There are many things that go into planning an event or sporting meet. Often one of the big unknowns and greatest concerns is how many people will attend. You may have an expectation of say 300, but what if only 100 sign up. The up side of more attendees has its own issues when it comes to venues, catering or time constraints for a sporting event.

Even with an event that requires interstate travel and multi night accommodation there will be a tendency by attendees to wait until the last moment to sign up. This is shown in the graph below for a sporting meet where the majority of attendees came from interstate. Registrations were open for 5 months and even those total numbers exceeded expectations, over 50% of registrations occurred in the last 2 weeks. What was a budget shortfall concern in the weeks before close of registrations became a logistical challenge to fit everybody in.

Handling the late surge

Early bird discounts

Either by setting dates or limits on number of registrations, give a discount to those who get in early. Not only does in create some urgency and get potential registrants thinking about your event, it also gets cash in your bank account to help with the costs that start to come through.

Late Fees

Set an entry close date that will allow you planning time before the event, but allow later registrations for an extra fee. if the late fee is high enough it will encourage potential registrations to get in earlier than later.

Fake Close Date

If registration numbers have not reached what you needed, or you don’t like the idea of charging late fees then you can always extend registrations after the original ‘early’ close date. Be aware that depending on the the type of event, some who registered before the original date may not be happy with the date extension. It also lacks the incentive to get in earlier created by the late fee.

Active Promotion

Get an email list together or through social media you need to create enough desire to get a potential sign up to actually do the sign up. And you want that today and not in a few weeks time when they may have forgotten. Promotion also needs to be more subtle than just I have an event. You need to provide value. Testimony from someone who has already signed up and why they did so is a great start. Even better if they are highly respected or have a profile in the sport.

Event Planning and Unknown Numbers
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