My lesson: Listen between the lines when it comes to event head counts.
Many times, budgets are tight and people will underestimate how many people will show up for an event in order to save money. Planners will try their best to get their numbers either slightly under what they think is actually going happen, or just right on. But they’re not always being honest or realistic with themselves as a result.
Planners: you are doing yourself a disservice. Yes, attrition is just a basic operating risk that you run when you’re doing events. You run an even bigger risk by under-guaranteeing.