Why Didn't My Guests Stick Around? What I Wish I Knew About Planning An Afterparty

Trying to guarantee that your afterparty will be great is like trying to force a YouTube video to go viral. It always starts with the best intentions, and then it's slightly heartbreaking if it falls apart. We have words of wisdom to share! And it starts with this hot take: if your afterparty playlist kicks off with Cotton Eye Joe, we have a problem (unless, of course, your event was all about 90's music nostalgia). 

What I Wish I Knew: Your Guests Are Exhausted

Your guests have already been to a full event! They might be wiped when it's all said and done. After all, a great event will have filled their brains and heart. If your event is choc-o-bloc, you can one of two ways with your afterparty. Put together something so enticing people can’t say no, or put together something low key that won’t overwhelm your guests. 

What I Wish I Knew: Your Guests Are Starving

If your afterparty doesn't have snacks, then you've missed a valuable opportunity for a little brand-building hospitality. Especially if you're serving drinks, then you'll want to have food on hand for people, or you run the risk of your guests leaving to find food. 

What I Wish I Knew: Your Guests Have Families/Pets/Responsibilities

Sounds crazy, we know. Who would pass up a party because they have to let their dog out?! Well, lots of people, it turns out. People need to get home to see their kids, they might have other activities or commitments for the evening, or they might even want to spend a little extra time with their partner. See, it's craziness. 

What I Wish I Knew: Your Guests Don't Like Awkward Socializing

And who can blame them. No one likes forced networking. Here's an idea - have a few social butterfly plants, people whose main role at your afterparty is to start conversations and connect with people. There will always be volunteers who love to chat, so giving them the role of unofficial host can get the room moving. 

So what advice can we give to keep your guests from flocking to the exit after your event ends?

  1. Offer a great networking opportunity that they can only get from your event. Entice your guests by having your headliner come for mixing and mingling after your event or book a crazy great local band that people will be pumped to stick around for. 
  2. Host your afterparty at a hotspot. A brand new restaurant or bar that people haven't been to before is a great incentive to keep the energy going. But make sure it's walking distance from your event venue, or your stragglers might straggle home. 
  3. Great prizes are a standby for a reason - people love them (almost unreasonably so). If you can secure a grand prize or a few great prizes to give away at the afterparty, for a lot of people, that is more than enough reason to stick around. 
  4. If some industry influencers weren't able to make your event, consider giving them a VIP invite to the afterparty to add fresh energy to the crowd. Even five new faces can invigorate a room. 
  5. In the same breath, there's also reason to limit your afterparty invite list, and give it some exclusivity. A smaller group also creates an opportunity for more connectedness, and people might feel they have better chances to meet those people they're hoping too, as opposed to being one in a crowd. 



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