| March 4, 2013

Mutually Assured Instruction: Lessons Learned from Planning an Unconference

  • http://www.facebook.com/basettel Barbara Settel

    Great insights Matt.I am an event planner and always struggle with the vaguaries of predicting attendance. You're right, there is always a meltdown from the number who say they are going to attend. Here are a few things I do: Always give your caterer a guarantee based on 20% fewer people than your RSVP list. If the event is in NYC, bring it up/or down to 40% less. Pick a vebnue where you can modify the seating and tables to fill up sapce if necessary. Send several reminders to your attendees prior to the event. Let them know you are planning food based on their attendance and to please let you know if their plans change (a few will). of course my events do not charge a fee, so it;s even harder to get people to commit! Encourage invitees to bring guests - people often aren't sure whether that's permissable. And if there is a program, let people know if they can arrive late or leave early.

    • Matthew Gunby

      Those are great points Barbara. I really like the point about telling people to feel free to invite guests. We were at the point where we were close to the maximum number of attendees for RSVP's so we slowed down our marketing attempts on the last couple of days, but based on your recommendation we likely could have brought the RSVP list up to 90 and assumed that we would have 75 attendees. I don't think in this case it was the reason, but I know sometimes the maximum is set for fire code so what happens if you have more people than a venue can hold? I guess part of it is to have a slightly more flexible space. All good ideas to keep in mind with future event planning.

  • Matthew Gunby

    Thank you for the feedback, and I am very thankful for the readership.