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Scheduling Considerations

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I gave a seminar a number of years ago on Super Bowl Sunday. Bad idea! This is an extreme example but it illustrates an important point: give your seminar a greater chance of success by scheduling it on the right day(s) and in the right month. There’s been a lot of research on this subject, so you don’t need to guess.

Best Days to Schedule
There are a couple of basic principles to keep in mind when picking the day for a one-day event or the start-end days for a multi-day event.

Check the sporting events and national and religious holidays that might be held on a particular day. Even a major local festival or event can interfere with your conference’s success. If you’re not sure, ask! Contact the Chamber of Commerce in the city that you’ll be working in. After doing that, check the internet. One site I like to use for this kind of thing is www.holidayfestival.com. That site lists all the holidays and festivals its operators can find and does a decent job of coverage.

Also make sure to check whether other industry events might be held on the same day. If you’re on good terms with the trade organizations, you may not want to compete with them. In a couple of my niche markets I do exactly the opposite. I hold my events the day before they have industry trade shows. This is because they don’t allow me to speak. So, the only way for me to get to this group is to compete with them.

I do events at the same time and in the same city as their major trade events. This way, people who want to hear me and attend my seminars don’t have to make a special trip. All they have to do is add a few days to their schedule at an event they are already going to attend.

If a major industry event is happening in Chicago from Wednesday to Saturday the first week of May, I give my seminar on Tuesday in Chicago. As long as I mail out my promotion far enough in advance, this allows people to book their air travel so they can get in a day early for my event.

It’s impossible to find the perfect day. Not long ago I arranged a bootcamp in the Las Vegas area on the same day that NASCAR was having one of their races. The problem wasn’t that we were drawing from the same potential audience pool, the problem was that it ended up jacking up the hotel rates by double their normal amount. This was a problem!

The moral? Check to make sure that hotel space will be available. If you’re doing an out of town seminar, you may want to check the Web sites of the local Chamber of Commerce and their major convention centers to make sure there isn’t a conflict.

Research in the seminar field clearly shows that there are better and worse days to give seminars. The research, done years ago by Howard Shenson, still holds up today.

In this study, the numbers were compiled to see which days of the week pulled the greatest number of registrations.

The results varied somewhat based on whether or not the person attending was paying themselves or had an organization they worked for picking up the tab.

When Participant is Paying When Someone Else is Paying
Saturday Wednesday
Sunday Thursday
Thursday Tuesday
Wednesday Friday
Tuesday Saturday
Friday Monday
Monday Sunday

Best Months to Schedule
The same research that was done on days has been done to determine which months pull the best. Here are the results:

When Participant is Paying When Someone Else is Paying
January
September
October
March
April
June
November
February
May
July
December
August
March
October
April
September
November
January
February
June
May
July
August
December

Does this mean that you shouldn’t, under any circumstances, do a seminar in the months of July, August and December? No. But I would be very careful about doing them at that time.

Information Marketing

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