You WANTED online registration. You insisted on it. It was the one BIG THING that came up in the suggestion box over and over again. We came, kicking and screaming, to online registration. And you were RIGHT. It is wonderful. You love it.We love it. You know IMMEDIATELY whether or not you got the classes you signed up for -- and plan your Expo time accordingly.
However -- the way we do online registration is very different from most consumer shows. Because of the sheer size of our audience -- it is necessary to TICKET every seminar. That means we STILL maintain a brick and mortar ticket office ramping up to the show. In December, we rent the temporary office space and set up our rented office equipment. In addition, we print thousands of tickets -- which are organized by number and by day. We get our computers and printers out of the paid storage unit and WE HIRE THE TICKET OFFICE STAFF. These workers are not volunteers -- they are paid professionals who work for us year after year and they do a wonderful job. These employees come to the office and print off every online ticket order. With the help of the CTA volunteers -- they pull the individual seminar and event tickets, put them into an envelope to be sent to your home. They phone you if they have questions or if there is a conflict or problem.
(Katy is in this old picture -- I know I have WAY BETTER PICTURES of the ticket office staff -- from more recent years -- but they are buried in my avalanche of 30,000 pictures...yikes...I was lucky to find this one!!)
And, of course, now -- on top of all that -- now we also have the additional expense of building and maintaining the ONLINE REGISTRATION itself. We pay computer specialists to do that job. Every class and event must be properly linked and set up with the secure credit card processing site -- and we pay for all that.
Online registration has added thousands of dollars to our budget and we COMPLETELY, TOTALLY UNDERESTIMATED the cost of all this. For the first two years, we set a $4 handling fee. But after doing the ACTUAL MATH last year -- we realized that didn't even come close to covering the real cost.
So this year, the handling fee will be $8 per order. Please understand we keep the costs down whenever possible. But good people do not work for free. And this is a VERY BIG JOB. This increase in the handling fee is necessary to simply cover the cost.
Remember -- this charge is per ORDER -- not per ticket. AND -- we do allow you to "pool" your ticket purchases. So the $8 handling fee, amortized out over the purchase of many tickets -- is still A HUGE BARGAIN..!!
Thank you for your understanding -- I'm giving you this heads-up so you can start to strategize your Sew Expo registration. Again -- the brochure will be going UP ON THE WEBSITE (Sewexpo.com) on December 17. And the online registration will go live, as always, the first week in January.
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