Your post-event feedback plays a crucial role in the success of your events. If you’re not yet embracing it with open arms, here are the top five reasons why you should be:

1. Post-event feedback acts as a direct channel of communication with your guests

Forget focus groups and surveys. Your post-event feedback is straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak). By conducting a post-event survey, you have a direct line to your guests. Brand to individual communication is far more effective than brand to audience – in fact, it should form the foundation of any communication you have with your guests.

2. Post-event feedback is the most effective way to pick your guests’ brains (figuratively speaking, of course)

Not only is this a much more personal way of talking to your customers, it’s also that much more accurate. Focus groups typically ask respondents about products or services they’ve yet to experience – which means that their feedback is very different compared to that of someone who’s actually had an experience with your brand. Post-event feedback – when gathered via a timely post-event survey (time is of the essence – this should be conducted just as an event if finishing or shortly after) is a much more accurate reflection of your guests’ opinions.

3. Post-event feedback gathered via a post-event survey makes guests feel that their opinion is valued

Without guests, there wouldn’t be an event. It makes sense then to do your utmost to make yours feel like they’re a pivotal part of the experience. Post-event feedback – and the acknowledgment thereof – enables your brand to emphasise the fact that their guests are a central part of the process. When guests feel valued, and heard, they’re far more likely to invest not only their time – in the form of attending your events – but their money in your brand too.

4. Post-event feedback enables you to build in-depth profiles of guests

This is one of the most important functions of obtaining post-event feedback. You need to know who your guests are, how they experienced your event, and their thoughts and opinions of your brand. Their post-event feedback doesn’t just allow you to gauge the success of the event, it gives you a glimpse into your guests’ behaviour and points of view – all of which are crucial if you want to provide them with a tailor-made brand touch point.

5. Post-event feedback is a litmus test of your event’s performance

The most obvious benefit, yet one that’s underutilised, is that your post event feedback allows you to see where you’re succeeding and where you’re going wrong. In other words, it gives you a clear indication of whether your money has been well spent, and whether or not you’re approaching your events in the right way. If you’re not able to ascertain whether your events are meeting your marketing objectives, you’re no better off than banging your head against a brick wall, and then being surprised when it hurts. Post event feedback allows you to identify your shortcomings, and then determine the most effective way of rectifying them.

If you’re using our Guest Concierge Management Software – which includes online event registration software – you’ll be able to gather crucial feedback from the moment your Save the Dates are sent out. Download our ‘Marketer’s Guide to Turning your Events into Marketing Gold’ to learn more about the benefits of gathering post-event feedback, as well as how to make the most of this data.

An event is an opportunity to showcase your brand in the best light possible. We recently blogged about how experiential marketing – like an event – is a far more powerful way to get potential brand advocates to back your brand. Because a tactile experience creates a long-lasting, relatable impression, your guests are far more likely to become customers than if they were to read a brochure or watch a TV ad. It’s one thing to be aware of the potential that an event holds for your brand; whether you capitalise on that potential hinges on the strategic use of information you’ve gathered about your guests.

In order to glean insight about your target market, you’ll need to get them to attend your event in the first place.

But just why do people attend some events, and not others? The answer is simpler than you think. An event that resonates is one that provides people with relevant content. Does your event culminate in guests who are informed, rewarded and entertained? If so, you’re on the right track. If not, it’s time you went back to the drawing board and devised a way to pique the interest of the people you want to see buy into your brand.

In addition, the tools you’re using for your RSVP process can make or break your event attendance.

We’ve spoken in detail about the crucial role that online invitations play in getting people to your event (for a recap, read our blog about why your event attendance hinges on your online invitations here).

In short, an event that’s relevant and entertaining, coupled with online invitations that stand out from the myriad of other communication your guests no doubt receive, is your ticket to turning potential customers into brand loyalists.

Your event attendance rates are crucial, as the more people at your event, the more people there are to tweet, post and advocate your brand – online and off.

Don’t neglect the power of the digital age. Your guests will be sharing their experience of your event online – be it positive or negative. This means that your event needs to be one that impresses if you want to capitalise on the powerful force that is word of mouth marketing, amplified by social media.

Once you’ve gotten your potential brand advocates to attend an event, how do you keep them interested in the brand?

As well as getting your guests to form part of your brand awareness strategy, ensuring that your brand remains top of mind is dependent on your use of data gathered about your guests. How to do this? With a post event survey. Establishing the various touch points of an event that resonated, as well as those that were off the mark, provides you with invaluable consumer insight.

