I am currently getting to grips with the whole event planning/organising side of things. I would love to hear your tips/advice on how I can make an event successful. What works for you?
Have clear goals and desired outcomes from the event. Then it’s easier to put in place the framework for achieving them, and to measure your success afterwards
If you’re running it as a free event, regardless of how many people book in, expect the turnout to be substantially less! (So it’s almost worth over-subscribing!)
We recently ran an evening event in a cocktail bar that by all accounts was proving very popular with 130 bookings, but only around 75 turned up!
(We’re still trying to work out why and ensure that kind of dropout doesn’t happen again in the future, so I don’t have the answers - however it’s something to be aware of!)
This is why it’s often better to charge a small fee. Even £5 entry will weed out the people likely to not show up on the day. You can keep it essentially free by giving them a drink voucher included in the price.
Absolutely. For some of our extracurricular events we’re starting to think this would be a better way forward, certainly. (And we’re starting to work out logistics for probably starting that from the next event we do)
Thank you Belinda. I am going to try and use that going forwards
Yes Richard. I have learnt about this as well. Good tip.
Last year, we organised a Christmas event. Invited 200, only around 60 turned up. But the invites only went in October so i think that is where we majorly got it wrong.
75 is still a very good turnout. May i ask what event it was you were running?
Yeah they’re certainly not bad numbers, it was just disappointing that level of dropout, as we’ve not had that before at any of our previous booked events.
It was a business networking event at a cocktail bar in Birmingham - free tickets, and everyone just bought their own drinks etc.
(We do free monthly meetings in a casino during the day, but we’re starting to branch out and do additional different events at different times of day, with and without food offerings etc to see what proves popular)
So yes for our next one we’re thinking about taking a small cover charge with some kind of ‘free’ offering to give the sense of added value etc, to try and eliminate so much dropout, as people will be invested in attending.
My biggest tip is that there is no such thing as too much communication. I try to make sure that all are in the loop with plans and progress as early as possible and regularly updated - event if they don’t have outstanding action points its important that they stay up to date with how the event is developing.
I also communicate with delegates regularly by sending at least four ‘personalised’ emails per event. I’ve found that by building fields into the email that make it look like i’m writing to them personally - my drop out rates have reduced significantly. Sometimes I have to use mail merge to achieve this.
Ah sounds like a good event to me
One of our core values is to add value not numbers, so I need to think of new innovative ways to get people to come along to our events.
Funny enough, we are able to host a new thing called ‘The Franchisor Academy’, where franchisors come along and get to learn off each others experiences. This is a brand new offering we are giving to growing franchisors and ones that are just starting out. Any ideas on how we can make this event a success would be really great b
Hey Richard, i feel that because its free people think ‘what the heck, let’s just register and see if we can make it’. You have already mentioned this elsewhere that they need to be invested in this in some way to ensure they actually attend.
I feel, what makes more of an difference to people is:
‘What will I lose by not attending an event?’ rather than ‘What will i gain by attending an event?’
If you charge people money there is a good chance they may opt out of it. Since, in your case making money isn’t really the motive of charging a fee it possibly could be better to incentivizing people to attend the event - for example you may tie up with a allied product/service provider who will give out free samples/ trial subscriptions etc to those who attend. this may make people ensure they attend so that they don’t lose out on a good offer.
just thinking aloud.
Good ideas, many thanks Roger. Yes I’m sure we can work on something like that to give added value wherever we can. I’ll get the old thinking cap on!
And to add to the point, I would say spend as much time on marketing/promoting the event as you do planning it. I said it elsewhere, but the idea that “If we create it, people will come” does not hold true unfortunately!