By Trace Kingham
Yesterday, I was talking to group of planners at the University of South Florida, and we touched on the topic of inconsistent attendance from year to year. Many of us have been there—one year you have 500 guests and the next you have 300 RSVPs. How do you retain and gain guests? We have a simple, 5-minute mental process for you that will boost your guest experience and have them returning – with their friends and colleagues!
The Inconsistent RSVP Challenge
One of the guests brought up a challenge that she has been facing when planning her events. Particularly, she doesn’t have consistency in attendance from year to hear. One year it’s 700, and the next year it’s 150. So when she’s planning for 700 and she only has 150 RSVPs, it’s a challenge to reduce her expenditures to adjust for that drastic change in attendance. So then we talked about identifying what is at the core of your guests? Keep in mind that human factor –that purpose. It’s important to remember that your guests are taking time out of their busy schedules—away from their time, their family, and their hobbies— to attend your event. So what excites them to attend your event? To answer, think about what your guests like and what they dislike. What motivates them? What problems are they facing in their lives? If you can solve just a little bit of that and also bring a fantastic time through your event, guests will flock.
First Thing’s First – Why should they come?
When you plan an event, you need to have an overall purpose for your event. Figure out what action you want your guest to DO. What is it that you want them to leave with? When you understand your purpose and you have identified your audience, you need to think about what will resonate within them.
Don’t think about your guests as just a number.
- “I’ve got 150 plates and 150 meals to order. We’ll need 150 chairs…” As planners we can get caught up in the checkbox and we forget in the human factor. It’s easy to forget that these individuals are taking time to attend your event, so it needs to be worth their while. It needs to give a purpose to them, challenge them and excite them.
- Along your planning process – from invitation, concepts, decor, food—take a moment and think about the human side of your guest. Think about them as individuals; put yourself in their place, and it will automatically come. You’ll automatically start planning things differently, because you’re thinking about the personal side of your guest.
The 5-Minute Experience Booster
I’ve done it! It’s easy to get caught up in details and forget about the people part. But when you can keep the personal connection perspective, your guests will not only come, but they’ll leave craving more of you. Don’t forget about the people: their wants, their feelings, their needs. Get and stay in tune with their perspective and see how your event planning process transforms.
- Ask yourself
- Who your guests are as induvial?
- What do they need?
- How you can solve a challenge for them through your event?
When you spend 5 minutes at the beginning of your event planning process to take on the perspective of your guests, you’ll automatically start planning an experience that guests will love, and want to come back for more next year!
You get one change to make a lasting impression.