Experiments to Boost Your Show-Ups

By: Matthew Trush
Product Director, Groups at Meetup

You’ve found a venue, chosen a date, crafted a description, and hit “schedule:” now you get to watch the RSVP’s roll in. But how many of them will come?

We know how challenging Show-Ups can be, and we take it seriously. We have a whole product team devoted to getting more people to come to your Meetups. As the Product Manager of the Show-Ups team, I’m focused on using our products and tools to get more people to show up for you IRL. Here’s how we’re approaching it.

The problem: Trends we’re noticing
Not knowing your Show-Ups makes it tough to plan. Here’s why:

  • People RSVP “yes” when really, they’re just “interested.”
  • People forget to update their “yes” RSVP if their plans change.
  • As an organizer, you plan according to RSVPs, which can mean empty seats and wasted money on prep if attendance and RSVPs don’t match up.
  • Your members are expecting an event of a certain size, so it can be a jarring first impression if the Meetup is smaller than they were expecting.

Research: Lessons learned
We’re digging in and finding inspiration from the hosts who have great show-up rates. What do they do differently? Here’s what we’re finding:

  • They send reminders leading up to the Meetup using tools like email, messages and comments.
  • They often establish no-show policies, making it clear in the Meetup description that no-shows can’t attend future Meetups.
  • They get creative with accountability by doing things like charging a fee, but then giving the money back afterwards if you show-up.

Experiments: Solutions we’re testing

Optimized Guest Reminders
We’ve iterated on the reminder notification that goes out 24 hours before your Meetup by testing how a reminder 2-hours prior to your Meetup performs. We’re trying to accomplish two things here: reminding the folks who intend to come of the details, and nudging those who can’t make it to change their status to “No.” This will keep your list accurate. What we found was: there was a significant lift in people updating their RSVP status, as well as a slight lift in show-ups, in the 2 hour test. Next, we’ll be testing different versions and exploring ways to make the reminder experience more flexible for hosts and members.

Engagement Experiments
The more “alive” a Meetup feels beforehand, the more likely people are to show-up. We’re running a series of tests to drive engagement between “Yes” RSVPs and hosts leading up to the Meetup.

“Meeting” people ahead of time makes showing up IRL less intimidating, so we’re testing different ways to “Meet your Host” for members immediately after they RSVP to your Meetup.

We’re testing whether a call-to-action to reach your host ahead of time will boost show-ups?
Here, we’re trying different button text. Will “send message” perform differently than “introduce yourself?”

Active conversations lead to more show-ups. A personal connection to another attendee can give that final push to actually get up and go, so we’re testing ways to spark conversations prior to the Meetup.

Prompting organizers to stay engaged with their RSVP’s could boost headcount.

We want to hear from you
We plan to roll out the most successful experiments as a permanent part of the product. As we map out future tests, we want your input! If you’ve got an awesome tactic, policy, workaround, or something you’ve found to get more people to show up to your Meetup, let us know.