Compared to traditional (offline) event registration, online event registration and ticketing can dramatically change how many people attend your event and when they register for it. That, in turn, impacts your cash flow, profitability and ultimately the success of your events. Online event registration can get MORE people registering for your event, in LESS time than you spend managing offline registrations, ultimately giving you a better bottom line.
Up to 30% More Attendees
No matter how or when your audience hears about your event, they do not register or buy tickets at the same time of day. Nor do they register when its convenient for you, the event organizer. Yes, some attendees might register as soon as they hear about your event, while others may ponder, research or get company approval before registering online. But audiences are like everyone else; we all have many things on our to-do list and we have to prioritize. The more convenient you can make it for audiences to register, the more likely they are to buy tickets and attend.
Our research shows that 30% of online U.S. event registrations occur outside the hours of 8am – 5pm ET. This means that if you were doing your event registration offline and required your audience to contact you directly within that time frame, you could be losing out on up to 30% of your attendees.
— Event Smart (@EventSmart) October 30, 2015
Compared to a manual event registration process, online event registration is always open, so your event registration and ticketing processes can always accept new registrants even after business hours. Your audience can register for your event whenever it is convenient for them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A 30% profit margin is decent for events. If you’re doing your registrations offline, then you could be losing an extra 30% of your revenue alone, which hurts your bottom line.
Influencing Human Behavior
Everyone procrastinates, and your audience is no exception. Our research shows that audiences delay their registrations and ticket purchases. You should understand and put some effort into managing your audience’s tendency to wait longer to register or buy tickets. The proper incentives can help manage the habit of procrastinating and convince your audience to register earlier. The earlier you can get registration and attendee headcount numbers, the better information you will have for planning and improving your cash flow.
Plan for and expect that the vast majority of online registrations will occur only a week before the ticket closes:
— Event Smart (@EventSmart) November 5, 2015
In fact, only 5% of event #ticket #sales occur 30-90 days in advance. That is a long time in advance to pay for a ticket, but some organizations open registration months or years in advance to aid in planning and generate some revenue to help finance the event.
— Event Smart (@EventSmart) October 28, 2015
When it finally comes to the last day of your ticket sale, 91% of your audience has already registered. However, it is still a best practice to send out email reminders and social media messages to your audience telling them that your registration is closing because 9% of registrations still occur on the final day. This is also an advantage of online event registration and ticketing: you can accept registrations and sell tickets up until the last moment.
— Event Smart (@EventSmart) October 29, 2015
Use Incentives to Encourage Registrations and Ticket Sales
You can use some incentives to encourage your audience to register sooner rather than later. Some ideas might include:
- Early-bird tickets for a special price. Creating a special discounted ticket for those who register early can help with planning and paying early expenses (reservation fees, etc.). Depending on the economics of your event, you may or may not choose to put a limited quantity on the Early-bird tickets. Early-bird tickets with a discount and a limited quantity should work better than those without a limited quantity.
- Promotion and Discount codes. Offer certain audiences special discount codes to use when they register. A lower price to a special audience (like college students, for example) can encourage them to register during a time of general ticketing.
- Special Tickets. Offer a limited number of VIP, Member, Vendor, Advertiser, Press or other types of tickets.
- Special acknowledgment. You can list your audience in the order which they registered to give special attention to those who register early.
- Let early registrants offer feedback on the events and give ideas.
- Invite sponsors or advertisers to donate giveaways for the first 100 registrants.
Improving Cash Flow
Event organizers need to realize that they do have some control over their cash flow. Event organizers just need the right online event registration and ticketing system to give them that control.
The behavior of audiences to delay registering or purchasing tickets online causes both challenges and opportunities. You already experience most of the challenges, but here are a few of the opportunities to improve your cash flow.
- Collect the money first, pay the expenses second. Online registration makes it possible for you to start collecting revenue before you have to pay for the expenses of the event, so you can always be cash flow positive. When you sell tickets only “at the door”, you have no idea if revenue will cover expenses until after the event starts.
- Use incentives to generate cash. In trying to increase revenue, there is a balance between offering discounts to get more registrations, and charging more per ticket to get more revenue from each participant. If you need information about your audience in addition to revenue, then it might be wise to offer a larger discount and get more registrations and information through an online event registration system. If you need more revenue from each person to cover costs, then consider a smaller discount or use other incentives to encourage your audience to buy tickets online (such as giveaways, better seating, or other non-monetary awards).
As aside about event costs: If you have an event characterized by high fixed costs (a large lump-sum you have to pay to host the event, like a venue fee) but low marginal costs (meaning, to add one more person to the event after you already have a few people attending is a very low or zero cost) then you would probably benefit from charging a low price in order to get more attendees. In this way, the large fixed cost of the event can be “spread out” over more attendees, giving you a lower average cost of each attendee.
It’s important to manage your cash flow so you’re not put out of business before your event can even happen.
What do you think?
What other things has online event registration and ticketing done to help you manage your cash flow and profit?