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Creating and using RSVP forms to improve your events

Learn more about how you can use RSVP forms to improve events—and how SurveyMonkey can help.

RSVP is an acronym that stands for the French phrase “répondez s'il vous plaît,” which translates to, “Respond if you please.” Many of us have used RSVP forms either to collect responses for our own events or to let someone else know if we will be attending theirs. Knowing who will attend is a key part of planning an event, whether it’s virtual or in-person.

Whether you’re planning for attendees across the country or the world, online forms are the most effective way to learn who is attending and collect all of the information you need—and have it all at your fingertips.

Online RSVP forms for events of all kinds allow you to gather detailed responses from each respondent. Depending on your event, you can customize your online form to request information that will make your event enjoyable for everyone.

Probably the most useful aspect of using online RSVPs is that you have all of the information collected in one place in real-time, on one dashboard, that can be easily referenced at any time via computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The most essential piece of information for any event is the number of attendees. The size of your event venue and the amount of food ordered depend on accurate numbers. Estimating is a dangerous game with events. You could end up with an overcrowded room and insufficient food by underestimating your numbers, or a huge venue and too much food—a waste of money.

When hosting an event, your guests’ comfort is your priority. Do any of your guests have special accessibility requirements? Dietary restrictions? By asking for this information on your online RSVP form, you’ll be able to ensure each guest has what they need to enjoy your gathering.

The information from your online RSVPs will help you engage with your guests on a more familiar level. For example, you’ll know the name of a guest’s “+1” in advance, allowing you to personalize place cards, name tags, etc. You can also use the contact information from the RSVP form to build hype prior to the event.

TIP: Don’t forget to send a post-event survey to collect useful feedback from attendees for planning your next soirée, party, or event.

We often associate RSVPs with weddings, but they can be used for any event. Create your own RSVP online forms with these best practices:

Even if you already have contact information for a guest, it’s important to ask for it on your RSVP online form. People update phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses all the time. By requesting contact information, you’ll have the most up-to-date way to reach them with updates.

For professional events, request contact information, but be sure your guests understand that it will be used to contact them with future offers, event promotions, and other marketing purposes. That way, they can choose whether to provide personal or professional information.

You’ll need time to book an appropriately-sized venue and catering, so ensure that you include your RSVP deadline prominently on the form. Check through your guest list on the due date and send reminders if necessary, but don’t wait too long for stragglers—you need to finalize your headcount and make plans.

For many people, there’s that moment of doubt after submission of an online form. Did I hit send? Or later, did I respond to that event? Follow up each RSVP with a confirmation email. Include event details so attendees can refer to it later for time, location, and other particulars.

Depending on the type of event, you may want to include the following fields in your online RSVP form:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Physical address
  • Accessibility needs
  • Dietary restrictions or allergies
  • Number of people who will be attending
  • Names of additional attendees
  • Number of invited guests who will not be attending
  • Meal preferences

Snail mail is a thing of the past. You may remember collecting responses and creating charts with information about your guests… and worrying that cards were lost in the mail or that you missed a detail in someone’s response. 

With online RSVP forms, everything is done via the internet for maximum efficiency.

If you have contact information for your event attendees, you can distribute your RSVP forms via email. This is great for weddings, family reunions, and other instances where you know your guests.

You can also use the email addresses to send reminders.

If you’re trying to reach a large audience for an open event, like a conference, tradeshow, or speaker appearance, embed the RSVP form on your website. SurveyMonkey makes it easy to do with our service, and your website visitors will have immediate access to the form.

Advertise the link to your RSVP form through paid media channels and your other marketing efforts to drive traffic to your event page and form.

Post the link to your event page and RSVP form on social media. SurveyMonkey provides you with a unique link to your online form so that you can publicize your event across social media platforms. The average person spends nearly two and a half hours a day on social media, so this is a perfect stage for your event publicity and RSVP form link.

SurveyMonkey makes it simple to put together an RSVP online form. Just start with our RSVP template. All of our templates are fully customizable, so you can add logos, images, graphics, and text that perfectly fits your event.

SurveyMonkey has everything you need to create an online RSVP form for your event. Start with our template, or create your own from scratch. Customize everything from images to text to make your form uniquely your own.
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