Urge USAT to create an open, fair marketplace to streamline membership/license sales
USAT recently announced that no race director is allowed to sell USAT annual memberships unless it is done through Active.com. They have also informed other registration companies that, in order for them to sell USAT licenses or annual memberships, they must force participants to abandon the event registration process and be re-routed to the USAT site in order to make a purchase there.
This process goes against the accepted standards of online commerce that have been in existence for the past 15 years. It is akin to trying to buy two books on Amazon and being rerouted to the UPS site to pay for shipping for each book. In that case, you'd go from Amazon to UPS (take out your credit card and pay), then back to Amazon, then back to UPS (take out your credit card and pay), then back to Amazon (take out your credit card and pay).
These directives negatively impact race directors, participants, registration companies and USAT in the following ways.
HOW IT WILL EFFECT THE INDUSTRY
> RACE DIRECTORS: By forcing participants to abandon the registration process, USAT is creating an unnecessary obstacle for participants to sign up for a race. This not only frustrates participants and RDs, but in a crowded market where all RDs are fighting for every registration, it hinders the ability for RD’s to grow their events and penalizes them for not using a USAT sponsor.
The expected result: decreased event participation, decreased USAT membership sales, increased customer support, decrease in sanctioned events
> PARTICIPANTS: By forcing participants to leave registration prior to signing up for an event, USAT is breeding frustration and confusion among participants. Participants will wonder why they can’t finish signing up for an event, and may question why they need to create a USAT account, why they have to take out a credit card for something besides their event registration and how they get back to the registration process.
The expected result: higher abandonment rates for registration, increased customer support for USAT, RDs and registration companies, increased frustration and negative publicity from participants
> USAT: By limiting the ability for all registration companies and race directors to sell annuals and one days, and by creating a more complex process to get it done, USAT's new business rules are cutting off a substantial revenue stream for USAT that represents a significant percentage of the company’s current yearly income.
The potential result: decreased revenue, decreased membership sales, increased customer support, increased chance of competitive insurance offerings, negative publicity
> REGISTRATION COMPANIES: If done properly, registration companies can be a prime source of revenue for USAT. However, by limiting their ability to sell memberships and disrupting the registration process, USAT is creating a monopolistic environment for their largest sponsor (Active) and forcing registration companies to opt-out of any USAT integration. This, in turn, gives USAT less control over financial monitoring and a creates a heavier reliance on Race Directors to properly report their sales.
The potential result: increased customer support, reduced revenue for USAT, increased chance of competitive insurance offerings, frustrated Race Directors
WHAT WE SUGGEST SHOULD HAPPEN
Create an open and fair marketplace in which every registration company has access to the same ability to validate memberships in real time, sell annual memberships, renew annual memberships and sell one day licenses.
HOW IT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED
1. Modify USAT's web service to allow real-time membership validation for all registration sites and regular uploads of membership/one day sales. This creates:
- Seamless integration of USAT sales within the registration process
- Proper sales tracking and reconciliation capabilities for USAT
2. Create a set of parameters to be adhered to by all participating registration companies that includes the following requirements:
- Utilize USAT's real time validation and account creation web service
- Connect with web service on a regular, frequent basis to report all annual membership and one day sales
- Deliver new USAT membership numbers to participants immediately upon purchase
- Pay USAT (via ACH when available) on a pre-determined schedule for all one day and annual membership sales
- Assist USAT with reconciliation questions, as needed
- Provide USAT with detailed statements of USAT sales in a format specified by USAT
- Manage all one day refunds and adjust USAT reporting and payments to account for such changes.
THE BENEFITS OF AN OPEN MARKETPLACE
> RACE DIRECTORS: RD's can better service their participants, dramatically reduce their workload through an automated USAT process and have a fair, open marketplace of vendors to choose from.
> PARTICIPANTS: Streamlines the USAT membership sign-up process and creates a seamless, hassle-free experience for participants.
> USAT: Generates more revenue by having more touch points to sell memberships/licenses. Gives USAT more oversight on sales and payables by requiring registration companies to report sales daily, leading to potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars of increased revenue for USAT.
> REGISTRATION COMPANIES: A fair, open marketplace lets all registration companies better service USAT members and race directors. It also creates a competitive environment that drives vendors to enhance and promote their USAT offerings.