Students are great at embracing new technology and everyone is grateful for processes that streamline event planning, payment and data collection.
Established in 1880, the University of Melbourne Medical Students' Society (UMMSS) is one of the oldest medical student societies in Australia. It is also one of the largest student organisations on the University of Melbourne campus and provides a strong representation for medical student issues at the university, state and national levels. UMMSS also runs a number of educational, social and community gatherings, including fundraising events, dinner dances and the Grand Medical Ball.
Jess Leung is the Treasurer of the UMMSS and a key planner for many of the society's events. Recently Jess organised the UMMSS's Third Year Dinner at Powerhouse in Melbourne's bayside suburb of Albert Park. About 80% of third year students, 250 people, attended the dinner this year.
In the past there was a lot of cash to manage in the lead-up to the dinner. Medical students had to put together their own table, collect all the money and purchase the entire table at once. During lunch breaks volunteers collected large amounts of cash, and issued tickets and receipts for the dinner. Then event planners had to sort out seating arrangements, table assignments, collate dietary requests and check financial reconciliations.
This year Jess set up the ticketing, seating, data and payment collection on TryBooking. "When TryBooking saw the type of event I was running they rang me with some ideas and advice that I took on board. But really it's so easy that I didn't really need any extra support or help," explained Jess.
Jess devised an innovative strategy to facilitate the change to online booking. She used table captains to identify tables so students could easily select a table during the online booking process. "This worked especially well for smaller groups. In the past, you had to have ten people to book a table and this year it didn't matter if there was one, two or six people in your party, you could find a table with space and add yourself or your group," said Jess.
"Every second day I used the reports to see where there were still seats. I entered the number of free seats for each table in its description field. It only took a couple of minutes to update all the tables because the information was so easy to access," continued Jess.
"People are used to booking things online and they liked to choose their own tables," said Jess. Students reserved and paid for their seats, indicated their meal preference and instantly printed their tickets. Jess and her team didn't have to handle cash, organise seating arrangements or collect dietary requests. Everything was instantly reconciled and reported through TryBooking.
"We like to include our sponsors' logos in our event advertising so it was excellent that I could easily upload the logos onto our online booking page," added Jess.
"It worked really well! I think for events like our Grand Medical Ball it will be especially great because more students who come to that live off campus. They'll love the convenience of buying online and not having to come in to get their tickets."
"The whole process was very user friendly. I had great support from the people at TryBooking, but really I didn't need much help - it was so easy to use!"