You’ve spent months meticulously planning an event, sourcing the perfect venue, ironing out last minute crises and executing what’s arguably, a kick-ass creative brief. Your event goes off without a hitch (or without any that your guests notice, that is). But that’s where it ends. Sales haven’t spiked, nor has social media lit up with praise that you feel your brand deserves.

So what gives? You don’t know what your guests really want.

Your event serves as a tangible interaction with your brand, a chance to form a relationship with your guests, and hopefully convert them into customers, or better yet, brand advocates.

With this in mind, these are the three things your guests don’t just want you to know, but expect you to.

One: Their past interactions with your brand

Each of your guests has a relationship with your brand, forged through interactions of varying frequency. Some of them will have had very little interactions with your brand, for example: your invitation and social media presence may be the sum total of it.

To determine the extent and type of interactions they’ve had with your brand, begin by answering questions like:
Have they attended an event before? Do they follow you on social media? Are they a customer? Did they buy online or instore? Do they hold influence in your industry? Have they been a lifelong supporter of your brand? Or are they just learning about it?

Two: Their reason for attending your event

Following on from the point above, your guests are interested in your brand for different reasons. On the surface, their ‘why’ may seem the same, but look a little harder and you’ll see that what draws Guest A to your event is not necessarily what attracts Guest B.

Let’s say you sell bespoke luxury travel packages, for example. Some of your guests might attend solely because they’ve heard of your brand or have interacted with people who’ve mentioned it. In other words, their reason for RSVPing “yes” is based on awareness of your brand. Other guests may be planning a getaway and have decided that your company is a viable provider, but before they hand over their hard-earned money, they need some convincing. They’re interested, but they’re not yet personally invested in your brand. Other guests are already customers – they’ve traversed the globe thanks to your tailor-made travel packages and are ardent supporters of your brand.

One brand: three very different reasons for attending. And the onus is on you to know who’s there for what reason, and then provide them with an event experience that correlates.

Three: Their expectations from your event – and your brand as a whole

Following on from the above, (the why), this is the what. Every single one of your guests has different expectations of your event. To find out what they are, you’ll need to first establish the answers to the first two questions as outlined above. Do they want more information? Do they want to try out your product before buying? Will a discount or special offer make them more likely to pack their bags and jet off into the sunset? Do they want more of the same? New travel options? Tales of seasoned travellers? A brochure? An explainer video? A one-on-one consultation with a bespoke travel planner?

Establishing the answers to these three identifiers is crucial. But without an ERM™ platform, you’ll have a hard time collecting this data.

Event Relationship Management software is specifically built to gather, compile and store guest data, and in an age where connecting with your target market is trickier than ever, ERM™ software is an indispensable marketing tool.

Make sure your events meet your guests’ expectations – and then some – by finding out more about our all-in-one Event Relationship Management solution. Simply download our brochure below.

Google ‘RSVP Management’ and ‘Party Invitation Management’ and the results are almost identical. While the world’s most popular search engine seems to think these two terms are interchangeable, I’m here to tell you that this couldn’t be further from the truth. But why all the fuss about making the distinction between the two clear? Why is this so important that we’ve dedicated an entire blog to the subject?

Because if you’re investing a substantial amount of money into a corporate event, you need to make sure your RSVP solution ticks all the boxes – and then some.

Corporates designate eye-watering sums towards their events, for good reason. Events are a chance to attract the right customers, increase brand exposure, and hopefully, ROI. As such, your RSVP management has to be slick, streamlined and rendered by professionals.

You’d never hire an amateur chef to cater for your event, so why settle on an RSVP solution that leaves plenty of room for error?

Party invitation management does the job – but only if you’re planning your niece’s sweet 16th or a school reunion. They provide you with a generic template that’s customisable to some degree, often for free. Which is great if your event is nothing more than a celebration. But if you’ve got the reputation of a brand riding on your next event, opting for any old e-invitation solution can see your event go up in flames.

Not convinced?

Here are the crucial differences between professional RSVP Management and party invitation management:

RSVP management offers you an end-to-end solution. From the very first save-the-date to a post-event report. RSVP management ensures you’re not spamming guests (and turning them permanently off your brand) thanks to the meticulous cleaning of databases (crucial in light of increasingly strict privacy and anti-spam laws like POPI).

