Why your guest list management can make or break your event

What makes an event a success? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a Cordon Bleu chef or of-the-moment keynote speaker. The answer is quite simply, your guests. (Specifically, the proficiency of your guest list management.) This may sound obvious, yet too often clients lose sight of the wood for the trees. You can throw the fanciest event, yet if no one arrives, all of your efforts will be for nought. Regardless of your event objective – whether it be to woo potential clients or generate buzz about a new product – your guests need to arrive in the first place before you can wow them with nouveau cuisine or a tete-a-tete with a popular marketing maverick.

Corporate events don’t come cheap, so why spend a substantial budget on bells and whistles like bespoke menus, an eye-watering bar tab, and a sophisticated venue if the only people who arrive are your vendors?

In other words, if your guest list management is the last thing on your list of priorities, it’s guaranteed that attendance will be dire.

Instead of shelling out thousands upon thousands of Rands on laser shows and decked-out VIP booths, you need to focus on the very people your event is being held for – your guests.

Contrary to popular belief, the RSVP process that a well-attended corporate event requires is a far cry from merely copying and pasting a database of guest information, slapping it on to some invitations made in Microsoft Paint and sending them into cyberspace. In fact, that’s the very opposite of proper RSVP processes and will achieve one thing and one thing only, dismal attendance (and quite possibly, the blacklisting of your company due to spamming hundreds of people who haven’t the slightest interest in attending your event in the first place.)

In order to garner high attendance rates, your RSVP process has to be meticulously managed, based on recent data, and orchestrated throughout the event.

The RSVP process consists of several, equally important steps. Importantly, it also calls for a dedicated team. Cleaning databases, designing and writing attention-grabbing invitations, compiling RSVPs and conducting on-site check-ins requires nothing less than an experienced team of event professionals. Depending on the size of your event, your guest list can run from double digits into the thousands. In order to manage each and every single step in this all-important process, you need the necessary expertise, manpower and time. Forget just one crucial piece of the RSVP puzzle, and you put the entire event in jeopardy.

When searching for a reputable – and effective – RSVP and event management solution, make sure that they can offer the following:

  • The updating and cleaning of guest data
  • The writing and design of attention-grabbing invites
  • A simple tool to manage and collate your invitations, RSVPs and guest check-in
  • A way to collect invaluable information about your guests
  • A thorough post-event report

Make sure your events culminate in optimal attendance, by downloading our (free) eBook:

Successful events are built on investment in an event management solution.The event planners and brand managers who organise and execute well-attended events prioritise guest list management. The one thing all successful corporate events have in common? Professional guest list management.

It’s a no-brainer then that all successful events begin and end with an investment in professional guest list management. If you’re not investing in a professional guest list management solution, you’re setting your event up to fail.

Improving guest experience using RSVP management at your event

RSVP management is essential to running a successful event. Event planners in Cape Town  have identified several ways in which RSVP management software helps them, including saving time and money. Not only does RSVP management and related software help event planners, it also helps improve the overall experience for event guests.

Let us show you how.

RSVP management software gets the right guests to your event

The perfect event means little without the perfect guest list. If you’re not talking to the right target market, guests may feel disengaged or bored because they cannot relate to the event’s environment. This may translate to poor return on engagement and, in turn, a poor return on investment. The online nature of RSVP management software allows you to build an accurate database that you can segment via demographics and other relevant indicators. A good quality guestlist means that you’re talking to the right people, the right way – giving your attendees an overall improved guest experience.

RSVP management gives your guests a personalised experience

From the invitation to on-site registration, RSVP management gives your guests a personalised experience at every step. RSVP Agency’s sophisticated software sends each guest a personalised online invitation, with the option to add the event to their personal calendars. To further enhance the guest experience, invitations are equipped with customisable fields that allow invitees to fill out pertinent information – giving event management the tools to customise each guest’s journey. All this culminates in a seamless on-site registration, where our professional hosts are there to greet guests by name once provided with the attendee’s unique QR codes and cloud-based registration software.

