How to manage your guest list correctly

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”.