The ultimate guide to using HubSpot as your event registration system

There's a new event registration player on the market and it’s called… HubSpot, the leading Contact Relationship Management (CRM), marketing, sales and customer service software platform.

Event organizers are increasingly turning to HubSpot for its robust CRM and marketing automation capabilities. But now, with specific attention turning to its Marketing Cloud offering, HubSpot is offering an event registration solution for events of all sizes.

From small conferences to large-scale shows such as International Confex by Mash Media, a 10,000 participant multi-day show for event professionals, HubSpot has proven to be a reliable and effective event registration platform.

Could HubSpot be the future of event registration technology?

This guide gives you an overview of why HubSpot could be the solution to many event organizers’ registration needs. It will also provide all the information needed to implement HubSpot as your event registration platform of choice, if it fits your requirements. If you're already utilizing HubSpot as your CRM, we recommend considering it as a potential event registration solution. This guide will give you everything you need to know.

HubSpot event registration experts interviewed for this guide

We interviewed a range of organizers and consultants who are leading the way when it comes to using HubSpot for registration. From event organizers at startups using it for their events, to large conference organizers using HubSpot to register thousands of participants, we spoke to them all.

"We are starting to see more customers using HubSpot as their registration platform of choice. Therefore, we wanted to engage with experts in our industry to explore the potential of this technology through our HubSpot for Registration Working Group."

Tim Groot

Founder and CEO, Grip
At Grip, we are seeing an increasing amount of customers using and/or considering HubSpot for registration using our native integration wizard.

To thoroughly grasp the challenges and opportunities of using HubSpot for event registration, we established a working group dedicated to sharing best practices, addressing issues, and finding solutions for utilizing HubSpot as an event registration platform.

This HubSpot for Registration Working Group also helps identify potential issues and highlights new features or improvements that would enhance the overall use of HubSpot for events.
Throughout this guide, we feature insights from those on the working group:

What is HubSpot?

HubSpot’s CRM platform provides essential tools for marketing, sales, service, operations, and website development to help businesses grow.
With features such as CRM, email marketing, social media management, landing pages, live chat, and more, the platform enables users to capture leads, manage customer interaction and nurture them throughout the entire customer journey. Essentially HubSpot offers a comprehensive suite of tools to manage, grow, and engage with your audiences effectively.

Through the HubSpot ecosystem, users can integrate hundreds of other marketing, sales, customer service, finance, and commerce solutions, such as Google Ads, Mailchimp, LinkedIn, PowerBI, and SurveyMonkey. This makes it convenient for event organizers who may already be paying for a HubSpot account and are familiar with the tools that integrate with it. If all of those boxes are ticked, it can be a powerful and flexible registration tool for event orgainzers and events of all sizes.

“We have over half a million contacts in HubSpot, so for us, that sort of end-to-end management was incredibly important.”

Alexandra Green

Chief Marketing Officer, VC Innovations
As a result of the increasing amount of data being used in events businesses, migrating online registration to your HubSpot marketing & sales platform is one way to streamline and improve the processes for capturing, nurturing, and converting leads, be they exhibitors or attendees to your events.

"The beauty of HubSpot is that it is pretty much a one stop shop,” explained Alexandra Green, Chief Marketing Officer at VC Innovations, the B2B event organizer. “We have over half a million contacts in HubSpot, so for us, that sort of end-to-end management was incredibly important. It's an expensive platform but it is centered to our ever-growing tech stack."

What is the HubSpot Marketing Hub and how can it be used for event registration?

The HubSpot Marketing Hub is the CRM company’s marketing automation platform designed to help businesses attract, engage, and connect with customers. It provides a suite of tools and features to streamline marketing efforts and drive results such as creating nurture campaigns, managing social media posts, tracking analytics, and creating landing pages for your registration campaigns.

Within the Hubspot Marketing Hub, event organizers can create and manage event registration forms using the Landing Pages feature, track registrations and integrate with other tools for seamless data management.

