How many people will show up at your live event? Here's some data.
By far the biggest factor to affect your show rate is the ticket price. Things like bad weather (cold & rainy) and bad traffic (major bridge or freeway closed, public transport not running) definitely have an effect.
It's always disappointing to wake up on the morning of your event to the bad news that one of those things has happened, and is likely to make more of the people registered stay home instead. But setting the right price for tickets to your event will minimise the impact.
From our own events and those of our clients, here are the show rates we typically see at different ticket prices:
18% to 30%
$20 to $100
75% to 80%
85% to 90%
This is why I think the age of free events is over. At best, only one person out of every three who register for your event will show up on the day. But if the weather is cold & wet on the day, or if traffic is particularly bad, you can expect fewer than one in five people registered to attend.
We only tested a $1 ticket price once. It certainly boosted the show rate a bit, but for almost exactly the same effort you could sell a $20 or $50 ticket and have a bit more revenue to offset advertising costs.
If you're running a preview event and your goal is to maximise the number of potential clients in the room, you want to use a ticket price that's "low friction".
The price should be low enough that potential attendees can register without having to think carefully about whether they can spend that sum of money and without having to check with a spouse. But the price also needs to be high enough that they won't want to waste it by no-showing on the day, regardless of weather and traffic.
Most of the time that means somewhere between $20 and $100.
For business or investing events, the top end of that range is fine. You should consider the lower end of the range for health, spiritual or personal development events, which don't offer a financial return on investment to attendees.
Add the right ticket price to good marketing and you're well on the way to running a big, highly profitable live event.