Does the Class Reunion Ticket Price Matter?

Reunion Truth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a simple reunion truth we learned early in our reunion planning business:  classmates who want to attend the reunion will, classmates who don’t want to attend won’t, and there isn’t much you can do to make a difference.  This includes ticket price.

Here is what we know:

  • This year, our average ticket price is $75 per person, and we’re seeing a higher percentage of classmates and guests attend their reunion than we have in the past 3 years.
  • Last year, our three highest priced reunion tickets, ranging from $82 to $85 per person, were also our three best attended reunions.  The reunion with the $85 ticket price had a 39% attendance rate of their class size.  The national average is 25%.
  • Also in 2012, our 5 least expensive reunions, at $54 to $64 per person, had an average attendance rate of 15% of the class size.

     So, what does it all mean?
1)      Classmates who want to attend to the reunion will go.
2)      Classmates who don’t want to attend the reunion won’t.
3)      Ticket price doesn’t make a difference.

Bottom line:
As a Reunion committee, you should be reasonable in planning a reunion that is accessible to all of your classmates.  Recognize not everyone can afford an expensive night out or that priorities on disposable income have their limits.

But also remember that your classmates know a high school reunion is a once-in-every-ten-years event.   It is something special, much like prom night or your high school graduation, and classmates expect the event to be an event, the type of event that makes you want to fly to your hometown, hire an overnight babysitter, buy a new dress, and be excited about the chance to see friends you haven’t seen in far too long.

Make your high school reunion memorable, make it fun, make it reasonable, but don’t worry too much about ticket price.  

Time to Plan Your High School Reunion!

High School Reunion Planning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It will be 2014 before you know it!  Now is the time to start planning your high school reunion!

Reunion Planning Wisdom

A High School Reunion Mad Lib!

Your Chance to Win an iPad2!

Who doesn’t want an iPad2?

Well, here is your chance to get this nifty, little, how-did-I-ever-live-without-it gadget for free.

The National Association of Reunion Managers (N.A.R.M.), of which we proudly belong, is giving away an iPad2 to one lucky winner.  And all you have to do for your chance to win is to “like” their Facebook page.

Don’t worry about spam or too much unwanted information.  NARM is a non-profit association promoting high school reunions.   That’s all.

Click HERE to enter today!

Oh, and if you already have an iPad2, you can always give this one away, donate it to your kid’s school, use it as a door prize at your high school reunion, or make a soon-to-be graduate very happy.

Good luck!  Let us know when you win!

Our Top 5 Happenings of 2011

A Reunion Repeat
The Parkway Central Class of 1981 20-year high school reunion was the very first reunion we planned when we started Varsity Reunions in 2001.  The reunion committee was a fun group of ladies who worked hard to plan a great party f or their classmates.  Ten years later, we were delighted to partner with the committee to plan their 30-year event.  Thanks to Mary Hediger and the Parkway Central Class of 1981 for helping us reach an important business milestone.

That’s What She Said
With all the talk of Facebook and its affect on the high school reunion, more than one news outlet called to find out our professional take.  Each reporter seemed to have a different agenda for the high school reunion story, but our favorite was Ray A. Smith with the Wall Street Journal.  His multipage feature on attending a high school reunion, with an emphasis on what to wear, was informative, interesting and included a quote by us!

It’s a Blog!
During our 10 years of high school reunion planning, our website has gone through a number of revisions, refreshes and re-launches.  We were excited 2011 brought a new website with the new ability to blog.  Our goal has always been to provide fun, relevant, useful information for the high school reunion planning committee and the high school reunion attendee.  We have lots of ideas for future posts, including fun ways to serve food and how not to use Facebook to plan your high school reunion.

 

Kids Know Best
We were fortunate for the opportunity to be part of a class marketing project for the Management of Promotions class at the University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL).  In September, four groups of students selected our company as their case study to analyze our marketing efforts and to offer new strategies.  Each group provided a comprehensive report, and while not every idea suggested is doable, their fresh take sparked our own new ideas.

50 is the New 40
The Lindbergh Class of 1961 50-year reunion was a delight, and it was a sincere privilege to partner with their reunion committee to plan their celebration.  With about ½ their class size attending, these Flyers wanted a party.  A specially invited guest was their high school principal, who attended along with his wife.  Planning reunions mean we frequently hear “We’re so old!  Where did those 10 years go?”  How great to see that at a 50-year reunion, no one cares anymore.

Reunion Planning A – Z (or 26 Tips to Planning Your High School Reunion)

A – Attendance varies by reunion, but a good mark to follow is 25% of the class size will attend.  This includes guests.

B – Bar setups become less important the further you get from high school.  Go with the open bar at your 10 and 20-year reunions, then switch to a cash bar for your 30, 40, and 50th.

C – Classmates rarely remember where the reunion was held, but always remember how they felt seeing an old friend.

D – Don’t underestimate the amount of time necessary to plan a reunion on your own.  Block out of your schedule 45-hands-on hours, minimum.

E – Encourage your classmates to attend by making personal calls and sending personal e-mails.  A little effort from the committee can mean great reunion attendance.

F – Facebook is a wonderful reunion planning tool, but it isn’t the only tool you’ll need.  On average, only 35% of classmates join a reunion page.

G – Greet your classmates at the door the night of your reunion celebration.  It eases nerves, sets the tone for the party, and gives you a chance to say hello to everyone.

H – Hiring a professional reunion planner is an easy, stress-free way to plan your reunion.  And you avoid the financial liability.  Find a professional planner by contacting the National Association of Reunion Managers.

