12 tips for minimising no-show

Registrations were flooding in, and yet, there are plenty of empty seats in the room. No-show cannot be prevented; however, there are ways to minimise it. Doing so will not only save you money, but also cause less waste of materials, food, and potential sponsorship reach. These 12 tips will help you reduce no-show at your event. The target audience and type of event are the deciding factors in which solution will work best for you!

1. Be personal! The more you take a personal approach in your communication with guests, the more they will try to show up or at least let you know if they’re not able to make it after all. After all, it is harder to let a person down that an impersonal entity like a company.

2. Send frequent reminders for your event, s that people won’t forget about it.

3. Get your target audience excited for the event, both to increase the number of participants and to ensure that those who have already signed up won’t want to miss a single thing.

4. Make sure there’s a cliffhanger. Announce that a surprise is going to be revealed at the event, or that a famous speaker will be attending. Everyone will want to be there!

5. Tell your invitees about theeffects of ‘no-show’; food waste is a hot topic and touches the heartstrings of lots of people. Read our interview with No Waste champion Thijs.

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6. Make it easier for people to cancel. The odds of people not cancelling are much larger when cancelling requires a lot of effort.

7. Impose a small initial fee. For free events, the proportion of guests that do not show is between 10 and 30%; for paid events, that percentage drops to between 5 and 10%, considerably lower. On the one hand, people will more carefully consider whether they actually want to and are able to attend, and on the other hand, they will make more of an effort to cancel (on time) if needed. You can impose a surcharge for guests that do not show up or refund the initial fee when people do show up, or give your guests a gift that is at the very least equal in value to the initial fee.

8. Mind your social responsibility. For example, the Meetup.com website uses a waiting list system; when people cancel, others are then able to take their place.

9. Use Social Media to bring your participants in contact with one another and make people want to meet up live, in person. On top of that, it creates visibility for your guests, which will make them more likely to show up.

10. Send a text message as a confirmation and reminder. An old-fashioned text message will draw people’s attention more than an email. .

11. Ask your venue to come up with a Plan B with you. For example, consider the option of scaling down to a smaller room or buying less food and drink in advance. Last-minute up-scaling is usually possible, whereas last-minute order cancellation usually isn’t.

12. Keep a close eye on no-show rates and learn from them. Along the way, you will learn more about the no-show rate of your target audience and which methods of minimising no-show work best.

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