What was the last event you ran?

Tell us about your last event! What was it, how many people attended, how did it go?

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My last event was a public lecture by one of our cosmologist, Professor Kazuya Koyama. Cosmology is very popular here in Portsmouth. We had a really good turnout of 180 out of 200 seats available. So I was very pleased. Dropout rate is normally quite high these days and it would be interesting to know what others have experienced and perhaps done to encourage attendance.

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Hi @maricarjagger sounds like a really interesting event and a great turn out. Was it free to attend?

You’re right, calculating and reducing dropout rates at free events are such a prevalent issue for event organisers. There’s a discussion going on here that may help - please do feel free to post/ask on the thread:

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My last event was a pamper party to introduce certain products to ladies and a make-up demo. Six of eight people attended and unfortunately only half of that number ordered products from us. It was a free event but the next will not be.

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My last event was for a not for profit in NYC. The organization teaches high school youth how to write a business plan and the entrepreneurial spirit. Annually they invite 30-40 best of the US “businesses” to compete in a day of presentations. By 3 PM they figure out the top three who then present in front of a full audience for a chance to win $25,000 for their business or collage expenses. The audience is about 250 made up of the students, chaperones and judges. It’s nice to have a feel good event in-between our normal corporate and association gatherings. The students always have a great time. It’s a full year of work for the students who are invited to the national competition. We start off the show with an onsite edit of them doing the presentations from earlier that day. Ending a show on someone winning $25,000 is always good ending too.

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My last event was The North East Venue and Event expo in Newcastle. This was the first ever expo I planned.

Sold out all exhibition stands and had just under 400 attendees. Really good day and have another one planned in September.

Learnt a hell of a lot and plenty of changes to be made for event 2, but Rome wasn’t built in a day!

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Our last event was Agri-Expo2017 - www.agri-expo.co.uk, an annual Expo designed specifically for land-based industry across the South East of England. Attended by local, national and international companies from tractor and machinery manufacturers to land-agents, banks, legal teams and government farming bodies. This is the 7th annual show and is growing all the time. 2017 saw the largest attendance of farmers, landowners and rural businesses to date

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Most recent events were launch of the ford mustang in regional Qld, grand opening of a new car dealership showroom and a road show tour from Brisbane to Cairns… All were quite successful in terms of brand engagement and bringing in new customers and the opportunity to nurture past customers

@Chris_Mc Looks great, what’s the venue? What was the biggest thing you learnt?

Did you have content running along side the main expo, e.g. talks/panel discussions?

I run Brummies Networking, a free networking group that meets monthly in Birmingham West Midlands. We’ve also started branching out into doing other external events, not in our usual venue, as a way to attract new audiences via the Eventbrite directory (which has proved successful) in various venues around Birmingham.

The last one we did was an evening’s cocktail networking event at Be At One cocktail bar that proved very popular with our attendees! Around 70+ came along in the end.
The only slight disappointment was that we had around 130 booked in, so our now show rate for that one was pretty high.
Other events we’ve done similar we’ve had far less of a no show rate so not sure why that happened. The event did take place only a few days after the latest London terror attack, so people’s thoughts around safety and not wanting to take the risk may have played a part, not sure. I’d certainly like to combat the issue of no show %'s ongoing to try and make sure at least 80% of booked people turn up. Always welcome any thoughts!

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Hi Richard, sounds like a good event and great turnout despite no shows.

Might be worth taking a look/posting your thoughts in this thread where there’s some interesting suggestions for reducing no show rates specifically at free events:


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Ah many thanks @nick_lawson - will take a look.

Yes in the end it worked well, and the venue host was certainly happy. It was just more a case of slight embarrassment as we were updating her with number of tix sold etc and anticipated numbers, meaning they hired in extra bar staff to cover this; only to find that nearly half didn’t show!
So yes I’ll bookmark that thread for advice, many thanks.

Yeah it can certainly be an awkward one with venues. Was the a change in type of people signing up? E.g. was there a new crowd buying tickets, a large proportion of whom didn’t turn up on the day?

A lot of the no shows were people known to us from our regular monthly meetings, so that’s what threw us through a loop. People that we really did expect to come! We had a few drop out earlier in the day and the day before who let us know due to various commitments that couldn’t be helped, which is fine - life happens. But there were still quite a few who didn’t bother to tell us who are normally fairly reliable.

We always tend to get a few people unknown to us having found our event through the EB directory, and there were certainly some of those people as well who didn’t turn up. This particular event was certainly more of a social event WITH networking as opposed to the other way around, but even so, we were all quite shocked as to the % of no shows.

The last event I organised was a free street party as part of the Great Get Together - a community event in honour of Jo Cox. I work in a volunteer centre and as a charity we are always trying to encourage more people to get into volunteering, so this event was great for promotion purposes. We often find the general public do not want to talk to us if we have a stand in town, but at this event we got a lot of people chatting to us and other charities. It was a good day, we didn’t advertise enough but we were in a high footfall area so got a fairly good attendance anyway.

I was able to get a variety of local charities involved to run activity stalls and restaurants in the street gave away free food. This kept everything free and ensured everyone could join in with the fun.

The last event I worked on was the Buddhism & Ancestral Remembrance Ceremony event at ExCeL London. We attracted around 1000 people over the three days. It was the first time the organisers had promoted it through mainstream media and digital activity worked well for ticket pre-registrations but the good weather affected numbers on the day. Unfortunately, we struggled to get much PR coverage. I think this was because of the nature of the event, the lack of personalities involved plus it starting the day after the general election and not long after the London Bridge terrorist attack both of which dominated national and local news at the time. A good turn out though and many learnings from working on my first religious event.

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Sounds a lovely event, but keep an eye on your budget too. Perhaps add a glass of champagne and a couple of free products, but cost them into your ticket price. Good luck!

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We now budget for drop-outs. I overbook events by 10-20% or however much I feel the no-show might amount to. The ‘Waiting List’ function on Eventbrite is really useful also to gauge the level of interest in the event.

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Last event I ran was an event for community professionals in San Francisco. We had 300 people attend.

The day itself was fun but the preparation was a nightmare.

I learned the hard way how hard it is to organize events in a different continent. I wouldn’t generally recommend it :slight_smile:


Would you do it again?