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Pricing Strategies for Meetings and Events – First Post

February 24, 2011

Elizabeth and I are just on our way back from the GMIC conference in Portland where I presented two sessions on pricing strategies. It was exciting for me to see meeting professionals start to change the way that they think about pricing, and how they can incorporate new strategies to help increase revenue and reduce financial risk.

One of the concepts we discussed was a change to how meetings use early bird discounts.

The origins of this concept were about helping to address cash flow concerns – ensuring that you have the money that you need at the time that you need it. From a meeting planner perspective, this might mean having sufficient funds to pay your deposits. Unfortunately, most meetings tend to offer early bird discounts too close to the actual event to really make a difference in this area. In addition, our industry has had a tendency to extend deadlines, and attendees have come to expect it.

So what can we do differently? First, think about how you can create a sense of urgency for people to register. A couple of ways that you might do this would be through using limited quantities instead of a deadline, or through designing your meeting in such a way that your experience starts at the time of registration instead of on arrival. Consider how you might develop and deliver exclusive experiences for those that register early.

If you are using early bird discounts, consider how you can leverage them to address your financial risk. For example, can you work with your suppliers to match up your registration milestones with key contracting dates, such as opportunities to review your room block.

If you’d like to see us blog more on pricing, please post a comment on the blog and let me know what you’d like as the next topic:

  • How to use bundling
  • How to target your discounts
  • Encouraging room block pickup
  • Getting out of pricing based on last year’s fees
  • Sponsorship models
  • Increasing attendance in a tough economy
8 Comments leave one →
  1. Judy Kucharuk permalink
    February 24, 2011 11:07 pm

    Once again, I cannot say enough about this session I attended at the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference. It was timely and it was packed with content. I enjoyed it so much, I attended it TWICE!

    Fabulous! Thank you!

    Judy Kucharuk, Footprint Management Systems Inc.

    • February 24, 2011 11:24 pm

      Thanks so much for attending the session! It was great having some of you come back to hear it again. I really appreciated your participation. Let me know what you’d like me to post about next!

  2. February 24, 2011 11:50 pm

    Your talk got me thinking, liked the focus on hotel costs which tend to be the big hurdle for me.

    For overall pricing, has anyone tried the techniques along the lines of what gmail used at launch, of artificial scarcity where you’re encouraged to invite your friends? I’ve seen group discounts for conferences, but that’s often complicated, I have to know which colleague to contact, hold off on registering till they’re ready. What about just giving people special discount codes that they can tweet/email their friends? Maybe an earlybird that goes up $1/day rather than a cut-off, but you get a code so that your friends who sign up within one month get your price, so you’re doing your social network a favor by telling them about the conference?

    • February 25, 2011 12:05 am

      Great ideas! You’re absolutely right – there is a really good opportunity to target your discounts through social media. Some groups are doing things like this and I think the industry can do more of it.

  3. February 25, 2011 10:02 pm

    Thanks for including me in this session as a remote participant. I am bad at pricing and need help. I took away several concrete tips that I can apply to my next event. I really appreciate you sharing your expertise in this way.

    • February 25, 2011 10:19 pm

      Thanks for participating! It was great having you as an active contributor. I was thrilled that we were able to offer the ability to join in to the session via skype.

  4. May 5, 2011 12:14 pm

    Thanks for this infomration. I really like both ideas presented in the blog. I think it would be powerful to tie them both together. Have a limited quantity and also start the experience at the time of registration. Also I would offer valuable informational pieces to those who register early.

    I would love to hear more about using the standard,preferred and Vip ticket types. Any best practices for using these strategies.

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