Typical no-show rates?

Together with 2 others (@Danielle_Durant-Taylor and @David_Shall), we’re planning a repair event in Harpenden on 19th Feb. As many others have done since opening up after the pandemic, we will be pre-booking repair slots using Eventbrite to avoid overcrowding and so mitigate the Covid risk.

But no-show rates for a free pre-booked event can often be relatively high. So what no-show rates have other groups experienced, and what level of over-booking would they suggest would be appropriate? @James_Diamond ? @Rosemary ?

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Hi Philip,

We had no-show rates of 20-40% but this was balanced by drop-ins despite publicity saying that booking was required. We probably get the drop-ins because that is what people in our area have been used to. The end result was usually a good balance between capacity and demand.

We operated a wait list and sent our reminders one week before, two days before and on the morning of the event asking people to let us know if they couldn’t attend and this allowed us to offer spare places to people on the wait list, though this proved a bit complex to manage in Eventbrite.

However, at our most recent event several fixers dropped out and drop-ins rose and we struggled.

For your first event my suggestion would be not to overbook, but to ensure you have surplus capacity and use it to gauge how your audience behaves.


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Thanks @James_Diamond - very helpful. One further question: what length slots have you found best? Half-hour? Or less? In my experience, fixes vary a lot, but quick ones are outnumbered by ones for which even half an hour isn’t enough.

When we did online sessions we had 30 minute slots, but we increased that to 45 for live sessions. If you have a quick one then maybe you can slot in a drop-in.

Hi @philip

We’ve been open since last July with a booking system. We run 10.30 - 1pm and have arrival slots at 10.30, 11.15 & 12. So in theory we can do 3 repairs per repairer (we tried more the first time, but that was a mistake). And I have a couple of repairers, that are perseverers, so I only book 2 for them, as I know they’ll always be on things for longer.

When I email those with arrival slot times, I’m very clear that this is just to prevent too many people being on site at the same time, so they may wait a little while before they’re seen…it’s not a definite start time.

In that email I also ask (in bold at the top) for them to confirm their attendance, and send a very short email the day before asking if they can’t make it, to let me know so we can contact someone on the waiting list.

Since July I think we’ve only had 2 no-shows. We do get some people who have to cancel the day before due to COVID or other reasons, but that gives me time to get someone from the waiting list.

We’ve only had a couple of walk-ins too…and have always squeezed them in.

Finally, we use ti.to for event booking…free for free events, and quite versatile.

Happy to share any of our email copy etc if you’re interested.


Hi Clare - Thank you - very useful! Important point about emphasising that a booked time is not a guarantee of a slot time.

I looked at your group page and was interested to see that the initial impetus came from a Facebook page. But it’s one thing to put up a Facebook (or Instagram) page, but another to get it noticed. Did you simply pay Mark Z some money and get Facebook to promote it, or use other means? And what worked best?