With the rise of virtual and hybrid events, it’s more important than ever for meeting planners to have an effective pricing strategy. A good pricing strategy is based on data, not guesswork. It takes into account what similar events are charging and factors in the costs associated with planning and hosting the event. It also includes elements like customer value and market trends to maximize profits. Let’s look at how data can help you create profitable prices for your events.
1. Understand the Importance of Data in Developing a Pricing Strategy
Capturing event data and putting it to work is an essential part of building a successful pricing strategy. Event data can provide valuable insight into attendee behavior, allowing organizations to gain a better understanding of what pricing strategies are most effective and how customers respond to them. By analyzing event data such as attendee registration patterns, registration sales performance numbers, market trends, and other key metrics, organizations can make informed decisions about creating competitive pricing models. This has become increasingly important in today’s digital landscape where attendees are becoming more selective with how they spend their budget and time. Effectively leveraging event data is a smart way for businesses to respond quickly to changing customer demands and stay ahead of the competition.
2. Identify Relevant Data Sources
Identifying relevant data sources to determine registration fees for events is one of the most important parts of developing a pricing strategy. Gathering data will help ensure that the registration fee you set is competitive and allows you to earn a satisfactory profit. Sources of data you may want to consider include industry data, data from previous events or surveys, data from other comparable events or workshops, as well as market research. Each data source provides valuable insights that can be used to develop an appropriate pricing strategy for your event. Knowing the right data sources and how to interpret them will ultimately affect your pricing decision and make sure that your event is successful.
Potential Internal Data Sources
- Association Management System (AMS)/Customer Relations Management System (CRM) allows you to segment your data based on various demographics that you can find in your organization’s main database.
- Registration Platform may seem like an obvious data source. Review historical data that goes beyond just a summary of the Total Number of Registrants and Total Revenue. Review trends like when attendees are registering or canceling.
- Learning Management Systems (LMS) can provide insights into what topics are trending as well as market segments that might be interested in your event topics.
- Event Platforms give insights into what and how long attendees are attending. Platforms like EVA will take common registration data and combine it with the AMS/CRM data and the behavior data captures within the event platform. This provides you with great insights and the ability to dive deeper into specific segments that are of interest.
2. Analyze Your Historical Performance and Set Goals for Future Events
Through analyzing historical performance data, you can gain valuable insights into where you currently stand about your goals for future events. Doing this allows for an informed and detailed assessment of what worked well in the past and what could be improved upon, allowing you to develop more effective strategies when facing those same events in the future. Setting accurate measurable goals based on historical results will help guide your decision-making process, ensuring you can take full advantage of any opportunities that may arise. It is essential to keep track of historical performance data so aim to review it regularly – doing so gives you the ability to continually refine and improve your plans to make sure your future performances exceed expectations.
Top Historical Reports for Events
- Group Registrations
- Housing Blocks
- Early Bird Rates vs. Regular Rates
- Registrations by Modality (In Person, Virtual, Hybrid)
- Year over Year
- Month over month
- Weekly trend before event start date
3. Utilize Demographics to Determine the Right Price Point for Your Target Market
When it comes to pricing your event, demographics should be the cornerstone of your strategy. Without demographics, you are essentially “flying blind” when it comes to setting a favorable price point for both you and your customers. Looking closely at demographics can help you identify appropriate demographics while also allowing you to tailor the pricing based on certain criteria as well, such as location and occupation. Through demographics-based pricing strategies, event hosts can make sure they offer the right balance between affordable prices and maximum profits. Taking into account demographics is an essential part of successful event registration and pricing for events.
Demographics to Review
- Title/Job Role will give you an indication of who is attending and the purpose. Understanding job roles can help understand who stands to benefit from the conference’s discussions, as well as what topics are likely to be addressed. In turn, this can help with networking opportunities or information-gathering sessions that may be held during the conference.
