The Guest List adds a new construct to Handbid in that it allows you to have a list of "people" associated with an event that are not necessarily bidders. These guests represent people you expect to attend the event.
But how does that relate to Contacts?
Didn't we import contacts in the past to represent the people who may attend? In short, yes. But contacts are global (span the entire org and all auctions), so it didn't make sense to keep it that way. Instead, you need to import a list of people that have event-specific information tied to them (table assignment, sponsor, a ticket purchased, etc.) That information does not belong in a global contacts list.
So what are contacts for?
Good question. Contacts represent a list of people who have associated themselves with your organization. Consider this list a global list of past and current bidders, past and current donors, etc. Eventually, you will be want to sync this data with your CRM (donor management system).
Can you explain the relationship between bidders, guests, and contacts?
Sure, in short, a bidder is someone who bids in your auction. They also have a global Handbid account. Bidders can be linked to guests (but don't have to be linked if you are not using the guest list). Bidders are also linked to contacts in your org (that will happen if they are a bidder).
A guest is someone attending your event. A guest can BECOME a bidder if they want to register as a bidder. A guest can also BECOME a contact if they provide you with an email address.
To best explain, the relationship between the three, we have created this video: