Most event companies understand the problem of event “no shows”. When attendees don’t show up, their absences can impact your vendors, sponsors and speakers in a domino effect.

There are several things you can do to reduce the number of no shows for your events. A few proven techniques include, RSVPs, real-time metric tools, a standby list and a 24-hour check-in.

RSVP Technique

Requiring an RSVP is vital to reducing the number of no shows. One thing to consider when evaluating no shows is the time lapse of when attendees sign up and when your event takes place. For example, if registration begins seven months before your event, you must understand that a lot of things can happen to attendees that ultimately interfere with their plans to participate in your event.

If you’re taking registrations months and months in advance, then you will want to set up a RSVP requirement closer to your event date to assess those who will no longer be attending. Even if you aren’t registering months ahead of your event, RSVP timed just right will encourage attendees to show up. The RSVP will give you additional time to fill event slots of those no longer attending.

Reduce Number of Event No Shows

One of the best ways to reduce and prevent event no shows, is to take advantage of various metric tools. These come in the form of registration data. You can offer a free app for your event that allows you to see who has downloaded the app and which sessions/workshops they placed on their event calendar and so on. These all give you indicators of commitment to attend.

Create a Standby List

Another positive way to encourage attendees to show up is to create a standby list. Once the available slots are filled, anyone still wishing to attend will automatically be placed on your standby list. Of course, it isn’t enough to simply have this list, you need to know how to use it.

You want to keep each person on the standby list updated, such as “So far there are no new slots available, but we’ll keep you updated.” Be sure to add the time-period for the updates, such as every two weeks or every week depending on how far away the event is.

Whenever any attendees drop out, you need to contact your standby list with a first come first serve mandate. Whoever responds first to your email gets the open place. Depending on the time left until your event, you may prefer to contact the first person on your standby list with a 24-hour response deadline. This procedure will take longer and require more time on your part. Decide how you wish to contact standbys and modify if needed.

Back-filling Cancellations

Back-filling attendee cancellations requires diligence and persistence in order to keep your event filled. Maintaining open communication with attendees and standbys will ensure your event is filled to capacity on day one.

Another effective technique to reduce event no shows is to activate an online 24-hour check-in policy. This can become a required process for attendees to make sure they’re still planning to participate in your event. By adding an online check-in only 24 hours before your event, you can get an accurate number of attendees and quickly begin back-filling any who can no longer attend.

Increase Ticket Sales to Your Event

Be savvy when it comes to ticket sales for your event. If you run through your standby list and still have tickets available, then utilize social media to generate excitement and new sales.

You can run a special ticket sale for last minute attendees. Play up the limited number of available tickets with a time limit for purchasing. By creating a sense of urgency, people will be more likely to take advantage of the opportunity.

If after a set period of time, you haven’t sold all of your tickets, consider sweetening the pot by offering a discount on the remaining tickets. Keep your options open up to the final hour of your event.

Let potential attendees know there are a limited number of tickets left with no guarantees how many will remain available the day of the event. If you still have tickets available on the day of the event, you can once more advertise them on social media and through local venues. Give potential attendees a way to secure their spots via mobile/online registration and be sure to offer a last minute buy at the door options, again with no guarantees.

Boost Event Attendance

These are just a few ways to boost attendance by reducing event no shows. Taking the right steps to fill event slots with as many attendees as possible will ensure customer satisfaction, boost your revenue, and make your exhibitor, sponsors and guest speakers happy.