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Say Bye to Ghost Guests: How to Reduce No-Shows at Meetings and Events?

Have you experienced the following? You prepare the whole day for your event, finally everything is perfectly set for the event. And you? You are ready to hold one hell of a meeting day! And whilst the guests start arriving, it slowly dawns on you that the no-show rate is pretty high – how disappointing. It’s time to figure out how to reduce no-shows at meetings and events for your business!

Many free event creators report their no-show rate to be as high as 50%, where as for paid events the no-show rate can be as low as 10%.

It is arguably “in fashion” to sign up for an event and if something else comes up, we fail to consider that our ‘Sign Up Here’ has actual consequences. We might not think about it, but food and drinks are calculated based on the participants. The meeting room is chosen accordingly, not to mention that staff busy with the organisation. The speakers or performers invited with the prospect of a full and vibrant room, and the list goes on. Get the picture? One can only imagine the frustration if half of the audience is missing.

However, there are a number of things you can do to make sure your event’s no-show rate is as low as possible. So, if you are reading this, let’s make things happen!

Take These Steps to Prevent No-Shows:

  1. People may have the intention to attend but are accidentally double-booked. What to do? Send a kind reminder regularly and intensify the frequency of reminders as the event date approaches.
  2. Choose an interesting event venue. If you organise something at the usual office conference room, well you’re not very innovative or interesting to start with. Have you thought of taking the event out to an event venue? Choose a cool room with the right style, outsource food and beverages and enjoy the vibe!
  3. How about taking the “airplane”-approach? As the date closes in, open an online check-in, for example, 24 hours prior to the event. It will give a clear indication of how many people will be attending, and you will still be in time to remind the ones who have not “checked-in”. Besides, you will have less queue on-site the next morning, as the majority will have registered online. And, like at the airports, participants can just pass by the counter to collect their badges.
  4. Make it appealing to register. As in so many instances, communication is the key: if it’s “just one of those company events”, attendance might not be what you have estimated. It is your responsibility as the organiser to make it appealing – at all times! Early birds might lose interest, hence you need to keep the excitement going. The truth is, if you can’t sell properly, nobody will buy.
  5. Set a date after which it will not be possible to register. Make it clear that the ‘late wakers’ can be added to – another airport classic – a stand-by list, but that doesn’t mean a place is guaranteed. Participants will be more willing to come, knowing they will be the first in line.
  6. Play it on the feelings: If nothing else helps, keep a positive mindset and believe in your event at all times.

How Can You Learn from No-Shows, the Ghost Guests?

Now, no matter how many times you call after each individual, the fact is there will always be a few no-shows. Life surprises us, some of us fall sick, or are stuck in traffic. When you experience no-shows at your events, you need to stop for a second and ask yourself a few questions in order to improve your events even further!

  1. Have you tracked how your events perform and brainstormed how to overcome the empty conference room seats? Time to start keeping simple track of how many of the signed attendees actually arrive!
  2. Do you know who your no-shows are? Most event organisers will reply: “Well… no”. It’s time to bring out the statistics – if you have any – and understand the demographics behind your no-show group. What do they all share? What could be the possible reason they can’t make it? Are the no-show groups similar between your events? Figure out the answers to these questions. The next step is to elaborate your marketing efforts and to reach out to this group better.
  3. Send an email to your event attendees to thank them for the great day and share any material or other information that might be relevant. For your no-shows, send them a separate email saying “I’m very sorry you couldn’t make it” – this is your opportunity to market your events! Make the no-shows feel special: you are paying attention to them missing out, let’s show it! Share some of the content they missed and invite them to the next event – insist it’s a shame they were not available.
  4. Are your events at the right time? Is there a difference between attendance and no-show rate for breakfast events vs. cocktail hour events? Engage your attendees in a quick survey to see what hours of the day they prefer and have a look at your past statistics to understand what hours of the day and days of the week have worked well for your business. No-show rate can be correlated to the time and day of the week!

Keep Your Meetings at the Most Optimal Time