Planning any event can be extremely stressful. You can try to plan the event of the century and it can still come crashing down (just ask Ja Rule). Most event planners seem to have it all covered… food, venue, invitations, drinks, entertainment, but the one thing that might seem out of a host’s control is who might show up or how many people will attend. If you have noticed that your event attendance has been a little light lately, here are a few tips that have helped organizations get their numbers back up.
- Easy registration – Not too many guests feel like calling to register for an event these days, and fewer still are those that feel comfortable giving their credit card information over the phone to someone they don’t know. Make sure you are using an online registration system to accommodate all of your guest’s sign-up needs.
- Event feedback from guests – Most of us have been to an event that frankly we just didn’t enjoy. Unfortunately for the host, they didn’t bother to follow up with their guests to make sure they had a good time and see what they might be able to improve upon. There are free online surveys that you can send out to allow guests to give you their honest feedback, providing you with valuable information when planning your next event.
- Affordable tickets – Does your ticket price make sense to people? Can the potential guest list afford what you are asking and if so, is the price justified? Try to give discounted tickets for kids and seniors. A family may choke on the price of tickets for everyone and it could mean the difference in having a good turnout or being a total flop. If your tickets are pricey, make sure people know why i.e. a portion will be going to charity, it’s a private, there are a limited number of guests allowed, or maybe it’s a popular event.
- Targeted marketing efforts – Mailers, boosted posts within the area of your event, posters at coffee shops, signs on the corner. Find your target audience and go after it.
- Social Media – Use social media to its full potential, post to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (before, during, and after the event). Post about event updates and teasers to encourage attendance, such as surprise guests, limited seat availability, and giveaways.
- More details – Make sure you are as detailed as possible in your event announcements. Will food and drinks be served or available? Is it kid friendly? Pet-friendly? How much at the door? Is there a discount if tickets are purchased in advance? When does it start? When does it end? Do I need to be a member to attend? Think about the types of questions your guests may have before they could make a decision about attending your event. The more information you give them, the more likely they are to register when they see your invitation. It will also decrease the likelihood of receiving multiple phone calls or emails with follow-up questions about the event.
- Event reminders – Make sure your event does not slip their mind, send out email or text reminders the day they register and the day before the event. Depending on how early your event announcement goes out, you may want to send more, or send out event updates and details as the event date draws closer. There are registration systems that send out automatic reminders, does your current system offer this functionality?
- Know your audience – Hosting a night event in the city? Hire a band that is popular with the locals and a bartender to serve delicious drinks. Weekend event? Try to make it kid and pet-friendly to encourage more families to attend. Hot day? Be sure to serve up plenty of water to keep your guests hydrated. Knowing what your guests enjoy and anticipating their needs is the key to being a great host/hostess.
- Don’t try to compete – If your best friend’s wedding is on the same day as your sister’s baby shower, which do you go to? Apply this (in theory) to planning your events. Try not to schedule your smaller events during other popular event schedules… Sunday church service hours, yearly festivals and fairs, major sporting events. This will ensure that your event will not keep potential attendees away from their usual scheduled engagements and other obligations.
- The earlier the better – Especially important during the summer months, weekend schedules are usually filled by families and individuals weeks or months in advance trying to make the most out of the beautiful weather. Get your invites out early to make sure your event is making it onto their calendars.
You’re already a great host. Practice these tips to start improving your guest attendance. Most important… don’t stress! You may not fill up your guest list for every event, but you can start taking steps to improve your guests’ experience.
Have a great idea on how to improve guest attendance or want to share an idea that has worked for you? Share it with us here: https://getlocalhop.com/contact/
About us – LocalHop is an Events Management Platform that provides event marketing, web calendars, and registration systems to organizations and small businesses in Kalamazoo and southeast Michigan. LocalHop launched in October 2015 and has offices in Pontiac and Kalamazoo, Michigan.