Our software lets you optimise and keep improving

RSVP Agency’s event management software lets you tap into valuable insights by sending post-event surveys via SMS. Event attendees are more likely to participate in a survey immediately after the experience, thus increasing the accuracy of your post-survey results. This, coupled with the guest data gathered from the online invitations, means that you have a robust source to draw insights from. These insights allow you to optimise your events – improving your guest experience and ultimately, your return on investment.

These are just some of the ways that RSVP management can improve guests’ experience at your next event. RSVP Agency offers a host of RSVP management services to give your guests the very best experience.

Visit our Events Services  page to find out more about the services we offer.

The ‘skills shortage’ is something you frequently hear employers talking about in board rooms and around dinner tables. Much like the property industry – which consists of a “buyers’’ and “sellers’’ market, the job market is currently an ‘employees’’ market. This means that once head-hunted, candidates are able to name their price and conditions of employment, and the events industry is no different.

Many event managers use social media to showcase their efforts, and while potential employers do take innovative aesthetics and attention to detail into account, posting your latest event on Instagram means that you’ll have to compete with a plethora of competitors. An alternative way of standing out from the crowd is by positioning yourself as an event planner with outstanding guest list management skills.

Potential employers want to see hard evidence that attests to your superior management of guest lists.

It’s impossible to argue with hard facts, so refrain from merely talking about how great you are at upping attendance rates and obtaining errant RSVPs at your next interview. Make use of event management software to draw up reports that irrefutably demonstrate your ability to effectively manage all aspects of a guest list.

Tech-savvy event managers have a marked advantage.

If you’re running events that employ all that the latest technology has to offer, you’ll have a leg up over planners with an old-school approach. Employers want to see that your events are in-line with the latest trends – from using tele-prompters in presentations, electronic invitation systems for invites, tablets for registration and media hubs with free wi-fi and charging stations for guests.

In an economic climate where every cent counts, it’s imperative that your events result in ROI.

The point of any event is to position a brand in the best possible light, with the aim of converting guests into higher paying customers. If you’re looking to be head-hunted, being able to show that you can accurately calculate the ROI of an event is crucial. A ‘guestimate’ will not suffice – so you need to be using software that collects all data – from the proposed vs actual budget, areas where costs can be saved (for example, guests that repeatedly cancel), and the total amount of ROI as a result of an event. Factors like optimised, online invitations, real-time reporting and streamlined online check-in are paramount in ensuring an event is sophisticated and enjoyable for guests, resulting in brand advocacy and optimal ROI.

Potential employers want to see that you know how to best approach every single element of an event.

They want to know that you’re adept at discreetly managing high-profile guests and their related details. Proving that you’re capable of handling things like liaising with a VIP speaker and ensuring that everything is in place for a publicity-worthy presentation is paramount. So too is having a list of world-class suppliers on hand in order to avoid last minute blunders. That said, don’t discount the importance of being able to prove that you’ve got a handle on the more mundane and time-consuming tasks such as the managing of guest lists, which can be outsourced for maximum efficiency.

If you’re using tools that save you time, you’re bound to be a master multi-tasker, resulting in professional, world class events.

Juggling multiple tasks at once is expected, so if you’re able to show that you can manage guest lists, keep on top of last minute changes and oversee the registration process with ease (thanks to the use of innovative, real-time event management software), you’ll have more time to liaise with suppliers, overseeing the set-up and break-down as well as looking after the attending VIPs.

Demonstrating the skills above will give you an edge over your peers. If you’re able to, then substantiate these assertions with testaments from happy clients who sing your praises. It is especially worthwhile to include clients who you have successfully been able to keep updated on guest-list changes in real-time or any who have commented on your overall professionalism and excellent delivery of services. If you can gather positive reflections from clients on your company quantifying your claims then you are well on your way.

