Choosing the date(s) of your event is one of the first planning steps. A step that is often and wrongly underestimated, it is an important element that might predetermine the success or failure of your event. Choose the perfect date for your event and your marketing and PR efforts will be gracefully complemented. Choose an inappropriate date and don’t wonder why you are struggling to fill the event hall.
Selecting the right date should be the result of proper research and some strategic thinking. You don’t just open the calendar, then close your eyes and point at a random date relying on your good luck. Here’s a list with the DOs and DON’Ts when deciding the date for your event.
Pretty often the best way to select the perfect date for your event is by starting off with excluding the worst options. It’s like a tricky multiple choice question where if you’re not sure of the right answer, the first thing you do is ignoring the ones that you know for certain are wrong. So when scheduling your event, first try to avoid the following ‘event-ruiners’ dates:
- Your Competitors’ Event Dates
Your event might be unique in many aspects but it’s definitely not the only one in your industry and the sole that might be of interest for your target groups. Surely you’ve got competitors and even if you are positive that you will outshine them, just remember one thing: you will definitely achieve better results if the dates of your events do not clash.
- Official Holidays
Both, religious and public holidays are usually a bad choice when it comes to scheduling your event, unless your event is not organized on the occasion of the holiday itself.
Religion plays an important role in many people’s lives, especially in some countries. So scheduling your event for Easter in a Christian country or Hajj in a Muslim country is a no-win situation for your event. For religious people these are holy days and they will definitely prefer to celebrate them than to celebrate your event.
It’s a similar situation when it comes to national days or public holidays such as 14th of July in France or 4th of July in the USA. These are non-working days and people are usually not inclined to go to an event unless it’s a concert or entertaining outdoor event devoted to the public holiday itself.
- Important Political and Public Events
Scheduling your event on the day of national elections, referendums or other important political, public events is also something to avoid. Such public occasions concern everybody’s life and lots of people might easily opt out of your event. Not to mention that you will surely lose the media attention. And in case you hoped for a speaker, special guest or a patron for your event who is a political or public figure, you could almost certainly forget about him/her.
Is there a person on earth who loves Mondays? Probably yes, but most people certainly hate it. People are simply not in the mood or state of mind for going anywhere (but preferably back home) on Mondays. Even if you deal with workaholics, they would prefer working at their offices, doing their weekly to-do lists, arranging their working week, than coming to your event. In short, Mondays are usually like Friday, the 13th for your event so even if you’re not supersticious, it’s generally better to pick another day of the week.
- Holiday Seasons
Summer and winter holiday seasons are another poor choice when choosing a date for your event. The reason is quite obvious: people will simply be away on their deserved holidays. Be sure that your event will not be more tempting than lying on the beach with friends and loved ones. For most of Europe, those periods would be the whole of August (summer holiday season) and the end of December (winter holiday season). Of course, these would be different in Latin America or Asia, for example. So that’s another aspect to consider and research, especially if organizing an event abroad.
Now that you’ve eliminated the dates that might “blow off” your event, try to pick the ones that could only flatter it and work to its advantage. Here are just some suggestions:
- International Day(s) Related to the Topic of Your Event
If you schedule your event on an international day related to its topic, that’s definitely a win-win situation for you. That will not only assist your marketing and PR efforts but will also help you easily engage officials or public figures as speakers/patrons at your event and will provide you with more ideas for your program such as parallel events or campaigns. If organising a medical conference or healthcare expo, for example, and its opening is on the Worlds Health Day or World Blood Donor Day, you could organize a blood donation campaign as a parallel campaign which apart from the obvious benefits for the society, will surely help you get more public and media attention.
Anniversaries, such as 20th anniversary of your organisation or an anniversary of an important historic event/date for a specific industry, are another occasion your event could benefit from.
- Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for Business Related and Educational Events/ Weekends for B2C and Entertaining Events
When wondering about which day of the week is the best option for your event, start off with defining the type of your event. If it’s a B2B, business related, educational event, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday are really good choices. On the other hand, if it’s a B2C, entertaining or experiential event, weekends are usually your best option.
Most often it’s impossible to comply with all the tips above. In other cases, the specifics of your event might require taking into consideration different factors and completely ignore the ones we’ve listed above. As everything in the event management profession there’s no strict formula for success. My advice is to always “do your homework” in the form of research and SWOT analysis when selecting your event date in order to do what’s best for your event.
We’re curious to learn about your best practices in selecting the date(s) for your events. So feel more than welcome to leave a comment below.