Numbers & Insights on Invitation Management

How do you get the most out of sending out invitations and managing guest lists for your events? David Becker shares some really interesting insights.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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How do you get the most out of sending out invitations and managing guest lists for your events? David Becker shares some really interesting insights.


Hi David, welcome to our studio.


Hi Kevin.


Zkipster is an online service for ticketing, guest lists and things like that. And you’ve pulled together some interesting insights about events and invitations?


Absolutely, Kevin. We have interesting insights on various fronts as we are an events management software, that helps event planners to run invitation management. So, the whole RSVP, invitation campaigns through emails, and then it goes directly into the guest list management. So we can pull stats on one hand on everything regarding the invitation and then everything regarding the check-in. I suggest we start with the invitations?


Yeah, sure, sure.


That’s really where it starts when you run an event. You populate the master list of people you want to invite. And as we are not in the ticketing sector, we are in the guest list sector…


OK, I’m sorry.


No, no, that’s absolutely fine. Most people that are being invited are selected, and planners want to invite them. But that doesn’t mean that they come. So we’ve pulled some stats around, what is a better likelihood for them to accept the invitations. And we looked at the week dates for instance. And we found out that if an invitation campaign is sent out between either Monday and Thursday, the chances are much higher, and it’s much more likely for people to click on the invitation and to accept the invitation and add themselves to the guest list. I can only assume that this is when people are in their office, this is when people are close to their calendar, and it will not drop off, as if you send it by the end of the week obviously on a Friday afternoon or maybe on a Saturday morning, people are on their mobile phones, they may see it, but then they don’t add it and things, they forget. So Monday to Thursday is when you should send an invitation campaign.


OK, interesting.


Then we looked at the advanced… how much in advance should you send this out? It’s this whole discussion of, saves the dates. Should you send it out three months before, two months before or four weeks before? And that is really up to the gut of the event planner. Because we looked at the stats and we didn’t see any correlation of days in advance of a higher likelihood for them, to accept invitation, so it doesn’t really matter. You can stick to your guts there. What matters though, and that is very interesting, is keywords in the subject line. If you have keywords in the subject line that connect basically the type of event to the invitation, hey, it’s a lunch, it’s a dinner, it’s a gala, it’s a fundraiser, very specifically… Event planners that do that have a higher likelihood of guests accepting the invitations. They want to know what type of event, they want to know what to expect, and if you put it in your 25 to 75 character subject line in the email, it’s a better likelihood for them to accept the invitation. And then we looked at our last thing, deliverability. Is there anything connected to them being able to reach the guests? And there is, and that’s really a call to action for all the event planners that are watching. The clean database is key. I mean, if the email addresses are expired, if they are typed in a wrong format, the best event management software cannot help you to deliver. So we found out that there are some deliverability issues based on dirty data. And I think the most important thing to run a successful invitation campaign is to have the data cleaned.


As you said before, you are not only doing invitations but also the guest lists, so I think that this would also mean that you would have some insights on, for example, show-up rate. Because having people sign up is one thing, but having them show up is another thing.


Exactly. So that’s the second stage of the whole campaign, right. Like, you are good now to go because everybody accepted your fantastic invitation, because the day was right, you sent it from between Monday and Thursday, the design was right, the call to action was right. But are they going to show up? So in our case it feeds directly into the guest list. So whoever accepts, signs up the form and says yes to the event is already automatically in the guest list. At the events that we do, it’s been a 100,000 since we started. It’s several hundred a day around the world in more than 100 plus countries, we see that it’s a pretty consistent ratio of about 30% that are showing up. So the average size of event that we power, which is more on the higher event, including premieres, galas, fundraisers, you know, more like executive professional service events, we see about 400 people confirmed on the guest list and about an average of 150 showing up. So it’s slightly above a third. But that’s really a global average that we can see throughout every industry, throughout every country, throughout every type of event.


OK. That does mean that there is a no-show of 70% on average.


Yes, absolutely. So it does matter though of course what type of event it is. If it’s a dinner, the show-up rate will be 80%, 90%, 95%. If it’s more an activation of the larger data set for marketing purpose or some store opening on a Thursday night, on a busy Thursday night in the shopping center where the luxury fashion brand is throwing a little influencer event, well maybe people are busy because they have three invitations the same night. So there it really matters, the competitive landscape. But yes, there is a big no-show rate throughout all industries. And I think that’s why proper invitation campaigns and streamlined thought through a strategic event management is so important. That’s why event professionals are key to run a professional event and a successful event.


You say that’s across all industries and globally, but do you see between industries that there are industries that are more punctual, or that are not showing that high no-show rate?


Absolutely. So maybe we need to differentiate the actual no-show rate and the punctuality. Because that’s the last thing you mentioned is the punctuality. We also had our data scientist team dig in. And that’s very interesting, because we asked them: what is the peak time? When is it the most busy? Because even though there is an electronic guest list in place, of course you need to make sure that the set-up of your arrival, can cater maybe to several people or several dozen people arriving at around the same time. So we can see that the peak time is always somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes. It’s not surprising. Nobody arrives five minutes after the event, it’s not cool, and nobody waits too long. But then we dug into the actual industries, and we saw that there are some tremendous differences between peak time. And we saw that the punctual people are in government and in military. Probably not surprising.


Military not, government depends on the country?


It depends on the country, correct. We have some government clients across the world, and embassies. We see there an average peak time of 35 minutes. For instance, if you compare this to the advertisement industry, the peak time is 81 minutes. So it’s much further down into the event where the people in ads show up, versus the people in government. I guess that’s just a question of industry and a question of habit, and it doesn’t surprise me if I look at it.


I would like to thank you very much for sharing these insights with our audience.


Of course, my pleasure Kevin. Have a good day.


Thank you. And you at home, thank you for watching our show, I hope to see you next week.