I – Invitations to the reunion should always include suggested reunion attire.

J – Just because you are excited about attending your reunion, not all of your classmates feel the same.  High school wasn’t an easy time for everyone, and some classmates prefer not to go back.

K – Keep the class list and current addresses so you’ll have them for your next reunion.  Giving a copy to everyone on the committee ensures you can find it 10 years later.

L – Looking through your yearbook at your first reunion committee meeting is a great way to kick off the reunion planning process.  It brings back memories, and begins the conversation of “who still talks to who”, which will be important when trying to find classmates.

M – Money matters, but not as much as you think.  Don’t be afraid of a $79-$90 ticket price.  Classmates will pay if they perceive the value.

N – Never sign a venue contract with a minimum you are not willing to pay yourself if you have lower than expected attendance. 

O – Only one person should be the committee contact with the venue.  This eliminates misinformation and multiple calls to your venue sales person.

P – Planning for your reunion should begin 8 – 10 months before the reunion celebration date.

Q – Question your classmates on Facebook about songs they would like to hear at the reunion celebration. 

R – Read the fine print on all contracts and agreements.

S – Select an appropriate way to remember deceased classmates.

T – Take time to answer each e-mail or Facebook posting, even the negative comments.  It will show your classmates that you value their opinion, and can help put a stop to any destructive misconceptions surrounding the event.

U – Understand the upfront costs before you take on the task of planning the reunion by yourself or with a committee.

V – Videos or slide shows from your high school years are big hits.  Make a copy for each classmate attending as a give-a-way.

W – Wedding months mean less availability and higher prices.  Book early for popular venues.

X – Multiply the number on your reunion guest list by 20% to come up with an estimate of the number of classmates and guests who will pay at the door that night:

100 pre-registered classmates and guests X 20% = 20 additional registrations at the door.

Y – Yearbooks are hot commodities at a reunion.  To keep your copy safe, display it at the staffed registration table, not as part of your memorabilia collection.

Z – Zip code sorting sends your reunion invitations at the cheaper bulk rate.  But, build in extra time for the post office to deliver.

6 Quick Tips for Great Reunion Attendance

1) Announce the reunion date at least 6-months in advance, and send invitations and registration information at least 4 months before the reunion.  Classmates need time to put the date on their calendar, make arrangements if coming in from out of town, and add the reunion cost to their budget.

2) Invite classmates from different clubs or organizations to join the reunion committee.  Having a diverse committee list makes the reunion feel like an event for everyone.

3) Divide the list of classmates and have committee members make personal phone calls to encourage classmates to attend.  Let your classmates know how excited you are to see them and how the reunion won’t be the same if they aren’t there.  You may also send personalized
e-mails – try to avoid mass e-mail blasts – but stay away from Facebook messages.  While Facebook is an easy way to connect with someone, it is also easy to forget that message sitting in your Facebook inbox. 

4) Even though the price rarely affects reunion attendance, let classmates know what is included with their ticket.  Be sure to mention a few intangibles, such as “seeing a high school friend for the first time in 20-years” or “an evening filled with stories only your high school friends could share”.

5) Spend time searching for lost classmates on Facebook and spokeo.com.  And, make it easy for classmates to find you to learn about the reunion.  Set up a reunion Facebook page, and post reunion information as part of your personal Facebook page’s status.   You’ll also want to include reunion information on your school’s website and in your local paper.  If you have a class reunion website, be sure to send the address in all your e-mail, Facebook and mailed correspondence.

6) Don’t plan a night-before-the-reunion Happy Hour.  It detracts from the big reunion celebration and gives classmates a choice as to which reunion activity to attend.  You’re having a reunion to bring your classmates together in one place at one time.  More than one event quickly defeats this purpose. 

Do you have any tips for having a fantastic turnout at your reunion?  Share them in the comments section below.

Reunion Planning, by the Class of 2016


Some of the best ideas come from kids, so we asked a few middle schoolers to create a tagline for a reunion planning company. With their first reunion many years away, they sure seem to understand event planning and high school reunions. Here are a few of our favorites:

This kid really plays to the very honest need (read: want) to see how our classmates measure up at our reunion.

Yep, this pretty much sums it up.

Best tagline for a reunion planning company owned by JJ Evans.

How can this not provide for a little self reflection?

Look for this kid to be a party planner in about 20 years.

So true. So, so true.

Hard to disagree with this sentiment.

Reunion Committee DIY Decoration Ideas

How fortunate is it that we get to partner with the best reunion committees, and see the creative touches they bring to their reunion celebration?  Here are a few of our favorites:

Stacy, the Hazelwood West 1990 reunion committee chair, put together these adorable centerpieces for each table at her reunion.   The red and black school colors filled the room, and classmates got to take the centerpieces home at the end of the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We’ve never seen a sweets table put together with as much thought and finesse as by reunion chair Julie!  The Granite City 1989 Warriors were treated to cupcakes and candy, all heavily influenced by the color red.


 

 

 

 

 

  
Remember that panoramic photo you took your senior year?  Thankfully Julie, from the Parkway North Class of 2000, saved her photo, enlarged it a bit, and had it mounted on foam core as part of a display.  Classmates couldn’t get enough of the photo and went back many times during their reunion celebration to recall a face or to remember a name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Willowbrook 1990 reunion committee proves memories don’t have to come in a fancy package to be memories.  Classmates loved looking at these photo displays throughout their reunion evening.

As these smiling Lafayette 1990 Lancers know, the best decoration at a high school reunion is still the yearbook.