- Double check your invitation list
Unless it is an overnight event and you are providing transportation and lodging, make sure you are inviting only local customers. I am based in the Phoenix area and have been invited to luncheons in DC and ballgames in various cities around the U.S. Sure, I can just toss or delete the invitation—which I do—but why make a customer think you aren’t on top of things? If you know a specific customer travels frequently to your area, send them an invitation with a personal note that says “I know you live in Phoenix, but if you happen to be in our area...”
- Make it easy to RSVP
Allow the client to simply respond to the email or include a hotlink to respond “yes” or “no.” Don’t make them fill out a complicated form to say they aren’t coming. If you want to get updated information from them (title, address, etc.) give them the option.
- Details, details!
Provide as much information as possible in the invitation (or a confirmation letter well in advance of the event.) Is there a dress code? What is the agenda? Are there specific parking instructions? Are guests allowed? What costs are being covered? Remember, we are planners and we like and need details!
- Follow up with those who have special needs
If you ask registrants if they have special dietary or other needs, do something with the information! Share it with the hotel or venue, find out what accommodations will be made, and let the attendee know. I attended a client event a few years ago and indicated on my registration (where asked) that I require gluten-free meals. When I arrived at the event, no arrangements had been made and I was on my own to track down a chef who could let me know what I could and could not eat.
- Make attendees feel appreciated, not sold to
Sure, you want to get future business from the attendees—just don’t make it so obvious. I attended a client dinner for a major hotel company a few years ago. At each course, the hotel representatives moved to sit with another client so the salesperson and client could each be exposed to the maximum number of people throughout the evening. It was nice that the clients didn’t have to move, but all night long I got asked by my new tablemates, “So, do you book meetings in XYZ city?”
- Keep the good vibes flowing
Hopefully, your attendees had a great time. You want them to keep those positive thoughts in their mind. Send a link so they can download (for free) photos taken at the event, or a follow-up video recapping the fun time everyone had. And review your mailing list so you don’t send the follow up to people who did not attend.