5 Ways to Keep Guests from Leaving Early

September 5, 2022 Desiree Homer

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Guests leaving the event before the event is actually over can be such a drag. Sure, some are leaving because they have a plane to catch or travel plans early in the morning. But when you see guests leaving the wedding, the bar/bat mitzvah, the corporate holiday party, or the executive meeting, you can’t help but wonder if it’s because the event was lacking in some way. It’s normal. You’re not alone. And there are some event planning techniques you can leverage to keep your event guests right up until it’s time to leave. 

1. Saving the Best for Last Approach

This approach is an old favorite among New York event planners. The idea is to schedule the fun throughout the event or conference, not just as the event openers. The buzz-worthy segments of the event can be toward the end of the event in order to keep guests around. Strategically plan your itinerary to spread those exciting event elements in the beginning, during the middle, and toward the end to keep attendees wanting to go the distance.

2. Rewarding Those Who Stick It Out All the Way

Another way to keep guests from leaving your event early is the good, old-fashioned reward system. Consider implementing incentives for staying the whole time. Some events warrant an end-of-the-evening raffle or significant prize drawing. Maybe there are free prizes or swag bags for those who participate in the final meeting, the last dance, or the ending ceremony. Get creative about attendee incentives that make sense for the type of event you’re hosting. And dangle those carrots for anyone who has staying power.

3. Event Timing Matters

Be mindful of guests who need to travel. The earlier in the day you can kick off those corporate meetings or conferences, the better since many attendees will have early schedules the following day. Also, talk with your event clients about scheduling an appropriate duration for the event at hand. Even if the engaged couple wants their wedding to last all night long, discourage them from doing so. The goal is to pack the biggest event experience in the shortest amount of time. If executed perfectly, guests will have a blast, time will fly, and they won’t want the party to end.

4. Break up Those Longer Events 

Some event guests leave early because they’re bored, they’re tired, or they don’t feel there is value left in the remaining time at the event. Combat these sentiments by breaking up longer conferences and shindigs into smaller segments, offering varied experiences. Sitting for three hours is going to be far less fun than 20 minutes of keynote speaker, then breakout session, then cocktails, then dancing. Break those longer engagements up, and your guests won’t feel like they’re bored, tired, or missing value.

5. Choosing the Best Event Entertainment

Here’s the thing. If people are entertained, they’ll stick around for the duration. This brings us back to the entertainment discussion. No matter how well-planned and exquisite you feel you’ve planned, if your entertainment is subpar or mediocre, you’re going to have attendees leaving early. Check out some of our other attendee engagement-related blogs featuring insights and tips for selecting the best event entertainment. And don’t skimp on planning for an entertaining engagement opportunity right up until the very last minute of your New York conference or event.

Explore these ideas as part of your strategy to keep your event guests from bailing too early. And get more insights like these at The Event Planner Expo 2022 this October when you get the chance to network and mingle with the biggest names and influencers in the events industry! Get tickets now!

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