Irrespective of the type of event—numbers in the fourth quarter of 2016, in particular, are disappointingly low.

A snap survey has revealed the following:

No Fee Events

The shorter the lead time to acceptance of the invitation, the more likely it is that there will be a relatively average turnout, with around a 25% no show, as there is no obligation to attend. The fact that many do not advise non-attendance is becoming of grave concern as catering costs are higher than need be.

*Limited Fee Events

Even with ‘cover-costs’ plus 20% for administrative purposes—the lead time should be in the region of six weeks from date of event, with regular reminders, for a decent turnout. However, current statistics still show that the no-shows are in the region of 5%.

*High Fee Events

Certain day events are in the region of over R4 000 per attendee.  In these cases, promotion has to be extensive—at least once a week for a period of at least five weeks prior to the date of the event.  This way, the likelihood of a reasonable turnout is determined by the topics under review. For invoiced attendees the no-shows are negligible.

There are exceptions to the rule where there is a topic that is extremely pertinent at the present time, it is labelled a ‘must’ attend event. These events are few and far between and are mainly the annual association gatherings. They generally have a solid track record of multiple reasons for attending, which has been budgeted a year in advance.

Don’t forget that attendees are becoming more discerning as time is of the essence in our hurried world. To be at an event which will take time to access either through traffic or road and air-travel, as well as overnight accommodation, has to have major appeal and a great deal of promotional spend to draw the contemplated number of attendees.

There are lessons to be learnt for promoters and organisers of events—it is becoming increasingly important to take programme content together with fee structures more seriously before leaping into the current murky waters of an event, merely for shallow reasons.  The costs to reputation can be even higher that the costs of the event.

*Helen Brewer from The MICE Academy, is an independent contributor and articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Planner.