The venue is booked and the invitations have been sent. You have a list of confirmed attendees but on the big day you find there are a number of empty seats and unclaimed delegate badges.
It is every organisers worst nightmare to turn up to chosen event venues and find an empty room, but event organisers need to fear not, as Conference and Incentive Travel magazine have given a range of approaches used by some industry experts to tackle no-shows.
Lesley Mason, director of client services for marketing agency George P Johnson told them that their agency caters for a certain number of dropouts, that way the budget remains unaffected.
“For some clients the dropout rate can be as high as 40 per cent. But if you have a focused event with content specific to a targeted audience, non attendance tends to be lower,” she said. Mason advises holding a conference mid-week as in her experience it has proved more successful than an event scheduled for a Monday or Friday.
An industry survey carried out by one event agency which questioned 180 event managers found that more than 50 per cent consider no-shows to be a problem. One way this can be overcome is using the draw of social responsibility. One event company teamed up with UNICEF in an effort to tackle the challenge. It used a system where delegated pledge once they confirm attendance to an event, but if they don’t attend they must make a donation.
Teresa Crockett, account manager for the Live Group said the best solution to the problem is to make terms and conditions explicit. Charging guests that don’t show up to cover costs such as catering “encourages people to be more considerate,” she said.
Graham O’Connell the National School of Government’s head of organisational learning and standards added that the most basic way of ensuring attendance is to attract willing delegates in the first place.