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Events & Conferencing opinion

802 words to help event planners increase their event attendance

Every single event planner wants to ensure that their events are well attended. Whether you're tasked with running an exclusive product launch or a high-profile awards evening, your event is nothing without its guests.
If you want to avoid the embarrassment (not to mention the negative ramifications) of empty tables and unopened gift bags, read on for our tips (all 802 words of them).

'Failing to plan is planning to fail' - Do your research

Planning an event without equipping yourself with the necessary information is like attempting to cook a gourmet meal without reading the recipe, or shopping for ingredients. If you realise that you don't have any eggs and substitute flour instead, your flan is bound to be a flop.

Organising an event is no different - you need to make sure that you gather as much information as you can prior to planning in order to ensure your event's success. Make use of event data and event reports. The RSVP Agency offers an enterprise package which allows corporate event planners access to the back end of our system. This will allow you to manage your guest lists and pull reports, ensuring you can update and pull your information at any time.

Streamline your registration process

Ensure you don't put guests off once they've arrived by making them stand in long queues. Even better, give them the option of registering prior to the event. If this isn't possible, ensure you're using event management software that streamlines this process for you. Instead of having to manually search through multiple (and often conflicting) spreadsheets, you'll have all of the information at your fingertips.

If a guest declines at the last minute, or calls to ask if they can bring a partner, your software will reflect this in real-time. In addition, event software will enable you and your members of staff to conduct the registration process from tablets or smartphones.

Dear John - Personalise your invitations

We often stress this point, and for good reason. If you're sending out generic invitations, your event attendance rate is bound to be dismal. By addressing your guests by their first name (correct spelling is crucial), and including some sort of personal detail, you'll instantly up the chances of them accepting your invite. Save the dates, personal invitations, aide memoires, SMS, follow up surveys and thank you mails all help to position your brand as one that values each individual guest - a quality that's a powerful facilitator of brand advocacy.

Don't ignore the clients that have declined. Engage with them by offering to send a copy of the presentations or arrange for a one on one to present the content or new offering. If they are important enough send them the gift they missed by not attending the event - this will go a long way to showing your loyalty towards the client - just because they declined doesn't necessarily mean they didn't want to attend.

Create social media hype

The beauty of social media lies in its ability to expose your brand to audiences you otherwise wouldn't have had any contact with. Creating hype around an event begins online - include details on your website and social media platforms, and stir-up anticipation in the weeks and days prior by engaging with your guests.

If news of your event keeps popping up in someone's social media feeds, they'll automatically want to be a part of something that their peers are talking about.

Smart communicating - Use SMS to notify guests

Ensure it's as easy as possible to communicate any information about your event. If you suddenly have to change the venue, or have to delay the key-note address, you'll be able to send your guests an SMS. Not only does this safeguard against any miscommunications, it also further emphasises the professionalism of your brand - resulting in increased event attendance of future events.

Play it safe - Send a 'Save the Date'

When you're planning a corporate event that involves substantial budgets and includes VIPs, it's imperative that the right people are in attendance. In essence, an event is a form of marketing, which means that your message (the function) needs to reach the right target market (your guests).

Don't let your client's and your considerable investment of time, energy and resources go to waste on guests who are merely space-fillers. Sending a 'save the date' prior to sending out your invites ensures that everyone has adequate notice of your event.

Your event attendance isn't determined by any one factor, which means that if you want a full guest list, careful consideration needs to be given to each element we've touched on. Using a dedicated RSVP Agency will guarantee that your invitations, registration process and communication with guests is conducted with the utmost professionalism. By outsourcing this process to those with the necessary know-how, there's no excuse for event attendance that is anything less than impressive.
    
 

About Terry Sutherland

Terry Sutherland is the founder of The RSVP Agency (http://www.rsvpagency.co.za) and has extensive experience in the development of RSVP solutions for clients across industries. Terry started her career in 1979 in the motor industry selling BMW's. In 1981 she joined Lindsay Saker where she won the top sales award for 5 consecutive years.
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