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6 Discounts That Can Drive Event Attendance

Posted on Mon, June 1,2015 @ 14:55 PM

You needn’t look further than Black Friday, Amazon’s Gold Box promotions or January white sales to know that discounts drive sales. Your event, assuming it has a cost, is a sale. Do you use discounts to promote it and maximize attendance?

Good registration software provides multiple options to create special offers meant to drive your volume of attendees or how quickly you attain them or even who you sign up. Here are six types of discounts proven to boost attendance – and more.

Early-bird discounts

One of the most popular discounts for programs and events creates one or several price breaks based upon arbitrary (ideally, well-publicized) registration deadlines. This, in turn, fosters a sense of urgency among potential event attendees, many of whom might value the benefit of attending an event for less cost in exchange for an earlier commitment.

These deadline-sensitive discounts not only can increase attendance, but most event planners greatly appreciate getting registration revenues as early as possible. In addition, having a large number of early registrations can be used to further market the event with pitches extolling how many have already signed up or expressing that a limited amount of openings are still available.

Group discounts
Another common event discount, group discounts, provides a price break based upon the number of attendees signing up from an organization, family or some other grouping. It could be a parent signing up four siblings for the price of three at a summer camp, or an office manager getting a discount for registering 10 employees to a conference.

Similar to volume discounts in retail, this discount makes the buyer feel they are getting a deal by purchasing in larger quantities. The event fills seats faster, with potentially happier attendees.

Series discount
If you provide multiple events, an effective way of offering a discount is to package them as a series and make the total price of all events for those buying the series reflect a lower price per event. If each of your series of five events cost $25 apiece, for instance, you might offer the entire series for $100. A variation might market buying the first four events and getting the fifth one for free.

Again, the benefit of this kind of a discount is delivering a value-added deal to your customers while you boost attendance and get revenues much earlier than just prior to each event. It can also increase attendance at one of the traditionally less popular events that becomes part of the series package.

Special code discount
Who hasn’t typed in a special code to get some sort of discount online? In the event world, it could be tied with other discounts, like those mentioned above, or it could simply give the registrant X% or $X off of the regular price of attendance.

The beauty of special codes is that they are tangible, kind of like finding a Willy Wonka bar with the golden ticket. Event planners use various marketing tools (e.g., email, direct mail, social media) to get the codes in front of prospective attendees, and the select recipients feel valued, even special, and often compelled to give the event a closer look.

Specified segment discount
An effective discount, albeit targeted, offers a price break or something else of value to special segments of the event’s prospective attendees, such as students, senior citizens, members of the military or veterans.

These discounts might help you reach a demographic your event struggles to attract. They might simply give a discount to someone who needs it or has earned it. They certainly will build goodwill with the segments you target, and in many cases, even with attendees who don’t receive the discount.

Member discounts
Most organizations with a membership component offer discounts to their members attending their events. This not only encourages attendance from the members, it encourages others with an interest in the events to become members. The beauty of member discounts is that on occasion, to drive participation of non-members (perhaps as a means to influence them to join), the organization can offer an event with special “member pricing” for non-members, sort of a non-discount discount.

Those represent six of the more prevalent, more effective discounts used by events to encourage registrations. Now the zinger – many events combine multiple discounts to promote attendance. Be warned, though – while some registration systems can support combining more than one of these discounts, most cannot.

Use the Comments section below to share your thoughts on event discounts, including what works for you and what doesn't, plus any other tips you might have on the topic.

If you would like to know more about event discounts, registration software or ABC Signup, please send us an always-free email or give us a call, toll-free at 866.791.8268 ext. 0.

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