Booking a venue for an event is only the starting point for the organiser but with the new Delegate+ tool on offer at Robinson College, they can receive help with delegate bookings and payments. Dave Johnstone, IT Manager, explains how the on-line web-based tool can assist clients to manage delegates for their events.

Our new on-line booking and payment system builds on the invitation tool which we launched in conjunction with Grass Roots. Our Conference Office was finding that some conference organisers don’t have administrative support to deal with bookings, organising payments and collating the information they require. We’ve created the system to remove this administrative burden, leaving them free to focus on other aspects of the conference.

We needed a secure, easy-to-use web-based system that allows total flexibility in the range of conference options and pricing. Initially we looked at the commercial offerings on the market but couldn’t find anything that fitted our requirements so we decided to create our own! As a result we have been through a process of prototyping the concept, reviewing it internally and with clients to further develop and refine the system. Our booking and payment system, which provides an addition to the invitation tool, has been designed from the ground up, based on what smaller conference organisers have been asking for. We’ve made it as flexible as possible to allow the client the freedom to do what they want to do with the system, rather than being constrained by it.

Delegate+ works for the clients, by completely removing the administrative hassle of taking delegate bookings, showing the number of bookings in real time and breaking down the volumes of each component of the conference. A conference organiser login facility enables conference capacity to be managed manually or with automatic controls and reports can be produced in real time and downloaded to Excel for further manipulation as required.

From a delegate perspective they have a quick, informative and easy to use web interface to book the conference packages they want with a secure facility to make their payment. The booking details and receipt are then automatically emailed to them.

The Conference team are delighted too as this unique facility is another way that Robinson College is differentiated from other venues.

Developing the delegate management system is just one aspect of my role as IT Manager of both Robinson and Selwyn Colleges. Together with my team of four, I am responsible for all aspects of IT delivery at both sites.

The thing I enjoy most about my job is that every day presents a different challenge and I work with a wide range of people - from students who live in for most of the year to conference delegates from all over the world who are here for just a few days. There’s a huge diversity in the range of services that we support and provide which ensures that no two days are ever the same.