8 benefits of using HubSpot as your event registration platform

HubSpot offers numerous advantages as an event registration platform. Based on our interviews, here are the top eight benefits to using HubSpot for your next event:
1. Seamless Integration
HubSpot's broad ecosystem allows for easy connectivity with countless other tech platforms, enhancing the registration process.
2. Automation
Automate mundane tasks, from sending calendar invites upon registration to managing ticket cancellations and customer enquiries.
3. Optimize marketing
Leverage HubSpot's analytics to understand attendee behavior and preferences, so you can target marketing efforts effectively.
4. Cost effectiveness
For those already utilizing HubSpot for CRM or marketing, the event registration feature comes at no additional cost, however, expanding into in-depth customization may require the enterprise licence.
5. User friendly
HubSpot's intuitive interface ensures that setting up and managing event registration campaigns is straightforward, requiring no technical expertise.
6. Flexibility
Whether hosting in-person, virtual, or hybrid events, HubSpot's flexible features can be tailored to meet specific needs, no matter your audience size. However, if you have complex conditional question requirements, this may not be your best solution, which we touch on further on in this guide.
7. Data management
As a CRM platform, HubSpot offers robust data management capabilities such as segmentation, tagging and reporting, providing valuable insights for future events.
8. Community support
Whether hosting in-person, virtual, or hybrid events, HubSpot's flexible features can be tailored to meet specific needs, no matter your audience size. However, if you have complex conditional question requirements, this may not be your best solution, which we touch on further on in this guide.
To create a seamless user experience, the ability to integrate various tools and platforms is crucial for efficient event management.

Elijah Clark-Ginsberg, Senior Brand Experiential Manager at BetterUp, emphasizes the importance of using HubSpot for registration due to its extensive integration capabilities. He shares his insights on how this feature has proven beneficial: “One of the reasons why I really like using HubSpot for registration is the wide variety of integrations available. So being able to connect HubSpot’s registration and other event tech platforms yourself using Zapier is really very valuable to me."
This endorsement underscores the importance of choosing a versatile platform like HubSpot that not only simplifies the registration process but also empowers users through diverse integrations, fostering streamlined workflows and enhancing overall event management efficiency.
An example of BetterUp’s HubSpot event registration form

What makes HubSpot suitable for event registration?

HubSpot's event registration tool offers an all-encompassing approach to managing events, providing seamless integration with other hubs (HubSpot slang for a collection of products), such as its marketing automation platform.

With its strengths in data management, segmentation, marketing communications, and analytics, HubSpot is a powerful tool for event organizers, enabling them to easily create multiple customizable registration forms that can be embedded on websites or its own landing pages, enabling event planners to target specific data collection points and acquisition channels.

This allows organizers to have a cohesive understanding of attendees and their preferences, improving personalization and overall event experiences. However, as Baris Onay, a digital transformation consultant, points out, you may require an enterprise licence from HubSpot to deeply customize the platform to suit complex event needs.
Elijah Clark-Ginsberg used to be a Senior Producer at HubSpot and so has extensive experience using the platform for event registration. He spent nearly a decade building the company's INBOUND event, growing from 5,000 to 28,000+ registrations.

"One-click registrations and cancellations" has been valuable for Clark-Ginsberg, who now has a holistic view of their attendees' journey, from initial interest to session attendance and post-event follow-up, all in one place, "Now we're looking at automation to smooth out any sharp edges… by extension, that makes the attendee experience a lot smoother as well. This means we don’t have to work as hard to make the experience seamless for them.”

The events industry has become synonymous with delivering great experiences to event participants. To craft these experiences, whether in-person or online, every event organizer must focus on a number of key elements, including data transparency, robust integrations, and platform reliability.
This is where HubSpot stands out. With over 200,000 customers worldwide, event organizers benefit from input across multiple businesses and industries, meaning the platform can cater to a diverse range of event requirements. With its extensive capabilities, HubSpot offers significant advantages for managing events - making it a top contender for your next event registration platform.
An example event registration form being created using HubSpot’s landing page builder. Notice the single form field, once the registrant adds their email, more fields appear. This increases conversions.

Redefining event registrations

To understand the potential of HubSpot as an event registration solution, as discussed through Grip’s working group, there is a challenge in the events industry with defining what event registration is.

Tim Groot, Founder and CEO of Grip, said “The user experience flow from registration to receiving your login credentials can be significantly optimized by introducing new technology. Using a platform like HubSpot could help so many organizers improve their customer experience."