RSVP Management includes the creation of bespoke, branded event invitations that cast your event in a professional light.

RSVP Management enables you to customise invitation form fields, post-event surveys to collect guest data to better inform all subsequent events and marketing activities.

RSVP Management ensures your entire event is meticulously orchestrated: from the discreet management of VIPs to the streamlined check-in of guests, to increased security thanks to the use of QR codes that contain relevant guest information.

RSVP Management puts your guests front and centre at your event. Thanks to the fact that you can collect a wide array of data about your guests – from demographic data to granular information like their preferred thread count or nightcap.

Planning and running a world-class corporate event requires professional solutions that take care of the details. Our RSVP management solution does just that. Designed by event planners, for event planners, we help leading brands to successfully manage their RSVP process, delighting guests and increasing event ROI.

To find out more about how our superior RSVP management solution can take your next corporate event to new heights, download our brochure.

Your entire event hinges on the response to your invitation, so it’s crucial to get it right. The most important thing at this stage, of course, is your guest list. Your guest list will be influenced by considerations of budget and type of event. When it comes to guest list management, you’ll need to address the following factors:

  • Who are the most important people to invite? Will there be guests of honour? Who are you obliged to invite?
  • Will there be 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 or partner?
  • Will it be a closed guest list? The RSVP agency’s online registration service allows for guests to invite guests of their own – this is handy to ensure that no one goes uninvited or feels left out. If it’s “Invitation Only”, be sure to state as such on the invitation, otherwise there’s room for guests to assume that the invitation is extendable.

The invitation

This is where a first impression of the event is created in the mind of the potential guest, so it’s extremely important to make sure your invitation has the right impact. Part of The RSVP Agency’s service is invitation design – we have a number of templates that can easily be adapted to suit just about any occasion. Our invitation service is also flexible enough to work with any designer you choose – giving you, as the event planner, complete control over the visual aspects of your invitation.

To create a great first impression, you’ll be considering things like:

  • Should the invitation be printed and mailed? Would it be better to have an electronic invitation?
  • How can the theme of the event be portrayed through the invitation?
  • What visual elements can be used to entice recipients to respond, think about what images to use, content to include or attention-grabbing heading to incorporate into the design.
  • Does the invitation require a map?
  • What tone do you want the invitation copy to express?
  • Who is the invitation coming from i.e. what name appears in the recipient’s inbox? A professional RSVP service allows you to personalise the name that appears in the recipient’s inbox.
  • Include vital information that will attract guests, such as entertainment, guest speakers, giveaways etc

Print vs. electronic invites

Bear in mind that if your invitations are printed and mailed, that this can be quite costly. They’ll also have to be mailed off at least six weeks before you require your RSVP response, which means that you’ll need to allow for two-three weeks before that for design and printing to take place. Electronic invites are far easier and definitely more cost-effective. They’re less time-consuming and they also give your guests the added benefit of convenience for returning their RSVP.

Electronic invitations also make it easier for you to have graphics on your invitation, regardless of whether they’re full-colour or greyscale, without affecting the price of the end-product. What you need to consider when sending email invitations is the bounce rate – sometimes images are rejected by the recipient’s server, so a balance of text and images is important.

Invitation wording: practical pointers

  • Ensure that you have the correct spelling of all your guests’ names. If you’re unsure, call to double-check – the effort shows.
  • If the event is formal, keep the wording of the invite formal. Obviously if the event is casual, the wording can follow suit.
  • When it comes to the date and time, use a font that’s legible and spell out the actual date and time. Make sure the time/date format you use doesn’t leave room for confusion. Ensure that it’s Saturday 22 May 2013 at 4:30pm and not 22-05-2013 at 16:30 – this will force people to consult their calendars to figure out what day, date and time the event is – which also means that there’s a possibility that they will get it wrong.
  • When it comes to the venue address, make sure that you include as much information as possible – a full address, including street numbers, to avoid guests getting lost. Include GPS co-ordinates and a map, if the venue is lesser known.

If you’re looking for help on exactly how to word your invitation – copywriting is just another aspect of The RSVP Agency’s service. We’ll make sure that the words match your beautiful invitation design, and that guests get exactly the right message from reading your invitation. For more best practices and professional RSVP offerings, contact us for a demo.