How to guarantee attendance at your next event

Photo courtesy of Powers Studios

Planning an event takes a lot of work! The worst thing that can happen is investing time and effort into an event no one shows up for. While the reality is not everyone on your guest list will show up – and some who RSVP’d “yes” might still turn out to be no-shows – there are some tricks you can use to guarantee attendance at the next event you’re in charge of planning.

  1. Start with a well-thought-out guest list. Who you invite is almost as important as how many you invite. Develop a list of people who fit the demographic of the audience your event is trying to reach.
  2. Give plenty of advance notice. In most cases, sending out an initial invitation 4-5 weeks ahead of time gives people enough heads up to mark that day off. During the holiday season or summer when calendars fill up more quickly, you may even want to aim for 6 weeks if the event is really important.
  3. Offer an early bird special. Of course, a discounted ticket rate is the obvious way to go, but you can do this even if you aren’t charging for the event. If an RSVP equals an entry into a raffle, give early bird registrants double entry. Give them exclusive content or extra access to your guest speaker. This not only encourages people to commit to attending, but also adds value to the event.
  4. Stagger the reminders. If you send a “save the date” 5 weeks before the event, send a formal invitation 3 weeks beforehand. If your event requires an RSVP, you could send a final follow up – offering an incentive for RSVP-ing! – 10 days or a week before the event.
  5. Over communicate about the event. Whatever platforms you have available, use them! This is especially true if your event is “open to the public” without a set guest list. Create an event on your blog, share it on any and all social media sites, create flyers, put it in the local paper. Wherever your audience is going to see an advertisement, do what you can to be seen there.
  6. Offer incentives for attending. Not every event needs to have a huge drawing, but giveaways and prizes certainly do sweeten the deal for attending – especially if entry into the drawing is attached to simply providing an RSVP and showing up!
  7. Highlight previous successes. If you’ve hosted similar events before, include that in your communication before your next event. Essentially, use those past successes to communicate how much fun your guests could have if they come.
  8. Generate anticipation. Be careful not to hype an event you haven’t made worth the energy, but if you’re going to have an awesome event (which you are!) don’t be afraid to talk it up! Keep a few things a secret, but as you figure out the details, share them with your guests. Talk about the awesome food menu you just chose with the caterer; share photos of just how awesome the event space is; give information about the entertainment of the night; talk up the guest speaker.

You’ve got what it takes to plan and pull off an outstanding event. These 8 tricks are just a few ways you can guarantee attendance and make sure your invited guests get to experience it!

If you’re planning an event, we’d love to be on your team as your caterer! Give us a call or fill out our form and we’ll be in touch soon!