When planning any type of event, one of the key dates may not be what you think. Yes, people need to know when the event is, but they also have to know when to sign up by. Registration deadlines may not seem all that important, but they do take some serious thought. How much time do you need between the deadline and the start of the event? What details can’t be planned until your final count? Can you have more than one deadline?
We begin by helping you determine the ideal registration deadline(s). It may seem like not a big deal, as long as the deadline is before the start of the event. However, some venues require final numbers a week or 10 days before the start. Likewise, figuring out rooming assignments and activity groupings can take a substantial amount of effort. Therefore, you have to give yourself enough time to get everything ready with true numbers. On the billing side, you will need payments processed in order to pay the bill at the venue. Some planners elect for just a week before, while others go as far as a month out for their registration deadline. The important thing to know is how much work is required between the end of registration and the start of the event.
As far as how many deadlines you could or should have, that is totally up to you. However, two or three registration deadlines is not uncommon. In order to promote signing up early in the process, planners can offer an early bird registration with a deadline of a month or two before the final registration deadline. As so prominently named, the early bird registration must offer the worm, in this case meaning a discount. This could be 10% off the regular price. Everybody loves to save a little money. Just make sure that you are still able to cover the cost of the event with a discounted rate.
Let’s face it, a retreat is a serious commitment. It requires a substantial amount of time, money and effort. It also requires a substantial amount of thought when deciding whether or not to attend. Therefore, guests often postpone making their final decision until very close to the deadline. Don’t get discouraged if your registration is looking a little shaky for a while. Keep up the promotion efforts and they will come, eventually.