Most meetings have just a few areas from which they derive revenue. As events, seminars and conferences become increasing expensive and you are a profit center then it is critical to regularly review these keys segments and assess your ability to maximize their monetary value to your organization.
In future blogs, I’ll examine each of these revenue streams individually and in greater detail, but as a start, here is a quick reminder of what areas to evaluate, as applicable to your event. You can start today!
- Track your fees year-over-year. Keep a historical record and raise your fees on a regular basis, generally every two to three years or as needed. Key considerations are increasing costs for F & B and venue rental fees.
- Review what is included in your fees. Categorize them by fixed or variable costs and then consider how you might modify those components to increase net revenue.
- Check past performance in the same city. Some locations are much more attractive destinations for certain groups and that should be a consideration as you plan future event sites.
- Evaluate a variety of incentives to boost revenue or to encourage its earlier arrival. An early registration fee that runs for a specific length of time is a popular tactic. Also look at late or on-site fees as an incentive to receive payment at least a month in advance.
- If you are a membership-based organization or track first-time attendance, consider whether a new attendee discount makes financial sense or perhaps a special promotion available only for new members.
- Start small, enjoy success and then expand your sponsorship program. Select a segment of your audience, make a compelling offer to a leader in that segment and once they are on board, sell to the rest of the segment. Competition is a good thing!
- Evaluate what markets your various sponsors want to reach. Hint: it is not always the same audience! You will want to tailor your promotional and marketing appropriately.
- Modify the benefits attached to each event based on your own market analysis, the costs, placement, visibility, etc. Be sure to treat everyone in the same category the same. Your constituents talk to one another and playing favorites is dangerous and costly.
- Understand the value of your exhibit revenue. The companies and individuals that provide it can assure a financially successful event before it starts. The vast majority of exhibit revenue drops to the bottom line --- so take care of your exhibitors. If they are not happy, word will spread like a wildfire through your hall.
- The single biggest reason exhibitors return to your show --- and increase the size of their booth presence --- is the ratio of buyers to sellers and their access to those buyers. Start by making sure the location of your exhibit hall is convenient to your other events. Door prize drawings, allowing (and encouraging) exhibitors to conduct raffles, seminars on the exhibit floor, photo booths, celebrity look-a-likes are just a few examples of ways to encourage buyers to visit the exhibitors. My experience is “If you provide food, they will come”.
- Regularly conduct a market analysis which examines who your competitors are, what they charge, what audience they reach better than you and then go after that market share.
- Select your General Contractor carefully after a full RFP process. Exhibitors often have a difficult time understanding the process, deadlines and costs involved with exhibiting. A General Contractor who is clear, fair, and customer-oriented can be an critical partner in your exhibitors’ assessment of the show’s success. Look beyond the few remaining national companies for more customized, personal service, and reduced costs for both you and your exhibitors.
- Conduct booth selection for your next show while on-site. Hopefully exhibitors are having a good show and will be enthusiastic about the opportunity to reserve early and snag great space and maybe increase their booth size. You’ll need to employ a pecking order, but we’ll address that in a future blog. If you need more urgent advice, please email us.
This may only be applicable if you sell tickets to individual events and if those events feature star-power speakers, name entertainment or a limited seating event. If this does apply to you --- a regular analysis of costs and income makes sense.