How to Get More People to Attend Your Event
Are you worried about how many people will attend your event? Whether you’re planning a virtual kids party, a fundraising event, an office holiday party, or a 4th of July BBQ for the neighborhood, getting guests to show up can be one of the most stressful aspects of party planning. At the end of the day, the guests make the party, so increasing attendance to your event is arguably your most important task as party host. There are many strategies that can help. The date of the event, the venue, and even the food & drink you serve can impact your RSVPs. Below are some tried and true tips to get party guests to show up.
Plan all the Details
Your best strategy when it comes to increasing party attendance is to plan every detail of your event (all the things that will make your guests feel entertained and cared for) and then call them out on your invitation. Guests want to show up and enjoy themselves without having to worry about anything but having a good time, and communicating how you’ll do this is one of the best ways to boost party attendance. Here is a list of things to consider:
- Food and Drink: Make sure you serve a variety of food options to cater to different tastes and dietary restrictions. Not everyone loves sushi. Not everyone loves pizza (shocking!). If your event will have a more casual vibe, hosting a potluck is a great option. Also consider guests who may have allergies or want to attend a party without compromising their health goals. For drinks, think about non-alcoholic options and kid-friendly options if little ones will be in attendance.
- Venue: The venue you choose for your event should be located where guests can easily travel there and back in a reasonable amount of time. If you’re hosting at home or an event venue, consider individual accessibility if you have any elderly guests or guests with disabilities. There are additional considerations for hosting an accessible kids party.
- Activities: Plan activities for your guests! This helps give the party or event some momentum. Mention the activities on your invitation to give guests an idea of what to expect and something to look forward to. Consider having one activity that each guest does on their own (perfect for the early arrivers) and one activity that encourages people to mingle. For example, hand a BINGO card to every guest as they arrive to be filled out during the party, and be sure to offer interesting prizes.
- Entertainment: Some form of entertainment is something most guests expect at a party or event. Live music is a classic choice for both kid and adult parties. Other options include hiring a balloon artist, watching a movie or televised event as a group, or hosting a cookoff.
Once you have the details of the celebration itself firmed up, turn your attention to the other factors that can significantly increase event attendance.
Set a Date
It is important to choose the right date for your event. Some parties are easier than others in this department. An Oscar Watch-Party will be tied to one specific date, but the date of a birthday party is flexible. Holiday parties are the hardest to plan for since there are often family conflicts around major occasions. Confirm your most important guests are available on the date you have in mind before you send your invitations, and then stick to it. If you change the date on your guests, this can cause confusion and have a negative impact on how many guests attend.
Send Invitations Online
When it’s time to invite your guests, you need to decide whether to send paper invitations via snail mail or to choose digital. If increasing attendance is your primary concern, online invitations offer many benefits. Online party invitations are delivered instantly, and guests can RSVP in just a few clicks. It’s easy to see who has opened your invitation, resend it, or follow-up with guests who have not yet responded. You also can check your RSVPs on-the-go, in the middle of the grocery aisle if necessary, as you’re stocking up for the event. You can use virtual invitations for any type of party or event and find the perfect design for everything from birthday invitations to wedding invitations. When you create your invites, include all the following information:
- Date & Time
- Party Details (hype up the food, activities & anything else you planned!)
- What you expect guests to bring or wear
- Parking details
- A way to contact you in case they have questions
- A request for guests to contact you about any special needs
- Any other information you think they should have
List the Benefits
Whether the party is a work event or a casual get-together, there are always benefits and reasons to attend. It is important to list these benefits to potential party goers to get them excited about the event. There are ways to plan an interesting event even if you’re planning a party on a budget. For example, you can say something like “Themed cocktails & appetizers will be served” or “We’ll have a professional photographer if you wish to take a nice picture with your date” or “Please bring 2 dozen cookies to swap” or “Wear loose-fitting pants if you plan to participate in the pie-eating contest!”
Create a Theme
Themed parties can help break the ice at a social event. It gives everyone an easy thing to talk about when they arrive, especially for people who are going to meet for the first time. They will have something in common to help start a conversation. For example, any type of costume party gives guests the chance to compliment each other. A theme can also help direct your choices for food and drinks and themed party supplies. If you are going to have a theme a great way to get the point across is to send themed invitations. Themed invites set the tone for the event and are the first impression they’ll have. If it is a costume party, be sure to communicate that clearly on the invitation.
Choose a Cause
People are more likely to attend an event if it is tied to a cause. While this might not work for all social gatherings, it’s especially relevant for professional events. If you’re considering this direction for your event, think about a cause it would make sense to associate with your celebration. It can be something near and dear to your heart like a personal charity or something more broad for a bigger organization. Reach out to the organization ahead of time to let them know about your event. They may be able to help with planning or specific requirements if you want to collect donations. The holidays can be a great time to plan a charity event. People are often in a charitable mood around the holidays and it’s incredibly easy to ask guests to bring food pantry donations at any event whether it’s a birthday, Friendsgiving, or office celebration.
Highlight Networking Opportunities
We all know just how important it is to network at parties. Guests at professional and purely social events can all use the opportunity to meet new people and make connections. As the host of any event, plan your party space timeline to encourage people to mingle and get to know each other. An opening cocktail hour is one way to accomplish this. Remember to mention on your invitation if networking opportunities will be part of your event. This can be a real draw for guests, especially for business events and conferences.
Getting guests to show up to an event is one of the more important aspects of party planning. (No one wants their party to be considered a dud.) We hope these tips and tricks are useful for next event or party!
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