Understanding RSVP – Online invitations and registration

RSVP has the historical meaning of Répondez s’il vous plaît, or “please reply” (used at the end of invitations to request a response). The background to RSVP is colourful and interesting.

RSVP is not a new requirement, or an end in and of itself. The RSVP process, consisting of the invitation and confirmation process as the two most fundamental steps, is a key requirement to stage a successful event, function or gatherings of any size and description. Large and small events are fundamental to our social and professional lives making professional RSVP management an indispensable service.

In days of old, invitations to gatherings were to esteemed guests were delivered by breathless couriers on trusty steads. Handwritten invites sealed with royal wax on parchment, the RSVP process was personal and full of occasion. The entire process took days to complete.

The mechanism of creating invitations, having them delivered and tracking the responses has remained essentially the same. We still need to create the invitation design and copy, create our guest list, deliver the invitation to the guests, and then track the responses to finalise attendance and catering. The objective is to get the correct number of guests to a function that would be memorable and valuable to host and attendee alike. However, the mechanics of how the invitations are created, delivered and tracked has become more sophisticated.

In today’s electronic world, hand written papers delivered have gone the way of the Dodo. Paper is relevant in some rare circumstances and a hand delivered invitation is designed to make a statement. It is however, no longer convenient or practical for most of today’s functions.

Baseline your RSVP process

So, how can we create the best possible experience for the function or event coordinator and the invited guest? The first step is to base line where you currently are with your RSVP process. Are the current techniques you are using to manage RSVP as efficient and painless as they could be?

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions below when working on an event RSVP process, it is likely that there is opportunity to make things easier for yourself and your invited guests.

1. I send out email invitations using my email package (Microsoft Outlook)
2. I spend lots of time manually ticking off attendees on a spread sheet
3. I get multiple guest lists from my internal departments and it is difficult to coordinate the guests attending across the various lists
4. My guests have to recapture information that I should already know about them, for example their dietary preferences, every time I invite them to an event
5. When I need to capture guest information like dietary requirements, travel information and other preferences, it takes a long time to get the online registration forms set up
6. When someone asks “is Guest A or Guest B attending?” I don’t have the information on hand.
7. I spend more time running the RSVP part of the event than I should be
8. My event company takes on the RSVP because I ask them to, but they don’t seem equipped to manage the process
9. My IT department try to help, but the systems are not flexible enough to deliver what I need

If you answered “yes” to some of the questions above, you RSVP process is more painful than it needs to be and we can assist you! Opportunity to improve The simple checklist below highlights opportunity for a professional RSVP experience for you and your guests.

1. Do you send out personalised email invitations, a personal invitation for each guest?
2. Do you pre populate your invited guests preferences, ensuring they never have to provide you with the same information more than once?
3. Do your email invitations have a high delivery rate, using global mailing standards to avoid as many spam traps as possible?
4. Do you instantly know if your email invitations have been delivered?
5. Does your RSVP solution automatically improve the quality of your guest list by removing duplicates and checking for incomplete information?
6. Can you easily ask guest for any kind of information without having to program additional data fields?
7. Do you have a live record of online registrations including accepts, declines and no responses?
8. Can you easily handle multiple guest lists from internal teams?
9. Do you have an RSVP service team to back you up? 10. Do your team provide you with call down support for those invited guests that have not responded?

If the above checklist highlights area you would like to improve then you can take the first step to RSVP excellence. Improving the professionalism of your overall RSVP process will ensure better guest attendance and will create a great first impression for you and your brand. Ultimately, professional RSVP is the first step to event success! We look forward to hearing from you!