The PHP meetup has always been my ultimate 'hard luck meetup'. Used to
be, it was hard to get to (and embarrassing to interrupt a meeting in
progress to get through a locked door). But that seems to be fixed.
The new venue is reasonably easy to find, and you can sneak in late
with little disruption.
For me, the hardest part is scheduling. I'm just not thinking about
meetups the first week of the month. Also, Thursdays are vulnerable to
work pressures, because I'm usually pressing hard to move an
assignment along so I don't have to work late Friday. For some others,
Thursday seems to be a 'weekend warmup' night, and pub preempts PHP
So, how about 3rd Tuesdays, or 2nd or 3rd Wednesdays? Tuesdays seem
best, because they are the weekday with the fewest conflicting social
events. (Please don't choose 2nd Tuesdays -- I just won't be able to
make a PHP meetup at that time).
You have lots of interest, but sometimes you need more to get people
to commit. How about charging money? I just paid $5 for "Lean UX for
startups - Austin Govella", and that will make me far more likely to
attend. I paid $11 (for parking) for an E.O. Wilson lecture at Rice.
If you are flying a guest in for a special presentation, maybe you
need to signal that this meetup is especially worthwhile by charging
something. Once people pay, they are going to show up.
Also, may I suggest finding a co-sponsor? Nothing kills the momentum
of a meetup like having to cancel, and a co-sponsor could help by
stepping in with something when you are unable.