Analytics & Reporting

No Show Rate: Definition, Calculation and Risks

You have put a lot of time and resources into your event and now there are a disproportionate number of no-shows? We give you important information on the subject of No Show!

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Keeping the no-show rate as low as possible is the goal of everyone who assigns appointments or organizes events of various kinds. But what exactly is meant by this, and why is it so important to keep this rate as low as possible?

What does "No Show rate" mean?

The "No Show Rate" indicates the percentage of those who registered for a particular event in total who did not show up.

This refers to persons who do not show up at an agreed date or do not participate in an event despite prior registration or reservation.

The English term "No Show" is best translated in German as"Nichtscheinen".

No-Show (Fees/Bill)

No-show is a situation where a guest does not arrive despite having booked or cancelled a hotel room in advance. The hotel may then issue a no-show invoice. Saved expenses must be deducted from the agreed accommodation price. Airlines refer to passengers who do not show up for a booked flight or cancel their flight as no-shows.

How is the no show quota calculated?

For a Now Show calculation, the number of people who registered but did not show up must be divided by the total number of people who registered . Multiplying the result by 100 gives the No Show rate in percent.

Example: 138 people registered for your event. In the end, 26 participants did not take part. First divide 26 by 138. Multiplying the result by 100 then gives a rate of 18.84 percent for this case.

Why are there no shows?

Of course, in individual cases there can always be reasons why someone does not take part in an event despite prior registration. Examples include illness, a sudden bereavement in the family or an urgent professional obligation that cannot be postponed - possibly as a replacement for a colleague who fell ill at short notice. However, experience shows that all of these reasons play only a relatively minor role and can hardly be influenced by the organizer.

In the context of participant management, those reasons for a no-show are of particular interest that can be at least partially influenced by the organizer in order to achieve the lowest possible no-show rate.

These include:

- the type and location of the venue

Transportation access, parking, lack of information on how to get there, or a remote meeting location are also important factors influencing the no show rate, regardless of the weather.

- the frequency of the event

The proportion of no shows tends to be higher for events that are either repeated more frequently or held in parallel with other events relevant to the same target group.

- possible competing events

- The lack of straightforward ways to cancel

The issue of cancellation options should not be underestimated. For example, if participants find it difficult to find the cancellation button on the website, they often do not bother to look for it or send a message to the organizer.

- the weather.

Of course, the weather cannot be influenced by the organizer either, but it can at least be taken into account as an influencing factor during planning. Does the venue offer attractive opportunities to spend time outdoors for breaks or during meals? After all, with the prospect of having to spend an entire summer day in a windowless meeting room, nice sunny weather often motivates no-shows. Conversely, bad weather deters fewer people from attending if the event location is easily accessible by various modes of transportation.

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What are the risks of events with a high no-show rate?

A high no show rate is initially annoying because often a lot of preparation, a certain amount of cost and other resources were put into the event. At least some of these points could have been reduced if the no-shows had cancelled.

This is particularly noticeable at live events. Often, if the cancellation is made in good time, it is possible to book a smaller room, for example, or to order less food and drink. For virtual events, this point seems to be less significant, but is by no means irrelevant. For example, it is possible that the number of entrances for participants is limited and cannot be reassigned in the event of a no show.

In addition, there is a risk that the credibility and reputation of the provider will suffer if an event is actually attended by only a few registered participants. In addition, there are missed opportunities to disseminate own information and messages as well as to promote exchange and networking among participants.

Reading Tip: Sustainable events - What does it depend on?

How can no shows be avoided or reduced?

In order to ensure that as many of the registered participants as possible actually turn up for an event, various measures have proven effective. An event with attractive content and an attractive and easily accessible event location are certainly two of the most important points in this context.

In addition, detailed information on how to get there should be provided in good time. This applies analogously to virtual events: Instead of the route to the event, however, it is important here to explain the log-in procedure in good time and in a way that is easy to understand, and to provide all the necessary access data. Another effective instrument for reducing the number of no-shows is pricing policy.

Experience shows that the no-show rate is particularly high at free events, but particularly low at events with high ticket prices. This is all the more true if the ticket price has to be paid in advance in order to secure a place. The corresponding pricing policy should be supplemented by clear regulations on a no-show fee, which you charge to participants at a now show.

In the run-up to the event, it is also advisable to send reminders by e-mail or in another suitable form, preferably in combination with a check-in procedure. For example, shortly before the event, all registered participants receive a message asking them to confirm their participation and thus officially check in, or to press a clearly visible cancellation button.

Example email before the event

In the case of purely online events, it is also important to communicate the concrete added value of live participation compared to reviewing materials such as slides or similar at a later date. For example, the opportunity to discuss directly with the speakers in the webinar or to ask questions to renowned experts can be pointed out.

In the case of events that are in high demand, a waiting list should be kept so that participants who are unable to attend can be replaced by other interested parties in good time.

These articles may also interest you:

Measuring event success: the right way to do it

Event Trends 2022: The future of hybrid events

How to increase event ROI with CRM integration


A low no-show rate is certainly not the only indicator of a successful event and good event management, but it is undoubtedly one of the most important. It helps to avoid wasting resources and contributes to a positive perception of the organizer and the other players involved in the event - such as speakers or panel participants.

To ensure that the no-show bill results in the lowest possible rate, it is necessary, on the one hand, to understand the possible reasons for a no-show and to consciously avoid them. On the other hand, suitable tools such as reminder emails, check-in or a waiting list should be used when planning the event.

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