Hosting a corporate event is a huge responsibility. Not only does it take a lot of time to plan, but it can be very costly. With that being said, it’s important that you get as many people in as many seats as possible. Do you have a plan for increasing attendance?
The Secret to Increasing Attendance
Whether it’s a seminar, fundraiser, or meeting, most people would generally agree that higher attendance is better. The more people you have in attendance, the more influence you’re able to have. But sometimes getting people in the door is the hardest part.
Increasing attendance at corporate events is something business owners and event planners spend countless hours focusing on, but it’s not rocket science. With just a few simple techniques, you can improve your numbers and turn your attention to the dozens of other responsibilities calling your name.
1. Involve Select Attendees in Planning Process
There’s often a disconnect between event planners and event attendees. Since the goal of an event is almost always to engage attendees, you need to bridge this gap as best you can. One option is to actually involve a few attendees in the planning process.
By involving select attendees in the planning of the event, you can make sure their voice is heard. You’ll likely discover things you didn’t know and find it easier to plan an event that centers on the elements people want. As a result, attendance will be more robust.
2. Make the Event Exciting
Since most corporate events take place after work hours or on the weekend, you have to keep in mind that you’re competing with people’s free time. Nobody wants to attend a cold, corporate meeting after they’ve just spent an entire week in the office. You need to do something to get people excited.
Live entertainment is an excellent way to lighten the mood and attract fringe attendees who are on the fence about whether or not to attend. (Many wedding bands, like The Grooves, will play corporate events, too.) Food is always a good choice, as is an open bar/cash bar.
3. Reward People for Coming
Why should I come? You need to pretend that every attendee is asking this question. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they are. Do you have an answer for them?
Again, unless they’re mandated to attend for work-related purposes, you’re infringing on every attendee’s time. If you want to increase attendance, you need to reward people for coming. Free food and drink is a good start, but consider things like door prizes and giveaways to really ramp up the anticipation.
4. Choose a Convenient Location
Convenience plays an important role in attendance. Hosting an event out in the suburbs during the middle of rush hour traffic when the majority of people work downtown probably isn’t a good choice. You have to be considerate.
If you’re able to host the event in a place that’s convenient, you remove the biggest negative factor in the attendance equation. You won’t be able to please everyone, but you’ll enjoy higher numbers if you appease the majority.
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
While the focus of this article is on improving attendance, don’t get blinded by the numbers. While it’s generally a good thing to have more people at your event, quality matters way more than quantity.
Take a fundraiser as an example. It’s far better to have 50 big-time donors who are committed to supporting your cause than 250 people who aren’t very interested in what you’re doing. As you learn how to balance quality and quantity, you’ll eventually become skilled at understanding what the “right” number is.
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