Catch-22: Your conference ticket sales depend on the quality of your event, yet the quality of your event depends on what you can afford through your ticket sales!
We can’t tell you how often we’ve been hired by clients struggling with this chicken or the egg dilemma because, truthfully, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to conference budgeting. This is one major reason experienced conference planners are so necessary, as they help determine how much risk a client should take upfront, before tickets sales are live, without risking the entire experience by booking crucial elements too late.
Here are some ways that we help clients set big goals and drive sponsorships and ticket sales, so they can stay on track with the big promises they’ve made to attendees.
Incentivize Early Registrations & Sponsorships
In this day and age, it’s hard to commit to something months in advance. The country’s ever-changing landscape of health and safety concerns keeps many potential attendees on the fence. So, it’s up to you to prove that waiting isn’t worth it. That starts with offering discounts for early bird registration and marketing them thoroughly. Early bird registrations are not only a great way to bring in much-needed revenue but also an excellent tool when trying to attract more vendors and sponsors.
Speaking of sponsors, incentivization applies to them as well. You can convince sponsors to give early by offering unique opportunities, such as picking where they’ll set up in the exhibit hall. You might also allow them to pick which elements of the conference they want to sponsor. The trick? Apply just enough pressure so they act early while rewarding them big-time for bringing in that critical cash flow.
Read the Fine Print
Go over contract terms in-depth with your vendors, whether it’s off-site venues, your A/V team, or even videographers. If you MUST sign early to lock in their best rates, clarify if there are any penalties for amending the contract — you might sell more or fewer tickets than expected. One important thing to lock down early is your keynote speaker. When rolling the dice, it should certainly be for something that will help draw bigger crowds.
Give Yourself Some Padding
This year’s conference can directly impact next year’s in more ways than you think. If you’re willing to hold back some profits from this year and apply them to next year, you might have less to worry about when it comes to bringing in early ticket sales and sponsorships. This, of course, is a luxury that not everyone has, but it’s worth keeping in mind if your ticket sales start to soar.
Engage the Experts
It goes without saying that conference and meeting planning invariably involves a lot of moving pieces. Experienced planners like the Coterie Spark team can help you make these major decisions, offering you an expert’s perspective on which details can wait and which need to be locked ASAP.
There are so many ways to navigate the challenge of putting on a successful conference, and planning with specific goals, budgets and risk analysis in mind are just the tip of the iceberg.
Reach out today to see how we can help you take your next conference or meeting to the next level.