By asking relevant questions, and then storing this information for future use in any follow-up marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to create future content – either in the form of an event, an above the line campaign or an inbound marketing strategy – that your target market wants to consume.

The best way to collect, store and collate this data is via a sophisticated event management tool.

If you want to maximise on the data you gather about your guests and event attendance, you’ll need to do this in the right way. Making use of an online event management tool that collects all of this information on your behalf – from data from the RSVP process (dietary requirements, names of partners, car registrations, etc.), to registration information (the time a guest arrived, if they didn’t arrive at all, or brought a different partner), to the information you gather via a post event report is then paramount.

In short, the use of an intuitive, intelligent tool that enables you to turn every single piece of your event attendance data into consumer insight elevates your brand offering in the eyes of your target market – the most vital step in nurturing brand advocacy.

Image credit – Lisa Marie Wark

A large portion of guests aren’t au fait with the do’s and don’ts when it comes to events. Guests who chop and change their minds – either accepting your invitation, knowing full well that they won’t attend your event – or who decline and then change their mind at the last minute and arrive – wreak havoc on your event. Catering to an event attendance rate that’s suddenly different to the number you were working with isn’t just stressful, but costly too.

Guests who don’t arrive at an event negatively affect the entire event budget.

Failing to attend an event impacts on every single facet of an events budget. The costs of the venue, entertainment, décor and guest speakers are impacted by your event attendance rates too. Few guests realise that their non-attendance is costly, and feel entitled to change their mind at the very last minute.

The RSVP Agency deals with this by calling or SMSing guests a few days prior to the event. We’ll contact guests to confirm their dietary requirements, in the hope that guests will then realise that their presence has already been paid for. While this isn’t clear to all guests, it does assist in safeguarding against fewer no-shows.

Besides having people who accept and then don’t pitch up, many people decline, only to arrive.

What’s more, a surprising amount of people will bring an entourage or a plus one – even when the invitation explicitly stated that the invite was for one person only. This can be an incredibly embarrassing scenario for the client, which means that it’s best to always be prepared for any eventuality. Guests fail to realise that their unexpected arrival can have serious consequences with regards to health and safety.

If ten guests arrive, each with a partner, but your venue is already at capacity, the safety of everyone else is jeopardised.  In addition, this could result in your event insurance being deemed null and void. The RSVP Agency has dealt with similar scenarios countless times. We know that there will always be a last minute change in event attendance, and are prepared to handle these changes in a way that’s professional and discreet.

Valuable data can be gleaned from your projected event attendance and actual event attendance.

Years of RSVP management have taught us that there’s value in the information gathered about guest attendance both prior and post-event. It’s therefore crucial that you’re using a service like ours in order to gain invaluable insight into your guests. Some people might have a legitimate reason for accepting an invitation but then fail to attend, while others are merely being impolite.

We’ll call the people who didn’t show up at an event the next day in order to establish the reason for their absence. If they were genuinely unable to attend, we’ll know to send them a copy of the presentation, and notify our client that condolences or ‘get well soon’ wishes are due. If, on the other hand, they didn’t attend because they had a change of heart, it can be helpful to the guest to see that their non-attendance didn’t go unnoticed – which will hopefully propel them to refrain from repeating this behaviour.

There will always be guests who are discourteous – make sure you have a professional RSVP company to deal with them.

Unfortunately, there will always be a contingent of guests who upset the apple cart as far as event attendance is concerned. As we’ve said before, assume nothing about your event attendance in order to be able to cater to last minute event attendance rates.

Ensuring that your guests are aware of the impact of their non-attendance (or attendance) is a sensitive task, which is why corporate events need to be handled by a professional RSVP management agency.

Image Credit:The Centre 

The event industry has changed considerably in the last few years. Both technological advances as well as the expectations of clients have seen the role of an event manager morph into something akin to that of a producer. Orchestrating a piece of work that involves multiple touch points – each of which is equally important – takes an incredible amount of skill.

Events need to be riveting adventures, and the planners who successfully pull this off are masters at conducting a performance that delights their guests, and in turn, their clients.

Event attendance is directly linked to expectations that are set from the get-go.

It’s crucial that that your event evokes an emotional response – where each aspect meets, and then elevates the expectations of your guests – from beginning to end. Positioning an event as one that’s not to be missed is the single most important element in facilitating optimum event attendance. Getting this right is easier said than done, and relies on treating every single element of an event as equally significant.

Event publicity can either ensure your event attendance is optimal or leave you with empty seats.

