One of the greatest fears of a corporate event planner is walking into an empty venue. When preparing for a major business event, there is pressure on the organizer to increase the number of people on the RSVP list to meet the minimum that classify it as a success. This is particularly true with events where the attendance is not required by the company. How do you make sure that people will come?
The first and most important thing that planners should realize is that people enjoy being at events that are well-executed. That does not instantly mean there should be entertainment (although that would be a plus). Attendees will wake up early to show up at an event where they will learn many things, be able to build solid network, and be exposed to inspiring personalities. More importantly, they will want to be where the environment is warm, friendly, and welcoming.
Here are some tips that may help boost the turnout at your next corporate event.
- The agenda matters
Create a series of pocket sessions that people will want to attend. This is why your agenda is important and why you should publish it before the day itself. Not only will this make scheduling a lot easier for interested individuals, it also helps build the excitement if they know what they’re expecting.
Take note that the elements of your agenda should coincide with the overall theme while still offering a bit of variety and fun to make people want to stay until the closing remarks. Don’t forget to insert breaks in between, and to note that snacks and coffee will be served in unlimited portions (if they are).
- The date and time matters
Be sensitive to the clock and people’s calendars. Even if you have a stellar agenda, you will have a low turnout simply because people cannot attend. So when you determine the schedule, take into consideration the kind of people who will be interested in attending. For example, seminars are better attended in the mornings and appreciation dinner are more, well, appreciated after office hours.
- The venue matters
Majority of business events are held in hotels or convention centers, and while there nothing wrong with this choice, you can also break the mold by opting for non-hotel venues that people will find interesting. Wherever you hold it, the most important element is to make sure it is accessible to many and it’s someplace that they will look forward to spending the day in. After all, they are taking a chunk off their usual routine to give it to you, so make it count.
- The invitation matters
Don’t forget to send the invitations out (printed, emailed, or via social media pages) and make sure to do follow up calls or texts to verify that they have received it. You can also start talking about the event to attendees who know you on a personal level before the actual invitations are handed out. Save-the-dates are also helpful not just in creating buzz but also in locking your event on their calendars before any other gathering does. Your invitation should be pretty specific, like contain the agenda or names of confirmed guest speakers, to sweeten the approach.
Another nice thing that attendees like is getting personally invited to the event. Call them up, visit them at their office, or just connect however which way to show them that you sincerely want them there. Physical invitations are nice but nothing beats showing up yourself to extend the invite.
A major element to your corporate event’s high attendance numbers is your company’s reputation in terms of mounting fruitful and fun gatherings. If people enjoyed attending your previous event, they will most likely and willingly show up for your next ones.