How many people will attend my event?

Empty seats
Creative Commons: https://flic.kr/p/7UiTZ3

A new user group organizer contacted me to ask this simple question: from your experience, when people say “YES” to attend an event, what percentage of those people actually show up. You would expect people that RSVP to attend, but as I wrote in my 5 rules to be a good meetup.com citizen post, it’s unfortunately not the case. For me, it’s a lack of responsibility and respect to the organizers, but it’s not the focus of this post.

So what is the answers? This question is more complex than it seems. It depends! If your event is a paid one, there a lot more chances than mostly everybody will show up, even if you charge as less as five bucks. In any cases, if they don’t show up, that will help you cover the cost of food, venues, and all. It’s getting more interesting when it’s a free event: you can expect an average between 20 to 40% of no-show, quite often closer to the higher bracket. Even if you removed the legit no-show, like stuck at work, health issue or reasons like those, most of them are for other purposes. There are many factors that come into play! It can be the weather: there is nothing from a cold, snowy day in Canada to prevent people, used to this weather, to stay at home instead of going to your event. Who said that geeks don’t like sports? I always try to not schedule an event during a hockey game evening (replace hockey with your local sport). You get the point: there are plenty of reasons people have… I’m not even talking about the people who have FOMO issues, and RSVP to all events, but tend to go to mostly none.

In any cases, it’s annoying for organizers! It’s a pet peeve of mine: I’m thinking about different solutions like charging a minimum fees, having a no-show past list and more that I’ll use soon with my user groups.

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