Pre-event publicity, which includes your invitations and teaser info published on social media, lays the foundation of an event. If this isn’t done correctly, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Pay particular attention to the way in which you address your guests, the visuals you use and the information you include on the acceptance form. Each aspect needs to intrigue and excite – if it doesn’t, your event attendance is bound to be dismal.

Social media campaigns conducted in the lead-up to an event are incredibly effective in increasing event attendance rates.

Large-scale events – both corporate and commercial – are becoming increasingly reliant on social media as a means to create awareness and encourage hype. Running a pre-event campaign that uses social media integrated email and SMS is crucial in facilitating an air of anticipation. An added bonus of social campaigns run prior to an event is that they’re able to garner a substantially higher level of exposure for your event than if you were to rely on your invitations alone.

Once you’ve established an air of expectation, make sure your event lives up to it.

It’s one thing to get guests excited about an event but holding a function that caters to this is another story entirely. Ideally, guests should walk into an event that they’ve been looking forward to attending, and immediately feel pleased with their decision. All facets of an event need to continually delight – make sure you’re elevating their experience throughout. From the welcome drinks and décor, to entertainment and dessert – make sure that guests leave on a high note. If you’ve planned an exclusive piece of entertainment, then match the entertainment to other elements of the event such as food. Similarly, if you’ve used awe-inspiring décor, make sure that this isn’t the only stand out feature.

If you’re running an event with speakers, make sure that their presentations are entertaining.

You might have garnered maximum event attendance but if guests have to sit through a lecture that’s the opposite of scintillating, all of your efforts will have gone to waste. Regardless of topic, make sure that your speakers are able to entertain their audience. School them in presentation methods – using a big screen, an emphasis on visual content and a conversational, interactive tone should be pre-requisites.

As events continue to morph into experiences, being able to successfully produce awe-inspiring affairs will separate the men from the boys.

Image Credit: rfidhy

Every single event planner wants to ensure that their events are well attended. Whether you’re tasked with running an exclusive product launch or a high-profile awards evening, your event is nothing without its guests. If you want to avoid the embarrassment (not to mention the negative ramifications) of empty tables and unopened gift bags, read on for our tips (all 802 words of them)

‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’ – Do your research

Planning an event without equipping yourself with the necessary information is like attempting to cook a gourmet meal without reading the recipe, or shopping for ingredients. If you realise that you don’t have any eggs and substitute flour instead, your flan is bound to be a flop. Organising an event is no different – you need to make sure that you gather as much information as you can prior to planning in order to ensure your event’s success. Make use of event data and event reports. The RSVP Agency offers an enterprise package which allows corporate event planners access to the back end of our system. This will allow you to manage your guest lists and pull reports, ensuring you can update and pull your information at any time.

Streamline your registration process

Ensure you don’t put guests off once they’ve arrived by making them stand in long queues. Even better, give them the option of registering prior to the event. If this isn’t possible, ensure you’re using event management software that streamlines this process for you. Instead of having to manually search through multiple (and often conflicting) spreadsheets, you’ll have all of the information at your fingertips. If a guest declines at the last minute, or calls to ask if they can bring a partner, your software will reflect this in real-time. In addition, event software will enable you and your members of staff to conduct the registration process from tablets or smartphones.

Dear John – Personalise your invitations

We often stress this point, and for good reason. If you’re sending out generic invitations, your event attendance rate is bound to be dismal. By addressing your guests by their first name (correct spelling is crucial), and including some sort of personal detail, you’ll instantly up the chances of them accepting your invite. Save the dates, personal invitations, aide memoires, SMS, follow up surveys and thank you mails all help to position you brand as one that values each individual guest – a quality that’s a powerful facilitator of brand advocacy.

Don’t ignore the clients that have declined.  Engage with them by offering to send a copy of the presentations or arrange for a one on one to present the content or new offering.  If they are important enough send them the gift they missed by not attending the event – this will go a long way to showing your loyalty towards the client – just because they declined doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t want to attend.

Create social media hype

The beauty of social media lies in its ability to expose your brand to audiences you otherwise wouldn’t have had any contact with. Creating hype around an event begins online – include details on your website and social media platforms, and stir-up anticipation in the weeks and days prior by engaging with your guests. If news of your event keeps popping up in someone’s social media feeds, they’ll automatically want to be a part of something that their peers are talking about.

Smart communicating – Use SMS to notify guests

Ensure it’s as easy as possible to communicate any information about your event. If you suddenly have to change the venue, or have to delay the key-note address, you’ll be able to send your guests an SMS. Not only does this safeguard against any miscommunications, it also further emphasises the professionalism of your brand – resulting in increased event attendance of future events.

