delegates leaving early how to cope

If you run are running a one day conference, it is very likely that you will see a slight tailing off of attendees as your day draws to an end. If you are running a longer duration event, like a congress, you will probably be used to a much quieter room come the end of your final day. Delegates leaving early: that’s just what some of them do.

In an early post I looked at the more traditional ways you can consider if you want to stem this flow. I also looked at some of the more creative ways to make the room look less empty. In this brief post, the last in my series of posts on the disappearing delegate I ask: so what if they are leaving early? Sometimes there is only so much you can do!

Some useful benchmarking

When I ran event departments for several associations we always expected a bit of a drop off by the final part of the afternoon at our conferences. I have to be honest and say it wasn’t something that we had a big issue with, perhaps on average 75% – 80% of the attendees would stay until the end. This is healthy and normal, so if you have some drop off DON’T FRET.

I was lucky, I suppose, that this slight drop off wasn’t something that my bosses ever had an issue with. I know this isn’t the case for other planners, but in terms of benchmarking:

If your conference thins out by 25% after the final refreshment break YOU ARE DOING FINE. 

How to cope with delegates leaving early

You could spend a lot of time, money and resource and make very little impact on the person who has to leave at 4pm to catch their train. So, rest easy. However……

If your numbers are starting to get a bit worrying then look at this as an opportunity to review your event. Perhaps the topics are no longer relevant? Perhaps the day is too long? A thinning out room can be the amber light. Maybe review everything now?

If people aren’t staying until the end it is likely that they are not being “gripped” by the content or the environment in which your event takes place. Take this as a sign, before it’s too late. You need to look at your event from the top down, from the inside out. If you are looking out over empty chairs come 4pm, now would seem like the time.

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