If you enjoyed this article, here is another on guest list management: “Guest List Management – how to decide who is on the A list [infographic]

Image Credit: Edudemic 

When planning a wedding, trying to get a handle on your guest list management often results in massive family feuds. The fact that you’re working with both limited spaces and budget means that there’s no way you’ll be able to invite every single person known to the family. In much the same way, deciding who to invite to a corporate event can be tricky, as there’s no way you’ll be able to invite every single customer or lead to your event. Remember that each customer brings in a different amount of revenue – which means that it’s unwise to spend more than you’re making of a client.

These situations lead to what’s commonly referred to as an “A” list, “B” list, and sometimes, a “C” list.

Listing your guests in order of priority is the easiest way to manage a guest list that’s too big. The “A” list obviously consists of those who receive an invite right off the bat, while the “B” list consists of guests you’ll invite if someone on the “A” list declines your invitation. The “C” list, is a last resort of sorts, containing guests who’ll be invited only once you’ve exhausted your “B” list.

Deciding who ends up on which list is a strategic task.

If you’re dealing with a corporate event, you’ll need to get input from the head of sales or customer service. They’ll not only be familiar with the clients, they’ll also be aware of any issues, such as potential deals that are about to be closed, or customers you should focus on in order to build a relationship with.

Guest list management for a wedding, however, is an entirely different story. You’ll need to consider familial obligations, as well as whether or not to invite your new boss you’re wanting to impress. Once you’ve factored in all of these considerations, you’ll be able to decide who ends up on what list.

The infographic below simplifies a process that’s often fraught with difficult decisions.

Although tailored towards the guest list management of a wedding, this simple flow chart has some valuable tips. It emphasises the importance of your relationship with each guest, and whether leaving them off the list will have a negative impact or not. This is essentially what any guest list management comes down to – being able to identify, in order of importance, the repercussions of whether to invite someone or not.

Managing your three lists requires quick thinking and decisive action.

The last thing you want is to make a guest feel like your second choice (even if they are in fact on the “B” list), which means you’ll need to be quick on the draw, ready to adjust your guest list at a moment’s notice. You need to ensure that as soon as someone on the “A” list declines, an invitation is sent to someone on the “B” list.

If you’re tasked with running multiple events, efficient guest list management can turn into a full time job.

You’ll constantly have to follow up with the people who haven’t responded and effectively juggle your three guest lists. Event planning teams need to consider the massive amounts of time involved in this process, and make sure that the task is delegated to someone other than the person responsible for organising the actual logistics of the event or outsourced to a specialist RSVP company.

Image Credit: National Geographic

Managing RSVP guest lists is more complicated than many people think… The most important thing when it comes to event planning is, of course, the guest list, and managing this list for a large and important event is key to a successful outcome.

There would be no event without the guests – so, as every event coordinator knows, it’s imperative to plan this aspect carefully. Here are our insider tips and tools for avoiding the pitfalls and efficiently managing even the most complex guest list.

Obviously your guest list will be influenced by budget and resources, but these are some things to consider no matter the scale of the event:

  • Information sources
  • Master lists
  • Tracking tools
  • Data manipulation
  • Online RSVP
  • Communication channels
  • Consolidation of information
  • Updating information.

Managing RSVP guest lists

When you’re planning the initial guest list and who to invite, think about the VIPs – who are the most important people to invite? Will there be guests of honour? Will guests need a ‘plus one’? If it’s a business event, will guests be allowed to bring a colleague? If it’s a social event, can guests bring their spouse?

Will it be a closed guest list? Online guest management services leave room for your guests to invite guests of their own – this can be used to ensure that no one goes uninvited or overlooked. If the event is ‘Invitation Only’, be sure to state as such, otherwise there’s room for invitees to assume that the invitation is extendable.

Once you’ve decided on who to invite, you’ll need to consider whether the invitations need to be printed or sent electronically. The advantages of invitations sent via email versus snail-mail? It’s easier, more cost-effective and more time-efficient. Guests also have the added convenience of returning the RSVP via email.

