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TechSoup Battles: Simple event registration with Guestlist

Event Planning

When I'm planning an event, my needs are pretty typical - so for our second challenge, I decided to choose an event registration tool that was simple and easy to use. After some research and thinking about what I'm looking for, I settled on Guestlist.

(Are you new to TechSoup Battles? Find out what it's all about and check out our other challenges. This review is part of our second challenge, on event registration.)


  • Free for free events
  • Paid events are free for most charities, and for people raising money to directly help others. Guestlist decides on a case-by-case basis, so send them an email request and they will get back to you.
  • If you aren’t able to get the special pricing, Guestlist takes a 2% commission from the ticket price, to a maximum of $10 per ticket. If you want, you have the option to pass this charge along to your guests.
  • If you are going to host a paid event, you will need a PayPal account to receive payments
  • Guestlist is Canadian and has been around since 2008

First impressions:
It’s extremely easy and quick (and free!) to sign up for Guestlist. Once that was done, I created a test event. Unlike tools like Eventbrite, Guestlist doesn’t have a public listing of all the events created with their service. Depending on your situation this could be good or bad. In my case, it was great since it made it much easier to test out the tool!

Creating an event:
As I’ve mentioned before, I think the key strength of Guestlist is that it is simple. You just put in the information for your event page, you can see exactly what it will look like, and then you just publish when you’re ready to go. No HTML or knowledge of building websites is needed.

Editing an event in Guestlist

As you would expect, as an organizer I can see a list of my attendees, add people manually, print the list and export to csv. This last one is very important, as it means you could add this to your database, CRM or mega-spreadsheet to track who attended your event. One of the things I liked about Guestlist that isn't a feature of Meetup (the tool I'm currently using), is that when you sign up a guest it asks you to put in a name and email for your guest. This means that I have all the information about everyone attending and can contact them directly. After registering, Guestlist will send all attendees a receipt and a ticket for the event.

The main thing that I didn’t like about Guestlist is that it didn’t have a couple of the features I was looking for, specifically waitlisting and the ability to ask custom questions. The reason I like to be able to ask custom questions is to find out more about my attendees so I can customize the event. For example, I might want to ask "what event registration tool is your favourite?" Guestlist sort of provides the capability to do this, as they allow you to add custom fields to the registration form. The only problem is that you are limited to 30 characters, and I think that even a Twitter pro would have trouble fitting a question into that length! My guess is that it would work well for short labels like "Food Preferences” or "Phone Number".

More advanced stuff:
You can also use Guestlist for paid events, and events with multiple types of tickets. Here’s a screenshot of the registration page for the My Charity Connects conference; as you can see there are 3 types of tickets:

Registration form for My Charity Connects conference 2012

There is also some integration with Campaign Monitor and Google Analytics, which I haven’t tested out, but I do really like being able to track visits with Google Analytics. You can also embed a “Register for event” button right into your website, to make it easy for people to find your registration page.

Overall, if you just want something simple to get started with event registration online, or you are able to take advantage of the charity discount, Guestlist is a good option. However if you need more features or integration with other tools, Eventbrite might be a better choice.

What do you think? Have you used Guestlist? Would it meet your needs? Do you have any insights, tips, or things to watch out for that you can share? Share your thoughts on Twitter (#TechSoupBattles), Facebook, below in the comments or send us an email.