- Location/Distance to travel is a key factor for many attendees to determine whether they would like to travel to an event or attend virtually. Digital and in-person attendees are looking for different experiences. In-person attendees emphasize networking and the connections to be made in person. Digital attendees prioritize the learning and sharing of ideas.
- Organizational Revenue indicates the budget to travel and attend meetings and conferences.
4. Examine Your Competition’s Pricing Strategies and Adjust Accordingly
What if your meeting or conference is one of a kind? Even though your event might be unique, you can look at other events that have a similar format, value proposition, and overall structure. If you are an association, look for another association that has similar membership demographics and conference sizes.
Tip – How do you find a similar association to yours? Here’s one resource to search for associations: CauseIQ.
- Simply enter your association’s name in the search bar.
- Select your organization
- Scroll to the section that says “Organizations like”
This will give you a good starting point.
Tip – Compare data in an easy-to-view spreadsheet. Here’s one template you can use.
Instructions – After opening this Google Spreadsheet…
- In the top menu, go to “File”
- Select “Download”
- Select how you would like to download the file.
5. Monitor Demand Levels and Utilize Discounts When Appropriate
Efficient demand management is a critical component of running successful events, and event organizers should monitor demand levels at all stages. It is beneficial to review demand trends periodically and offer discounts when appropriate. For example, event pricing can be adjusted based on demand levels; when demand is lower than expectations, discounts or promotional offers can be used to increase engagement. The goal should be to maximize attendance while maintaining the event’s value to attendees. Event registration pricing that takes demand levels into account can help ensure a successful outcome for everyone involved in each event.
Typically early bird discounts have been used to ensure that organizers can mitigate hotel attrition. Since there are hotel obligations, meeting hotel requirements is no longer a concern for virtual events. Reconsider why you need to offer any discounts. Develop a business case that outlines the goal for your discounts and track to see if your discounts are accomplishing the goal you have set.
6. Leverage Digital Tools to Automate Price Adjustments and Improve Efficiency
Organizations of all sizes now can leverage digital tools to automate price adjustments and improve efficiency. By utilizing digital tools, companies can remove manual price adjustment processes and instead rely on automated triggers that quickly adjust price points as necessary. This type of automation utilization can also be applied to other tasks such as event registration, so data is collected efficiently without having to input it manually each time. Automating price adjustments and other tasks helps increase company efficiency and better serve customers through faster price point changes or quick event registration processes.
Price adjustments can include special pricing for
- VIPs/Board Members
- High-Value Donors
Many registration platforms will allow you to provide special pricing based on criteria you set as well as program discounts. Each registration platform will offer different capabilities for how you program and automate registration pricing. Here are a few methods to explore with your registration partner:
- Provide your registrants with codes – The most simplistic and common method is to program your discount codes into your registration platform and provide the discount codes to your registrants.
- Manual Uploads – Upload a spreadsheet that identifies your potential registrants, and assigns pricing and discounts accordingly. When they log in to register, their special pricing and discounts automatically are populated into their registration form.
- Integrate with your AMS/CRM – When you integrate with your AMS/CRM, some platforms can pull your registrant data. Identify and program your registration software with the parameters that qualify for special pricing and discounts. When someone registers, the registration platform will identify if the registrant qualifies for the parameters you set and automatically apply their special pricing and discounts to their “shopping cart.”
Creating an effective pricing strategy requires careful consideration and analysis of data from both past experiences as well as current market trends. By understanding customer values and researching what competitors are charging for similar services or products, meeting planners can create a pricing structure that maximizes profits while ensuring customers get their money’s worth from their experience with the event. Additionally, offering promotions or discounts can help attract new customers who may be cost-conscious while still allowing your business to remain profitable overall. With careful research and analysis of data related to your event’s scope and specifics, you will be able to set optimal prices for each type of event – in-person, virtual, or hybrid – giving attendees maximum value and yourself maximum profits!
By following these steps and staying up to date on customer values and trends, you can create a pricing strategy that works for your business and helps ensure the success of each event. Good luck!