I've been asked to set up an online booking system for a very small marathon. (As in maximum 200 competitors, rather than a very small course. ) Originally, the plan was to use PayPal to take payments, but we've since had reports from other groups that PayPal will not release the money until after an event, citing the high risk of cancellation. Obviously, that's no use, as the entrance fee is needed in advance to pay the event expenses.
Asking around similar groups for suggestions, we've been referred to entrycentral.com. They look good, but as they provide a greater service than simply processing payments, their charges are higher than PayPal's. Our event (in its first year, but hopefully to become an annual event) is being run pretty much on a shoestring, so every penny counts.
Can anybody suggest a cheap and easy alternative, or do we just need to bite the bullet and go with entrycentral?
Sorry I can't offer any suggestions. I can only say that Entrycentral is probably the market leader for that kind of event, and is very popular among event organisers. I run a site that's concerned with charity bike rides, and many of the rides' organisers use Entrycentral.
I would also suggest that you don't force competitors to register on line. In other words, be prepared to accept postal or in-person bookings if at all possible. I know it's more work for you. But I do get feedback from people who want to take part in an event, but - for whatever reason - cannot or will not register on line, and therefore feel excluded.
Most online payment gateways have a clause with regards to advance ticket payments - paypal aren't unusual in retaining funds until the event has passed. It's often hidden away in the very small print. As the fee charged will always reflect the element of risk taken by the credit provider, I suspect you'll be unlikely to do better than entrycentral
Yes - that's already in the plans. Most of their previous events have simply been "pay on the day", and even for Sport Relief, which could be booked on-line, most folk just turned up and paid on the day. The other events were all pretty informal, though - no chip timing, or anything - so there were no large expenses to be covered before the event.
Thanks - I'll take a look.
Thanks for the warning. I'll have a look at stripe.com, but I suspect you're right, and entrycentral is the way to go.
The group are thinking of introducing the option of online booking for the smaller events, (they've never had a web site before), so we'll probably go with Paypal for those, as the money isn't needed up-front.
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