No-shows is a major concern for any event planner and something we are always looking to eliminate, or at least minimize. We do a number of things to limit the number of no-shows at our events, as attendance is relatively important to a networking event (as you can imagine!). Here are 4 key thing we do to limit no-shows.
1) Email Confirmation – Encourage your attendees to respond by making a call to action in your emails. If they don't respond, they are unlikely to attend and you can monitor this group more closely.
2) Text Confirmation – Often times, attendees at events are bombarded with emails and our message might slip by. However, most people are more attentive to text messages and collecting cell phones is a great way to engage attendees. Always be sure to specify why you are collecting cell phone numbers and reconfirm that numbers will ONLY be used for the purpose of confirming their participation at the event.
3) Marketing Message - It is imperative to have effective communication with participants and set the right expectations before they register for an event. Let people know that they should NOT sign up if they are 100% planning on attending. We create our message to inform attendees that their attendance will directly effect others at the event. This may or may not be true for your event but if you serve up your message with a small side of guilt for not showing up, people are likely to attend.
Inform your participants that solicitation is prohibited as well. This is primarily for peer-to-peer events but if attendees know that they are registering for an event that does NOT allow solicitations, they will feel more comfortable registering AND attending.
4) Eliminate Incomplete's – Over the past 10+ years of running speed networking events, we have realized that incomplete profiles are 87% more likely to no-show at an event. If participants aren't taking the time to completely fill out their registration (or respond to any of your confirmation emails), it's safe to assume they will not be attending. Create a simple way to eliminate these folks from your event to ensure they don't take up valuable registration space.