Information and communication

When it comes to information, knowing who is attending is just as important as knowing their dietary and other requirements. Managing guests is not just about RSVPs, but also managing their information… Event coordinators need to know as much as possible about a guest in order to make their experience unforgettable.

A good way of doing this is using the RSVP as an opportunity to gather more from the guest than a simple attendance indication. Here one might request information such as:

  • The name and contact details of the guest’s ‘plus one’
  • What, if any, dietary preferences/allergies that guest might have
  • If that guest is coming from out of town – might they need accommodation or transport to be arranged for them?

A system for simplicity and ease of use

In order to ensure the best possible result for an event, you need to create the highest possible quality guest list – this means capturing data fields and collecting client information which can be edited at any point to correct duplicates, errors, formatting, and other changes.

An online RSVP system is usually best for ease of use – guest list information is updated online, keeping it current. For a more comprehensive list of top tips, download RSVP’s master series eBook, “Managing Your Guest Lists”.

Planning an event and looking for inspiration for your invitations? An invitation is the first impression your guests will get of your event, so it’s really important that it is something that grabs their attention. Make the right impression with our top 10 ideas and tips for events invitations.

1. Go digital

Paper invitations have value, but for big events you need efficiency and traceability, so you should go digital. (Thank goodness we no longer need to hunt down each and every guest in person, or sit biting our nails as we wonder if the post office has accidentally misplaced an envelope!)

2. Choose an angle

You’ll want to send your digital invitation as an e-vite instead of an email so that you can customise it and make it stand out. This will up your chances of getting replies. E-vites can be fun, thematic, even bling-y, so think about how to distinguish your e-vite and make it memorable.

3. Utilise appropriate software

A reliable online invitation service can save you a whole lot of time and effort. Plus, with all the RSVP details stored online you can access your event information anywhere, any time. You’ll be able to easily capture particulars like guest dietary preferences and head-counts. You’ll also be able to make use of handy features like reminding your guests of your event via SMS. You can choose from customisable templates or have your own designed!

4. Make it memorable

If you’re going to go with a physical invite, do it in tandem with an e-vite: let the e-vite serve the functional side of things while the physical invite can offer that little extra that gets guests excited and talking. For example, if you’re launching a new cookbook, send each guest a big wooden spoon with their name carved into it. A tag attached by ribbon could state the event and date. Everything else can go into the e-vite. Going the pre-made route doesn’t have to be dull or boring. Add some confetti into the envelope before you seal it, for a dash of dazzle.

5. Shoot a movie

There’s usually a story behind every celebration so let your guests in on it! Watch these beautiful videos for inspiration. And then watch some more. The wonderful thing about smartphones and social media platforms is that it’s now easier than ever to create fun, quirky invites to your events. Shoot it on your iPhone, edit it in an app, upload it and you’re good to go!

Tips to bear in mind when creating invitations

6. Send your invites out in good time

Make sure your guests have enough notice to fit the event into their calendars. Don’t forget to include an RSVP cut-off date. You should also check with non-responders after this date to confirm their RSVP status. If you are using a professional RSVP software system, automatic reminders can be sent to those that haven’t yet responded.

7. Make sure the date and time of your event is prominent

Including the day of the week (don’t assume people have a calendar on hand) so there is no room for misinterpretation.

8. Include all the necessary extras

Maps/venue details and contact information, just in case your guests need them.

9. Have back-ups

If you’re buying pre-made invitations, make sure you buy spares, in case you make mistakes when writing on them.

10. Proof-read your invitations before you send them off

It sounds silly, but don’t neglect it. There’s nothing more annoying for a guest than receiving an invite with their name spelled incorrectly. Ensure that venue address details, email addresses, cell phone numbers and the like are correct, to ensure that your guests can communicate properly with you.

Want even more inspiration?