First, this is not a one-time thing. This is an ongoing issue. It was most pressing at TranSolutions, however, because the training was so expensive, and we were determined not to pass the cost on to the attendees.
70 people registered who didn’t cancel and didn’t show up. We sent out 6 reminder notices in the month leading up to the training, each stressing how expensive the training was going to be. Though we charged $10 per person, food cost us $16 per person. We reminded folks that we could alter the food order up to 48 hours before the training, so we encouraged people to let us know if they were unable to attend, and to let us know at least 48 hours in advance so we wouldn’t order too much food.
So we ordered food for those 70 people, at a cost of $1,120. We lost all of that money because people didn’t bother to cancel their reservation. According to the poll we sent out asking people why they didn’t cancel their reservation, 69% said “something came up at work” and another 14% “forgot to cancel”.
We do not have a grant. We had to eat that loss, and it left the HIV DATF with $1 to our name. That’s $1 with which we can organize our next training.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to what we should do to avoid issues like this in the future? Should we require supervisor approval, and assurance that staff will show up if registered? If anyone has any suggestions, please let us know. Please post your suggestions here. If we receive suggestions, we will send out a poll, and whichever the majority of you agree on, we will enact. Other ideas: don’t serve food or coffee; find a way to have people pay online in advance; charge more for the trainings so if folks don’t show up, it will balance out… your ideas are really important, so please…