Play it safe – Send a ‘Save the Date’

When you’re planning a corporate event that involves substantial budgets and includes VIPs, it’s imperative that the right people are in attendance. In essence, an event is a form of marketing, which means that your message (the function) needs to reach the right target market (your guests). Don’t let your client’s and your considerable investment of time, energy and resources go to waste on guests who are merely space-fillers. Sending a ‘save the date’ prior to sending out your invites ensures that everyone has adequate notice of your event. The RSVP Agency can send a ‘Save the Date’ with the option to Decline.  You can then replace the invited guest with someone else or invite someone from the same company.

Your event attendance isn’t determined by any one factor, which means that if you want a full guest list, careful consideration needs to be given to each element we’ve touched on. Using a dedicated RSVP Agency will guarantee that your invitations, registration process and communication with guests is conducted with the utmost professionalism. By outsourcing this process to those with the necessary know-how, there’s no excuse for event attendance that is anything less than impressive.

Image Credit: Telegraph

The frenetic nature of modern day life means that it’s harder to capture someone’s attention than ever before. Remember that industry events are more often than not targeted at the same group of people, which means that some of your potential guests may be receiving as many as three invitations per day. Ensuring that your event is well attended by the people who matter is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Sending out your invitations is the first step of several – and if you’re relying on your initial effort to result in RSVPs, there’s a considerable chance that you’ll be left with lacklustre attendance rates. If you want to ensure that your invites stand out, read on for some commonly made mistakes that frequently result in dismal turnouts.

Not following up with guests is a cardinal sin where RSVPs are concerned.

Event etiquette dictates that invitations should be sent out 6 weeks (at the minimum) prior to an event. The way you navigate this considerable time-frame is crucial. On the one hand, you can’t mail your guests every second day, nor can you rely on merely sending out your invitations once. Event managers should ideally follow up with their guests in the form of a phone call, and then depending on response rates, initiate additional contact as the day of the event draws near.

That said, the attendance rates of your events will be hampered if you’re only using one method with which to follow up.

Communication preferences among your guests will differ, which means that in some cases, you may need to conduct your follow ups via a variety of methods. Some people may respond best to emails, while others prefer a phone call. Hectic corporate schedules often mean that it’ll take a while to make contact with someone – which means you’ll need to attempt to contact them several times before you’re able to obtain a response.

It’s imperative that you’ve taken SPAM detectors into account when sending out your invites.

Invitees are more likely to open an invitation if they know the person sending it.  There is sensitivity around bulk email and most servers will automatically block anything over 20 emails that are sent through to one company at one time. This is why it is imperative to use professional invitation management software which will allow you to know exactly which of your emails have bounced and why, and who of your guests have not responded.

Moreover, make sure that any images you have included are not unreasonably large – the majority of your information should be conveyed in the copy, with images merely enhancing the aesthetic. When it comes to online invitations, simple layout is far superior to a flashy, image-laden invite.

Don’t let your event attendance rate hinge solely on one guest list.

If you don’t have a “B” list in place, you’ll be left with a conundrum when someone from your “A” list declines. It’s imperative that you compile your “B” list from the beginning, as you’ll need to give guests adequate notice beforehand in order to maximise your attendance rates. This practice safe-guards against poor event attendance.

Attempting to manually manage your guest list results in wasted time and delayed response rates.

This is way too much of a time consuming task – your effort needs to be focused on the event and not on the RSVP process. If you’re trying to manually handle this process, your response time will be significantly longer. An online solution will speed this up, as well as ensuring that no oversights are made.

Make sure you’re not making it too difficult for your guests to accept or decline your invitations.

Your invitations should make it crystal clear as to how guests can go about replying. The easiest way to do this? With “yes” and “no” buttons. Never make someone reply manually in order to decline attending – rather receive a straight out “no” from the get-go, than spend time chasing after someone only to have them decline.

An event manager should be focused on the event, and not the RSVP service.

Your attention needs to be focused on aspects such as the catering, entertainment and décor. Avoid conflicting deadlines between event managers and RSVP managers. If you’ve set a deadline for RSVPs, it’s imperative you follow up as soon as possible. Attempting to manage last-minute cancellations, or late responses without an online RSVP solution is a guaranteed way to ensure that your event is poorly managed.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your RSVP rates, avoiding these mistakes will guarantee that you’re never faced with a poorly attended event again.

Image Credit: East Texas Area Aglow