Many organizers view event registration as the whole experience from acquisition through to the onsite badging experience. However, as Adam Malik, CTO at The Media CTO points out, "Registration is not badging. Registration is registration. Badging is badging. Think about it like this: registration is data capture and communication; it's not badging."
Baris Onay, CEO at Precision Communities, sees how HubSpot provides a solution that fits in certain circumstances: "HubSpot is a marketing solution, not a complete registration solution. Most of the cost of what a registration company wants you to pay is people and onsite hardware," which is your on-site badging solutions.

While the debate continues of what constitutes "event registration", one thing is clear: HubSpot allows event organizers to efficiently manage their communication and data capture leading up to an event, capturing data on audience types and behaviors, which helps improve participant experiences.

The challenges of onsite badging can be overcome through HubSpot's easy-to-use Integrations Hub, which can seamlessly connect to other essential event technology platforms, such as onsite solutions for attendee badging, floorplan software for sales, event networking apps for attendee and exhibitor engagement.

Clark-Ginsberg highlights that, "the ability to have everything in one system so you can see who’s coming and what they registered for, where they’re coming from – has been very valuable."

HubSpot - a single source of data and analysis

Unlike many other industry-specific registration platforms, HubSpot offers a significant advantage: it serves as a single source of data across your entire event portfolio, including attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and speakers.

“With HubSpot we can simply replicate all of our registration forms and automate so many processes from that one central source.”

Samy Shafeeq

Head of CRM & Digital, Mash Media
For larger businesses with the size, scale, and budget, building complex integrations to ensure all operations and experiences flow seamlessly is achievable. These companies can afford to invest in sophisticated systems that synchronize data from various sources, optimizing their event management to the highest standards.

As Samy Shafeeq from Mash Media says: “We’ve always had challenges importing and exporting data between platforms and different event brands that we operate. With HubSpot we can simply replicate all of our registration forms and automate so many processes from that one central source.”

On the other hand, smaller businesses may not have the in-house expertise or budget to create such intricate integrations. For them, HubSpot is a game-changer. With all event registration data centralized in one place, there's no need for complicated integrations or confusion over which data point to trust most, or which is most up to date. This simplicity means they have total control over their event data without the technical headaches.

By having your data in one place, organizers, regardless of their business size, can uncover sales opportunities among their entire audience and track attendee interactions with other content, such as webinars or whitepapers. HubSpot's unified platform thus levels the playing field, offering robust data management capabilities to businesses of all sizes.

As Adam Malik comments: "If you are a trade show organizer, your visibility on acquisition is going to be much higher if you use platforms that are built to give you that visibility," which is what HubSpot is, a marketing tool at its core.
Add new contacts into your HubSpot CRM by pulling them straight from your event registration form submissions.

"HubSpot opens up the ability to tap into precisely how engaged our prospects are, as well as being able to see who’s in attendance at any given moment."

Elijah Clark-Ginsberg

Senior Brand Experiential Manager, BetterUp
For larger businesses with the size, scale, and budget, building complex integrations to ensure all operations and experiences flow seamlessly is achievable. These companies can afford to invest in sophisticated systems that synchronize data from various sources, optimizing their event management to the highest standards.

As Samy Shafeeq from Mash Media says: “We’ve always had challenges importing and exporting data between platforms and different event brands that we operate. With HubSpot we can simply replicate all of our registration forms and automate so many processes from that one central source.”

On the other hand, smaller businesses may not have the in-house expertise or budget to create such intricate integrations. For them, HubSpot is a game-changer. With all event registration data centralized in one place, there's no need for complicated integrations or confusion over which data point to trust most, or which is most up to date. This simplicity means they have total control over their event data without the technical headaches.

By having your data in one place, organizers, regardless of their business size, can uncover sales opportunities among their entire audience and track attendee interactions with other content, such as webinars or whitepapers. HubSpot's unified platform thus levels the playing field, offering robust data management capabilities to businesses of all sizes.

As Adam Malik comments: "If you are a trade show organizer, your visibility on acquisition is going to be much higher if you use platforms that are built to give you that visibility," which is what HubSpot is, a marketing tool at its core.

"HubSpot opens up the ability to tap into precisely how engaged our prospects are, as well as being able to see who’s in attendance at any given moment."

