Here are some questions asked of Class Act over the years by reunion-committee members, reunion-goers, competitors, the curious, and even ourselves:
Q No. 1: If we decide to enlist your services, does it cost anything? How
does it work? What do you need from us?
Q No. 2: Our committee is thinking about doing our reunion on our own. We'll use the Internet and various websites, such as Facebook, to reach class members and to publicize the reunion. We might even set up a class website. So we don't need a company, do we?
A: Maybe not - if you have 100 hours or more of time and can assume a financial commitment that often exceeds $5,000. But be careful: When you contact possible locations, many will want at least a $500 deposit, often $1,000. In addition, they might put you on a "payment schedule" leading up to the reunion. That can create a cash crunch for the committee because most people attending a reunion don't pay until the last two or three weeks.
Also, if you count on the Internet as your main means of locating classmates, you'll probably be disappointed. By and large, most people in a class aren't listed on Facebook or other social-networking or high school-related websites. And of those who are listed, it's not because they're particularly interested in a reunion: They're simply looking to find, or be found by, some former classmates.
In fact, as we discuss on the Facebook Factor page, for all of its positive benefits, Facebook is having a negative effect on reunion attendance. But we're managing to combat that by locating most of the class, and by keeping the admission price below $50.
Q No. 3: But we have people on our committee who have planned parties and events like banquets, benefits and galas. Doesn't that matter?
A: A reunion is a much different animal: Party planning is only about 20 percent of what's involved. The other 80 percent is good detective work and communication. Sounds boring, but it's true. Committees working on their own usually focus a lot more on party planning than locating classmates. When that happens, the stress levels are high and they set themselves up to get in a financial bind. We've heard many stories of committees "passing the hat" at the reunion in order to pay the expenses.
Quite a few committees that hire us for their reunion had handled one or more of their previous reunions on their own. If you ask them afterward which they preferred, going solo or using Class Act, they're likely to point in our direction. Freed from the time and financial burdens discussed above, they were able to enjoy the event like the other attendees. Ever see Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion? Staffing the check-in table isn't the most exciting place to be on reunion night.
Why go through all of this when it costs nothing, other than the price to attend, to enlist the services of Class Act? We'll give you the reunion you want, without the hassles you don't want.
Q No. 4: Is the admission cost really important as to whether a person will attend a reunion? Our committee is thinking that people in our class would pay $70 or $80. Are we right?
A: An unequivocal "yes" to the first question - cost is very important. But a respectful "no" to the second question - most people in a class won't pay $70 or $80. Members of the committee obviously are excited and enthusiastic about the reunion (or else they wouldn't be on the committee). So they're likely to pay that kind of price. But most people in the class won't.
Rule No. 1 in reunion planning: Higher price = lower turnout. More than any other factor, price determines whether a person will attend. And that's even truer now, with the popularity of websites like Facebook. For some people, a reunion is as exciting as a root canal. They're almost looking for reasons not to attend; a high price all but guarantees they won't. It's not that they can't afford the price; they just don't think this type of event should cost that much.
Q No. 5: I see that Class Act does most of its reunions on Friday night, instead of Saturday. Why? Are there any advantages to it? But ooesn't the attendance go down?
A: The transition toward Friday was a
result of feedback from people - and the reality of the Digital Age. During our first 15 years or so in business,
people would say they didn't have enough time during the weekend to spend
with relatives and friends.
Q No. 6: How many people in our class will come to the reunion? Is there any way to predict? Will half of the class be there?
A: Let's put it this way: If half of each
class would attend their reunion, we'd be retired by now - and you wouldn't be
reading this! Unfortunately, half of each class has little or no interest in a
reunion. It's not that they hated high school. (Well,
OK, in some cases they did.) But, for a lot of people, they keep up with
maybe just one or
two friends from high school. A reunion just isn't
important to them.
Q No. 7: Just as people scrutinize the elements of a reunion, so too do they question whether they really want to attend. The decision-making can be quite personal. People ask themselves: "How do I look?" "Am I doing OK financially?" "Will I feel awkward attending the reunion by myself?" "Have I achieved the goals I set when I was younger?" How does your company address those concerns?
A: The best way is by staging events that appeal to a wide variety of people. One thing we've learned is that if a reunion is perceived as being too expensive, formal or stuffy, people will stay away. And the purpose of a reunion is to bring people together, not to scare them off. Remember: A Class Act reunion is a party, not the prom! ©
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