It might seem obvious, but events operate in a market like any other. When you sit down to plan, you have costs and competitors just like any other operation, and it can be difficult to work out where your event fits in. Nowhere is this more apparent than in your pricing strategy, which can end up being one of the toughest decisions you make. Still, keeping a few basic principles in mind should help you make the right choice.
Know your numbers
The obvious way to calculate prices is to calculate your costs, add how much profit you need to make and then divide this by your minimum number of delegates. That should give you a basic price per attendee, but bear in mind that your estimates need to be pretty accurate for this to work. Make sure you have a realistic idea of demand, as this will affect the size of the venue and cost of services such as catering.
Pitch to your audience
Alternatively, some planners will start with a ballpark estimate of what their target market can afford - often based on similar events run by other firms - and work back from this to calculate their budget for each service. This often means that tickets are more expensive, but this also means you have to demonstrate clear value for money in the details.
If you have a slightly larger event that includes several different activities, offering a tiered price structure could be a wise move. Offer one basic ticket that grants access to the bread and butter events, but then charge slightly more for access to additional features such as meet-and-greets with speakers or post-event access to extra content. You might be surprised by the takeup. The best way to do this is to give delegates a simple set of ticket options using a user-friendly online delegate registration system that can handle a range of prices.
All in the timing
It’s always wise to get an idea of numbers sooner rather than later, and early bookings will reassure you that someone will definitely turn up! To do this, consider offering an incentive to delegates who book ahead of time - but this should never be below your cost price.