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5 Tips for Managing Event Waitlists Like a Pro

By Community Manager posted 05-08-2023 09:38


For planners, there’s a constant push to up registration and make sure your event sells – but what about when your event sells too well? For most events, there’s a limit to how many attendees can reasonably attend certain sessions or even the entire event. Once you’ve capped out attendance, you’ll have to start dealing with waitlists. 

While no one likes telling attendees, “Sorry, you can’t come to our event,” or “This session you were super interested in is full,” there are ways to manage your event waitlists without alienating potential attendees and without creating hours of extra work for yourself.

Event attendees waiting in line to check in

Here are some tips to help you set up and manage your event waitlists effectively. 

1. Use a Waitlist Management Software That’s Connected to Your Registration 

Managing waitlists is so much easier when you’re working with a platform that allows you to manage registration and waitlisting in the same place. With Cvent’s comprehensive waitlist management feature, you can automatically track your events’ waitlists, including attendees’ names and contact information. 

 If your event is maxed out, when attendees attempt to register, they’ll know right away that they’ll have to be added to a waitlist. The same goes for session capacity – when it’s time for attendees to add sessions to their schedules, if there’s a session that’s fully booked, they’ll know immediately and be able to fill their time with other agenda items or wait for space to open up. 

2. Set an Automatic Maximum Capacity 

Another reason to make sure your registration and waitlist are connected? The ability to set automatic attendee maximums. 

By setting a maximum event or session capacity, you can ensure you’re not overselling tickets – without constantly monitoring your registration numbers. That way, your Cvent registration platform will automatically stop allowing registrations once you’ve reached capacity and begin adding attendees to your waitlist. 

3. Customize Communication with Waitlisted Attendees 

For waitlisted guests, it’s easy to assume they simply won’t make the cut, and it’s possible they’ll write off your event or a session entirely. To help keep waitlisted attendees engaged and make sure they’re ready to go if any spots become available, it’s important to keep in contact. But it’s not enough to just send out mass email updates. 

Waitlisted guests should receive customized communication to help them track their status on your waitlist, understand how likely you are to have space for them, and keep tabs on your event so they don’t miss the opportunity to attend, should someone else cancel.  

4. Automatically Monitor Cancellations and Send Notifications 

Just as you shouldn’t have to manually monitor your registration numbers to prevent overselling tickets, you should have an automatic system in place to manage cancellations.  

When an attendee cancels their event or session registration, Cvent can automatically notify the next guest on your waitlist to ensure you fill space as quickly as possible. Set up these notifications to be personalized, and make sure you provide attendees with a deadline for responding so that you can keep moving through your waitlist. 

5. Track Waitlist Data for Future Success 

Tracking waitlist data is crucial for planning your future events. Whether you really missed the mark on your registration estimates or you need to see a breakdown of how your waitlist strategy is performing, you can leverage reporting tools to help you see where you might be able to do better. 

With Cvent reporting and analytics tools, you can track metrics like the number of people on your waitlist, how long it took waitlisted attendees to get a ticket or join a session, and how many attendees canceled their registration. This data can help you evaluate the success of your waitlist management strategy and better prepare for registration estimates and event capacity for future events.  

You can also use this data to better understand which sessions were in high demand and which garnered less interest to help you plan for agenda topics, session sizes, and room capacities at your next event. 

Setting up and managing your event waitlists can be a challenge, but Cvent event management software offers a range of tools to help you do it effectively. From waitlist management to customizable communication, automated cancellation notifications, capacity management, and reporting and analytics, Cvent has everything you need to manage your event waitlist with ease. 

Feel free to comment below with best practices on how you manage event waitlists or visit our recent Huddle of the Week discussion to share or learn from your peers.