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SYMPTOMS: I’m having trouble making sure people turn up to our office Christmas party. Every year, there seems to be loads of interest initially – but then guest after guest starts to pull out. Sometimes I’m lucky if the dropout rate is less than half. How do I make sure more people turn up?
REMEDY: We’d recommend two courses of treatment. First, you have to think about how to make your invitation as appealing as possible. Survey a cross-section of employees about their likes and dislikes, and consider these when you draw up your party plan. Then, present the offering in an attractive way – through a well-designed email or an eye-catching invite. Secondly, you need to ensure it’s easy for guests to get to the event – make the transport trouble-free and you’re bound to get a better response.
...or at least choose one that’s appropriate to the group. Some people love to dress up but the prospect of having to buy or hire clothes especially for an event will be a turn-off for most.
Think what would attract guests to the event. Some might like to bring a partner, others would be drawn by a nice raffle prize.
If you’re investing in goody bags, for example, make sure you tell people about them. There’s no point keeping anything up your sleeve.
Reassure nicotine addicts they’re not going to be confined to a cold pavement. The promise of a heated terrace could well make all the difference to someone.
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Autumn 2008.