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How to Ensure RSVP’d Attendees Actually Attend Your Event

In the realm of event consulting, the word “attrition” holds a ton of weight. The standard definition of the word is “the action of gradually reducing the strength of something through sustained pressure.” For event consultants, it it’s the percentage of registrants that we can expect will not attend an event.

Unfortunately, no-shows are nearly guaranteed, but there are steps you can take to decrease your expected attrition. Follow our tips to ensure that your RSVP’d guests actually attend your event.

Consistent Communication

Early RSVP’s are some of the easiest to lose. A lot can happen in the time between registration and event day that might change a person’s RSVP, but that reason should never be that he or she simply forgot about your event.

Don’t let anyone forget about the event by practicing consistent communication with your guest list. Communication efforts should include:

  • Send a confirmation email thanking guests for registering. Make sure to include all of the pertinent event information in the email.
  • Send follow up messages with updates on additions to the event program. This will keep your ticket holders engaged and excited about the approaching event.

The balance between just enough and too much communication can be difficult – but if you don’t communicate at all, you can be sure that people will forget.

Engage Immediately

The goal of engagement is to increase the amount that a guest has invested in your event. One of the most direct ways to engage guests is through gamification.

At one of TME’s recent events, our client introduced a business pitch competition during registration. This kind of engagement is successful because it introduces excitement for the event, and personal investment for those who decide to participate.

Another way to increase engagement before your event is to use a customized mobile application. With the right encouragement (promotional emails, online banners promoting the app), attendees can use your app to communicate with each other and let you know what they are most excited about. This will build engagement before, during, and after your event.

You’ll also want to encourage guests to follow your company on social media for event updates. The right use of a hashtag is a great way for keeping tabs on the conversations.

Learn From Your Analytics

If your event is already underway, then it may be too late to implement any of the above insider tips. However, you can take this opportunity to take a deeper look at the registration statistics. Was there one type of ticket that most of the no-shows held? When were the absentee registrations made? Where did those people find your event? What social statistics, if any, do you have on the RSVP’d attendees that didn’t end up coming?

If the analytics tell you a ticket type, platform or demographic were unsuccessful, you might want to re-think those options for the next event. This might mean reaching out to more people via Facebook ads, or decreasing your outreach to Millennials. In addition, if you focus your outreach on the segments that had a high attendance rate, next year’s no-show rate will be lower.

You don’t have to accept that some of your RSVP’d guests will not attend an event. There are always ways to re-think your strategy and increase attendance. In each step of the planning process, think about what you can do to engage your RSVPs and encourage more people to take interest in your event.  And if all else fails, call the folks who did not RSVP and ask them if they are attending. This can be time consuming but a personal call can go a long way.

How do you keep guests interested before your event? Tell us in the comments below!

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