As someone who’s spent a lot of his life onstage, I speak from personal experience when I say that one of the worst things for any performer is to have to play to an empty hall. Needless, really, to say, that’s far worse for an event planner to experience in a way as the repercussions extend to and include professional pride and financial culpability. And on that happy note, let’s think about ways to avoid this doomsday scenario and how you can be confident that your guests will be there for the stellar event you have prepared.
There are essentially two ways to go about this. Firstly, there is what I shall call the creative side of things and the other I shall call the operations aspect. To have a well-attended event, both sides need to be well thought out and executed.
You probably have a string of connections you can easily call upon to draw attention to your event and you probably could get a whole bunch of associates or past clients to at least express interest in attending your event. Whether or not, however, they actually turn up on the day itself is a separate issue. It is therefore your job to convince them to do so.
Make Things Different
The first thing you can do is to make sure that this event is different – from those that have been organized before, from what is common in other events of a similar ilk and from what your audience is likely to expect. Plan an interesting program with new and creative activities and publicize this fact as much as possible. Make it something that people anticipate and that will more likely convince them to attend over some event they think they have seen many times before.
Making things interesting can also extend to inviting new speakers or performers that your audience will eagerly look forward to. Maybe blow some of your budget into engaging a ‘rockstar’ speaker or performer that will be more than worth the price of admission and reap the rewards of a well-attended event.
Shift The Venues
Consider also the possibility of holding your event at an offbeat or off-mainstream venue. This will add to its attractiveness for your invitees and could even give it a luster of exclusivity and increase its charm. That will further entice your guests to actually show up.
Now that you have got your wonderful show planned with an impressively complementary publicity campaign on show, there are still a few things you can do to make sure your guests turn up.
It probably goes without saying that you should be sending your guests constant reminders that the event is just round the corner. As a normal human being, you’ll probably understand that these “reminders” can very easily slip into the domain of “annoyance” and evolve into something extremely counterproductive. Now that you know that, it is imperative that you avoid that pitfall. Make sure your publicity/reminder campaigns tell a story that progresses and makes your guests more and more excited about your event. In short, don’t degrade those materials into mere flyers but weave them into your show concept itself. This will help keep your guests interested and maybe even attract new audiences.
Here’s the tricky thing about tickets. As much as anybody I believe that as many events as possible should be free for the consumption of the average person. On the other hand, having paid for your ticket gives people an added incentive for coming, either because they feel a sense of ownership or obligation to the show or because they feel penalized if they don’t turn up. Where possible, then, try to find a balance between these two ideas and have your audiences or guests feel like they have a stake in your event and they will show. Also consider giving your guests physical tickets; this will add to the effects described above. Having something tactile also means that your audience will find it more difficult to ignore or shake off. For all the ease that digital platforms can give you, they also make it easy for your guests to pretend it doesn’t exist.
Finally, take the simple option of promising gifts at the door of your event. This is a simple yet effective means of attracting people to a show. Goodie bags or door gifts that are painted to be highly sought after can be real honey to bees/humans.
No one wants a no show, least of all you, the highly effective event planner. With these simple ideas, you can go a long way into preventing such an outcome and ensure that your guests do turn up for your carefully and beautifully crafted event.