Elijah Clark-Ginsberg

Senior Brand Experiential Manager, BetterUp

A hidden advantage of using HubSpot for your event registrations

There is an added bonus that is possibly overlooked and it's not about software or features. Using marketing platforms such as HubSpot enables event organizers to recruit marketing or data experts from outside of the events industry, hiring for skills and experience and not having to educate people on events industry-specific software.

This has the potential to bring outside talent and experience in enhancing event marketing strategies and ultimately driving additional registrations and conversions. For example, there are lots of marketers who are HubSpot experts but have never organized an event before. If you explain what you want, there’s a high likelihood they could become your event registration expert by leveraging their knowledge of the platform.

5 steps to implementing HubSpot as your event registration platform

The process of implementing HubSpot as your event registration platform begins by leveraging HubSpot's Marketing Hub. This allows you to create engaging, targeted campaigns for potential attendees.

By integrating event registration directly into your marketing campaigns, organizers can capture attendee information within HubSpot's CRM with "one-click" registrations, enabling immediate follow-ups and personalized communication including automated calendar invites for any event registered for.
5 point checklist for implementing HubSpot
1. Create Your data plan
Clearly understand the data you need to collect from event attendees, how it will be used and where it will flow through your event tech stack.
2. Identify integrations
Determine which integrations, such as event networking apps or onsite badging solutions, are necessary for your event and ensure they are compatible with HubSpot so that you can make use of data captured during the event. At Grip we have developed a comprehensive help guide to walk you through the process of integrating HubSpot with your event tech stack. This includes getting Hubspot API credentials and connecting Hubspot in Grip's Native Integrations wizard. To read the support article, click here, or see later on in this guide for more details.
3. Create A/B forms to test
HubSpot's A/B testing capabilities allow organizers to test different registration form designs, fields, and calls to action to optimize conversion rates.
4. Utilize personalization
Plan what content you can utilize to personalize the registration experience for attendees based on their interests or actions taken through registration.
5. Leverage automated communications
Draw workflows you wish to automate so you can send confirmations, reminders, and important event updates

The top 5 dos and don'ts for using HubSpot as your registration form

Do

1. Leverage HubSpot's integrative capabilities to connect with other event applications so you can create better experiences for attendees, speakers and exhibitors or sponsors.
2. Take advantage of automation to reduce manual tasks and focus on more strategic planning and interactions.
3. Use HubSpot's analytics to gain insight into audience behavior, preferences and registration patterns in order to refine marketing strategies.
4. Personalize your communication with attendees through HubSpot's CRM integration, delivering targeted messages that resonate with their interests, needs and behaviors.
5. Explore HubSpot's community for innovative ideas and support - there is a wealth of experience shared by other users that you can gain inspiration from.

Don't

1. Don't overlook the training and resources HubSpot offers to maximize your ROI and ensure your team is using the platform to its full potential.
2. Don’t just assume your other event platforms are integrated check it can connect with other essential applications, such as floorplan software, networking apps, or on-site badging solutions.
3. Don't rely on HubSpot for complex registrations conditional logic and complex pricing structures. While it does have the capability for sophisticated registrations, it may not be the best fit for every event's needs.
4. Don't rely on default settings alone tailor HubSpot to fit your event's unique needs and if necessary, employ the help of a HubSpot expert to optimize your use.
5. Don't use HubSpot solely as a registration tool take advantage of its full marketing capabilities to grow your audiences.

How to integrate HubSpot into your registration tech stack

Integration can be a significant challenge for many event organizers and their registration vendors, often leading to frustration and additional costs. However, by leveraging HubSpot's vast ecosystem in conjunction with Zapier—a platform that provides integrations for web applications to enhance automation workflows—you can achieve seamless integration with other event technology platforms. This synergy makes the entire data journey more efficient and streamlined.

Integrations should not be complicated, "It's just another data pipe," Adam Malik explains. The challenge with integrating platforms like HubSpot into your event tech stack comes from a "just switch it on" mentality rather than "designing the process and then applying the right technology to the right area" approach. Your designs don't need an expert, but you simply map out your data flow and ensure that any integration works for your specific event needs.
This works for relatively simple events, but if you have more complex event needs or complicated registration flows across multiple events and subsequent platforms, you need to ensure you create the right data architecture in HubSpot to help avoid any potential issues or gaps in your data collection, marketing and analysis.

