how to reduce non-attendance
April 7, 2017

How To Reduce Non-Attendance at Your Next Event

You’ve spent weeks or months preparing for an exciting event or new product launch –  the room looks great, catering is all organised and the guest list is strong – only to find on the day that the ‘no shows’ outnumber the attendees. It’s frustrating, costly, and can be down-right annoying.

If you’re an event planner, or a novice who’s been landed with the task of organising the company’s new product launch, our tips on how to reduce non-attendees at your next event could be the difference between disappointment and success.

It’s human nature – everyone is interested in what’s in it for me!

If you’re offering a promotion or discount on the day, make sure you get this information out there. Likewise if you’re handing out free gifts – tell people about it! Showcase the gifts on your website. Post about the gifts on social media using quality images or video clips. Tell invitees of the gifts they will receive at the event on the invitations.

Hand out your freebies in printed gift bags. Don’t think of the gift bag as a throw-away by-product of the event; use it as a golden opportunity to promote your brand. The Printed Bag Shop has a range of sizes and styles when it comes to printed gift bags; from cotton or canvas tote bags to luxury laminated paper bags; printed paper food bags to plastic carrier bags with punched handles. All can be customized to suit your business and promote your branding.

You’ll often find that a really good gift bag that attendees will love will encourage them to turn up to your event.

Sending out your invites

How to reduce non-attendees at your next event is all in the planning.

Think about your invite list and the purpose of the event itself. Is it more suited to a mid-week lunchtime/afternoon slot, or a Friday evening after work event with drinks and nibbles? Why not ask people the best times that suit them before finalising the event. You can easily do this through a quick poll on your website. Often people will feel more obligated to attend if they have helped in the time selection.

Why not sent out your invites in the post? Okay, this may seem like an old fashioned approach, but people get less mail these days and so they tend to take more notice of it. Personalising the invite and including a voucher or name badge gives the attendee something physical as a reminder of the event.

Be sure to ask for an RSVP and make it clear that gifts and discounts etc. are only offered to those who actually attend the event. If your event is a training course or some other paid event, always charge first and refund later if necessary. If people have to pay up front they are much more likely to turn up on the day.

If the event you are organising requires a registration process, don’t open the registration too far in advance, especially if it is a more localised event. If there is too much time in between signing up and the actual event, attendees are less likely to show. For events where registrations is not necessary, make sure this information is clearly stated on your website, social media sites and other advertising and let the venue know.

Keep reminding

As the date gets closer, constant reminders will help reduce non-attendees at your next event. Get people talking – testimonials from visitors to past events shared on your website and social media sites are great reminders. Unless it’s confidential information, listing other attendees or businesses and promoting the opportunity to network will help invitees to look forward to the event and set themselves reminders.

Share good content on the event using videos, strong images, stats and blog posts on topics surrounding the event itself – this will raise attendees’ anticipation, making them keen to attend and find out more.

For smaller events, tagging people on social media, reminding them of the event and that you are looking forward to seeing them can work very well. Others in their circle of associates may see the posts too helping to generate a buzz about the upcoming event.

Make personal calls to the invitees the day before will also help reduce non-attendees at your next event. Tell them you are doing a final head count; it will be a gentle reminder for them and they could well appreciate that personal touch.

Following the advice above will certainly help reduce none-attendees at your next event, but inevitably there will always be some people who don’t turn up – you just need to decide how best to deal with it, as every event means something different to every business or organisation.

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