Events: Can keeping it cheap be costing you in the long run?

When you have events that need to bring in revenue and create a profit to survive keeping a tight budget on costs is key, however is the scrimping and saving on all costs for the event really helping to sustain the event each year and even grow it into something more substantial?

Doing an event on the cheap is great in terms of hitting sales targets and improving the profit but are you undervaluing the event, stopping any further growth on ticket and sponsorship sales.

When you are setting event sales targets, looking at what the event actually costs, and what additional costs could be added to really increase the experience for the attendees will give you a better understanding of what is required to create the event you want. If your costs are exceptionally low then you could be limiting the amount you can generate, once sponsorship targets are hit then the push for sales tails off, and looking for new business can effectively stall, so then where is the need to push to improve attendance and sponsorship? obviously this has to be looked at comparing the market and demand for the event but if is fairly easy to always hit the target year on year then where is the motivation to look for new sponsors and expand the event, potentially increasing the profits and engagement of the event further.

Another potential pit fall could be keeping event budgets to a similar amount every year. This could mean the event will then automatically tend to stay the same. This could potentially leave no incentive to change or add to the event experience and it could lose some of its appeal, leaving attendees feeling like they aren’t getting anything new from the event.

In addition some companies will also be pushing to have event budgets with unrealistic costs, causing greater stress and extra work for the organisers whether in house or externally. This can really limit how the events are run and organised as overworked staff don’t have the time to really look at ways to improve and increase the experience of the event along with the revenue.

Finding the right costs and targets can be difficult to pinpoint but sometimes it’s easy to just look at what happened the previous year and do a direct copy of the event, rather than looking at the real potential of the event and what is happening in the outside world that would affect the event in the future.

How can you increase revenue on a failing event?

Sometimes it might not always be obvious why the revenue numbers drop on events. Some long standing events can enjoy years of good numbers, then they start to dwindle. Some of this can be industry specific, drop in the market for instance, but there are a number of ways you can look more carefully at your event to try and discover what is causing the loss of interest. Many events will follow the same style and setup without any changes for years. This can be a contributing factor to loss of revenue, if you are targeting the same delegates to attend your events, and every year they see the same setup and style and nothing new they can lose interest in the event altogether, try looking at a different venue, finding a more accessible locations and really look at the type of audience you have and what type of venue really suits them. Creating an engaging programme is another option, this of course is obvious but sometimes individuals can get carried away with a topic that they’ve seen banded about in the industry but is this actually something delegates want to discuss or listen to in a conference setting? Really look at what isn’t being talked about but something we all really need to be talking about and approaching slightly controversial speakers, to peak people’s interest. What youre offering the delegates and this goes for sponsors too, look at the pack you are offering them and then the price you are charging. It’s all well and good comparing the ticket/sponsorship price with other similar events but if you not offering as much as they are should you really be charging that much! At the end of the day the worth of something is only what people are willing to pay for it. Lastly look at the marketing strategy for the event, it’s easy to think you can market events in the same way as everything else but events are similar to campaign marketing. They are a product you are selling, so just opening ticket sales for months on end doesn’t mean more sales, in fact having a smaller window for the tickets to sell with some key points where you can drum up interest and really push the events works better to getting people booking, and most importantly don’t be afraid to make a change, events need to change and evolve to survive.