"If you sit down and really take a moment to plan it out, it's not hard to do" says Baris Onay.
Grip provides a native integration for HubSpot, making it easy to pull in data from the platform. More here.
To make it even easier, Grip offers a native integration wizard for HubSpot. This allows organizers to connect all the data flowing into and out of the Grip platform with their HubSpot instance in a couple of clicks. More details are here.

Current

Most common
Growing
An example of an event tech stack for a small / medium organizer. For a more detailed analysis of different tech stacks take a look at our event tech stack report.
An event tech stack when you’re using a dedicated event registration solution will look something like this (see right).

As you can see, numerous integrations, especially with your marketing and sales systems, can be challenging to manage and may take years to complete. The amount of data that needs to be synced between your registration and marketing solution can include tens of thousands of records including regular updates.
Example dataflows for an event organizer

“One of the reasons why I really like using HubSpot... is its whole ecosystem is a lot larger than some of the biggest events industry registration providers."

Elijah Clark-Ginsberg

Senior Brand Experiential Manager, BetterUp

Event registration integrations

As a result of the increasing amount of data movement, migrating online registration to your marketing & sales platform is one way to streamline and improve the processes for capturing, nurturing, and converting leads, be they exhibitors or attendees to your events.

This means that you can focus on designing event experiences to grow your audience rather than spending hours trying to export, import, sync or update data between platforms.

Limitations when using HubSpot for event registration

While HubSpot is a powerful tool, it may require a "tinkerer-mindset" to fully exploit its capabilities for event registration. Additionally, certain niche, event-specific functionalities might need workaround solutions via integrations as we'll explore below.
Event registration payments
At the time of writing, several members of Grip's HubSpot working group commented about issues with Payments (or the inability to accept them in the EU) as a major challenge. However, HubSpot recently (April 2024) released a new payment tool that allows you to collect one-time and recurring payments from customers in your CRM.

Integrations with platforms such as Xero for invoicing "remains a significant challenge" for Samy Shafeeq from Mash Media, where "streamlined processes are crucial for efficiency."
Conditional registration form questions
The lack of flexibility around conditional question logic is a major limitation of utilizing HubSpot for your event registrations. For example, when adjusting the registration flow for an attendee based on their answers to previous questions to help establish their attendee type, their access level or even waive registration fees is not yet possible in HubSpot.
Implementation for new events
Implementing HubSpot into an existing event, e.g. for use with existing complex data architecture, can be challenging without careful management, planning and implementation.

Deploying into virgin territory allows for smoother integrations and adoption across a business and once the system becomes normalized, it can grow alongside the organizer.

This means that right now, HubSpot may be more suited to new events rather than established ones with legacy systems.

"If you get your data architecture right, the software can be made to handle complex formatting," says Baris Onay, however, you may need an expert to help you.

Is it time you considered HubSpot for your event registration needs?

HubSpot stands out as a versatile, efficient and cost-effective solution for event registration. It bridges the gap between marketing automation and event registration, and if you already use it for your CRM it’s definitely worth considering as your registration tool of choice.

Its robust CRM and marketing automation capabilities offer seamless integration, automation and data management, making it a powerful tool for event organizers. While the platform's flexibility caters to events of all sizes, from small conferences to large-scale exhibitions and trade shows.

The extensive integration capabilities of Hubspot and its supportive community of users worldwide provide valuable resources for event organizers seeking to enhance their marketing operations.

By adopting technology like HubSpot, event organizers can significantly improve the user experience flow from registration to receiving login credentials for event platforms or mobile event apps. As Tim Groot, Founder and CEO of Grip, aptly puts it: "Using a platform like HubSpot could help so many organizers improve their overall event and, ultimately, customer experience."

Ultimately, HubSpot's comprehensive features and user-centric design make it an indispensable asset for many event organizers looking to streamline their processes and deliver exceptional experiences.

Next steps

Ready to take your event experiences to the next level? By combining Grip, the AI-powered event platform built for business relationships, with HubSpot, you can easily boost event satisfaction scores, growth and revenues.

Talk to our team about integrating your HubSpot instance with Grip today.
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