gain Support of the Staff

Change is inevitable, but it also comes with resistance. Technology has made life easier in many ways, yet people are still apprehensive about trying it. Before introducing online registration to the public, ensure your staff has bought into the new method.

If not, they will purposefully offer paper enrollment to participants.

The apprehension often comes with a fear of being replaced by apps and software. Assure team members that the registration platform makes life easier for them, not eliminate their role.

There is still plenty of work to do when putting on a sports league. Now they have the tools to work efficiently and have information in a centralized location.

Optimize Your Website

Is your website ready to offer online registration? By offering online registration for sports leagues, the traffic on your website will increase. Now is the time to conduct a website checkup.

For a successful rollout, your site must handle the additional traffic. Call in a professional web developer to do a system check. They will also need to ensure the website is compatible with the online registration platform.

If not, you will require a system configuration or an upgrade package from your website provider.

Document Acceptance

Make sure you have the capability to load PDF documents that are easy to download. Forms include:

Participants are encouraged to upload their completed forms. You’ll need the capability to accept the documents. A designated email is also needed to accept them.

Homepage Announcement

You’ll want to design your website’s homepage to spotlight the availability of online registration with a call-to-action. Create a link in the menu dedicated to your upcoming sports leagues. Next, to eliminate confusion, create separate pages for each league.

Incorporate high-resolution images and video when possible. The goal is to capture the site visitors’ attention as soon as they enter the website.

Call-to-Action

The CTA on the website’s homepage should link to the appropriate registration page. Use something like REGISTER NOW FOR FALL FOOTBALL.

If your website already has pages for individual sports leagues, make sure you update the page banners with announcements about league registration. Include a “Register Now” link.

Partner with an eCommerce Provider

If you’re not already accepting online payments, you’ll need to optimize your website to accept payments. Make check-out easy. Offer multiple forms of payment, including credit cards and PayPal.

Keep in mind accepting online payments come with a cost. Consider this when setting the prices for your league registration. It’s better to include the cost in the price than to make it a service fee.

Service fees will cause some people to opt out of online registration. Depending on your audience, allowing online registration with in-person payment options might be necessary.

Use A.I. Technology

Preparing your website to receive online registration may seem like a lot. Consider what has changed since you last updated the site to justify the expense further.

Many new tools are available to ensure your site is both user-friendly and mobile-responsive. Keep in mind people are using their smartphones and tablets to conduct business.

Include chatbots so users can reach your staff when online registering. Also, incorporate A.I. technologies to send messages to users if they don’t complete their registration. Or a chatbot to answer common questions.

Improve Communications

Advertising upcoming sports events are something you’re already doing. You want to communicate announcements using various mediums. These include flyers at the center, posters, social media, emails, and robocalls.

When you prepare your marketing, it’s crucial to list online registration first. You’ll want to spotlight the option as something new and exciting. Type it in a larger font and bold typeface. Highlight the wording using neon colors.

You want interested parties to know you prefer online registration. Create at least three bullet points explaining why.

For example:

If your center uses robocalls or has a voicemail feature, include information about the online registration. Avoid mentioning the option to register in person.

Include the number of spots available and outline if you’ll have a waitlist and the requirements to get added. Allowing people to register and accept a spot on the waitlist is beneficial.

Grow Your Contact List

Now’s the time to introduce email marketing if you’re not already using it. What better way to keep your audience engaged than sending them informative content about your center and its programs?

Email marketing requires consent, so you’ll want to start gathering emails using verbiage that informs the user how it will get used. Here are ways to gather emails.

Website

Use pop-up windows on your website to encourage users to subscribe. Include a link to your privacy policy that lets the person know how their information is used.

Emails

Include a “subscribe” button on existing emails used by your staff. There is a difference between business emails and marketing emails.

Registration Forms

Include opt-in boxes and verbiage on existing forms that ask for emails. You can also include a list of email types the user can elect to receive.

Once you have a good email list, it’s time to announce your new online registration platform. The email can include an introduction to the registration portal.

Ensure you include a list of sports leagues the recipient can opt-in to receive emails about. You’ll cut down on unsubscribed and spam reports by sending interest-specific emails.

Reminder Emails

Email lists are a great way to remind customers of deadlines, meetings, and upcoming events like free onsite physicals. When offering in-person payments, you can send receipts and payment deadlines.

Social Media

As you can see, there is so much more to opening online registration. Social media is an essential tool to partner with your sports league registration. Although it’s a vital part of the process, it only benefits the program if people know it exists.

Hopefully, your center is already utilizing social media platforms to promote your services. Now that you’ve moved to online registration, you can increase engagement by promoting on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. If you have youth leagues, Tik Tok is another popular platform.

Market your sports leagues on social media using images and videos. Include registration information and a link to the online registration pages on each post.

Most social media platforms also offer paid advertising. You can promote your upcoming sports leagues to a broader audience using geo-targeting. Remember, you’ll need parental consent to use images of minors.

The other option is to use stock images.

Encourage Online Registration with Incentives

If your customers are accustomed to registering and paying in person, you may need to offer some incentives. There are several ways to encourage online registration. Try these methods.

Early Online Registration

Create a cost structure that offers financial incentives for early registration. Set an early bird structure that gives set pricing for registration dates. Set a tier whereas each date passes, the cost of registration increases.

The increments don’t have to be significant. Make them enough to encourage early registration.

Discounts

Discounts to customers wanting to register in person may lead them to try online registration. The discount can come in the form of a percentage or set amount. If your registration comes with a fee, consider waiving it.

For programs administered by third parties, you might not have the authority to offer a discount. In these instances, if the applicant utilizes other services at the sports facility, offer a coupon that can get used towards those fees.

Waive Late Fees

It’s common for sports leagues to have registration deadlines. Perhaps your facility tacks on a late registration fee to encourage participants to enroll on time. Offer to waive the late fee for participants enrolling after the cut-off date.

Offer Free Gear

What better way to promote your facility than people in the community wearing branded gear? Create t-shirts with your name or logo on the front. On the back, list your upcoming quarterly or yearly schedule. Also, promote your website for easy registration.

Host a Registration Demonstration

Why not make it an event? People love a reason to celebrate. Schedule a series of demonstrations to promote the online registration rollout.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Set a couple of dates for evening sessions and a more significant event for a weekend day. Layout a veggie tray, a sandwich platter, and some cupcakes.

Have a trained staff member share how excited the team is to offer online enrollment. Do a demonstration on a large screen so everyone can see. Conclude with a Q & A.

If your site has a computer lab, allow people to enroll during the event. You can also have team members available to assist individuals with mobile devices.

Are You Ready for Online Registration?

We hope these tips will ease your concerns regarding online registrations. Getting people engaged is the tricky part. It’s why you need to optimize ways to get them to the registration platform.

Once they understand how easy it is, they won’t want to register any other way.

We encourage you to book a demo today to see how easy starting the online registration process is. Your sports leagues will significantly benefit from the technology.

View all posts
Blogs

How To Enhance Sustainable Practices at Your Recreation Facility 

Read article
DaySmart
Blogs

Integrated Payments: 5 Things Every Business Owner Should Know 

Read article
DaySmart
Blogs

3 Reasons Why Clients Aren’t Booking with Your Business and How To Fix It 

Read article