This post was originally published on 5/2/18, but updated on 11/13/19 for added value.

When working in the event space, you come to realize that you will almost always have no-shows. It's frustrating! We get it. You'll get a lot of reasons as to why they decided not to come but usually it just comes down to lack of time, money, or even interest.

So, how should you follow up with the folks who RSVP’d but never came? Check out our list of seven questions to include in your next post-event survey (for no-shows) that should clarify how to reduce no-shows for your next event.

1. How did you learn about our event?

  1. Your Website
  2. Word of Mouth
  3. Email
  4. Google
  5. Facebook
  6. Instagram
  7. LinkedIn
  8. Radio
  9. Other: ______________

Simply, you want to know how this person came into contact with your event. Knowing how people heard of your event provides you future marketing areas to focus on for promoting your next event.

2. When did you realize that you weren’t going to make the event?

  1. The day of the event
  2. The week before the event
  3. 1 - 3 weeks before the event
  4. 4 - 6 weeks before the event
  5. No intention

This question allows you to see your no-shows timeline in realizing they couldn’t attend your event. These answers will allow you to nail down when their excitement dropped so you can ensure that next time you’ll keep them for good.

3. Which of the following reasons is the closest to why you could not attend?

  1. Cost
  2. Location
  3. Date
  4. Educational Content
  5. Awareness
  6. Lack of Interest
  7. Other: _______________

This question serves as a follow-up to question two, as you know they didn’t make it - so why not? You can also provide a short-answer aspect to this question, but typically your no-shows can easily determine their reason.

4. What days/times are best for you to attend events?

  1. Weekends
  2. Weeknights
  3. Weekdays

By directly asking someone what time of the week works best for their social and professional calendar, you can pinpoint what works across a variety of groups to achieve the best engagement for signing up.

5.Would you like to receive a text, email, or phone call prior to the event to remind you?

  1. Yes; List Preference: ________
  2. No

Perhaps the potential attendees were not reminded enough about your event. To keep your event top-of-mind, remember to schedule out reminder emails/ texts/ calls. 

6. Did you attend any competing events around this time frame? If so, why?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Don’t you want to know if there was another event that caught their eye? Make sure to include a short answer area to see why they ditched your event and see if they’re willing to admit what event they attended instead.

7. If there was one thing that would guarantee that you would attend our event, what would it be?

After acknowledging all the other details, the information you really want is what factor would close the deal for this potential attendee to come to your next event. We recommending keeping this a short-answer question, as the last six questions will have given them a lot think about! 

Final note: It’s key that you remember to segment your survey list so you can target your no-shows specifically. Don’t forget to personalize your content to each list to foster a connection between your company and your potential future attendee.

Planning an event, especially a big one, can seem like a daunting task. There are a million things to do and, if you’re like most organizations, very few people to help. But don’t worry! We’ve broken down the event planning process into nine simple steps for overall success. Check out our free guide, 9 Steps to Event Planning, below!


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