Commitmentphobia. The fear of commitment. It’s a phenomenon plaguing our churches, small groups and for some, our very own events. Getting an RSVP for a party a week away can prove a daunting task, much less registration for events months away. This is a planner’s nightmare! Pre-registration is essential for adequate preparation; early registration is an added bonus.
Most events will have a registration deadline. These deadlines will vary based on the type of event you are hosting. However, if you can provide an “early bird” registration date (prior to the general deadline), this can benefit your planning process. For many events, numbers determine everything. By asking people to register ahead of time, you can gauge overall interest, know whether the event should go forward or be cancelled and help in general planning. For example, you may realize a larger event space, more break-out rooms or a larger hotel block are needed. If the venue has a minimum financial responsibility that must be meet, you may be able to adjust that based on early interest.
So, how do you get people to commit to an event early in a world full of “commitment-phobes”? Offer incentives for registering by a certain date. These can include:
- A cheaper program fee
- Preferred seating in large group sessions
- Meet and greet with the keynote speaker
- First choice of housing options
- A separate, expedited check-in line on the day of the event
- A special gift (t-shirt, tote bag, notebook, etc.)
Make sure you market these early registration promotions well. Email blasts, social media campaigns and mailers can provide buzz about your event registration. If prospective attendees see an added benefit to registering early, they may jump at the opportunity to participate. The more commitment you can get in advance, the more you can fully prepare for your upcoming event. More commitment can also spur greater event attendance. The more people are talking, the more people will be interested!
Do you have incentive ideas for early registration? If so, comment below!