When it comes to event planning, selecting a date for your event is about much more than the venue availability. So how do you choose the perfect event date?
Picking your date is one of the first steps in the event planning process. After establishing your event goals and objectives, you’ll want to spend some time researching potential dates to ensure the ones on your shortlist align with your overall event strategy.
Consider The Season
If you’re hosting an outdoor ski trip, it’s pretty obvious you’ll want to schedule it during the snowy season. But seasonality isn’t only about the weather. You’ll also want to consider other seasonal factors that can impact event attendance:
- Sports Schedules
- School Calendar
- Niche/Hobby Seasonality
Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, these seasons may help narrow down your ideal dates or eliminate potential dates from your shortlist. Let’s use the school calendar as an example. If you’re hosting a fundraising event for the PTA, you’ll want to choose a date when school is in session instead of during summer break when school activities aren’t top of mind.
Eliminate Dates With High Competition
Researching events within your industry can help eliminate dates when your competitors are also lobbying for your attendees’ attention. Take a look at community calendars in your area and make note of any events that share the same target audience as your own. Then evaluate how much weight to give each competing event when selecting your own date. Factors to consider:
- Event Size
- Event Location
- Audience Overlap
- Past Event Attendance
If you’re an animal rescue group planning an adoption event on the west side of the metro and another rescue group is planning an adoption event on the east side, the odds are good there won’t be much audience conflict between the two events.
Conversely, if you’re organizing a marathon that attracts people from all over the state, planning your event the same day as another race might force your audience to choose between the two, lowering the overall attendance for both.
Factor In Holidays & Public Events
Unless your event relates to the holiday itself, both religious and public holidays are usually poor choices for scheduling your event unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Labor Day is a case in point – many people like to enjoy the long weekend, so a business workshop might not be the best fit for that date. A winter camping expo, however, might be exactly the type of family-friendly event that your audience would love to attend in their free time over the holiday weekend.
Public events such as elections, city-wide celebrations, and local festivals are also dates to avoid. Not only will you lose some attendees that wish to focus on those other events, but you’ll also have a harder time competing for media attention.
Pay Attention To Significant Dates
Your event can benefit from aligning itself with a date significant to your attendees. International celebration days, awareness months, and anniversaries can provide tremendous marketing opportunities for your event. Media coverage and official public support are often easier to get when your event is part of a larger topic, such as a Little Free Library building workshop or a book drive during national literacy month.
Know Your Prime Days Of The Week
When selecting which day of the week to host your event, consider the “prime days” your audience is likely to attend. For business-related events, this is typically Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday – days where people are focused on business but do not significantly interrupt the work week. For consumer-targeted or social events, evenings and weekends are a popular choice.
Another consideration when choosing your event date is the typical routines of your audience. If you offer yoga classes for school-age children, it doesn’t make sense to pick a weekday morning when those kids are already in school. Instead, you may focus on offering a selection of weekend classes, reserving special weekday classes only for school holidays.
Next Steps: Announcing Your Date
Once you’ve done your homework and used our tips to choose the perfect event date, don’t forget the most important step – announcing it to your attendees! Add it to the events calendar on your website, share the event date announcement with your mailing list, and begin marketing to potential attendees.
Have other tips to share? Let us know in the comments!