Event budgets are completely dependent on volume. Your event will cost roughly the same amount of money whether the plane takes off full or empty, so to speak.
When an event is short on attendees, the planner is much less likely to be focused on providing effective ministry because they are stuck on "HOW DO WE PAY FOR ALL OF THIS?!" Your event will turn out mediocre at best if you're not focused on providing quality ministry. In turn, that can domino into people being unwilling to return for a future event.
Give yourself plenty of time.
Set a date where you expect to have registered at least half of your expected attendance. Give yourself some time and create an incentive to register early. Understand your target attendee. Is it better for them to be able to pay in installments, or does a discount drive them to get registered early? Your incentive has to be desirable. If your glass isn't half full by your goal date, crank up the promotions machine and start inviting people.
Plan early. Plan conservatively. Book conservatively.
If you think you can get 100, guarantee space for 60 or 70 people. By using multiple registration deadlines, you can monitor your progress to see if you need to upgrade the guarantee later.
Take it easy on your attendees' wallet.
Many people feel the pinch of a tight budget and schedule. It is very important to keep reminding your potential attendees of all the benefits of attending throughout multiple registration periods. Price incentives benefit the attendee with discounted registration and you with a base of registered attendees that will give you confidence.
Planners tend to cringe at the added difficulty and logistics of a payment plan however it is the best option for potential attendees on a tight budget. A family really wants to send their two or three (+) students to your church's summer camp, but writing one check for all of their students is tough for their family finances. Your event is all about the guest, implementing a payment plan will show you have compassion for their situation and are more focused on providing a benifical experience than what is easiest for the planning team.
Benefits of payment plans:
- Perceived as easier option for the attendee
- Gain commitments from attendees earlier & better predict registration
Coordinate payment plans:
- Review the How to video: Create registration forms online
- Using Google Docs (free service) people can register online.
When a person submits their registration it adds a row onto a spreadsheet. You can easily track payments by adding extra columns to the spread sheet.
The name of the game is: Conversion [kuhn-vur-shuhn]
Definition: change, adaptation
In context of an event, conversion is changing a potential attendee to a registered attendee. This is the best test for your event's marketing and registration strategy. You'll know you have successfully promoted your event when people register to attend.
If no one is registering...
If no one is showing interest...
That should shoot up some gigantic red flags to you. When you encounter a red flag connect with your base, find out what is keeping them from registering and make a change if possible.
What's your registration strategy? Have you considered a payment plan?