Event Ticket Pricing Strategies [Guide]

How much you decide to charge for tickets can make or break your event. If you price tickets too low you will cut into your profit margin. Low cost tickets may also lead to low perceived value from your audience. On the other hand, high priced tickets may more than cover your costs and yield profits, but only if enough people buy them. And if your event is priced higher than similar completing events, you’d better be able to demonstrate the increased value. Either way, you still have fixed expenses related to those attendees and need to ensure you’ve got your budget covered in a minimum sales, average, and sell-out scenario.

In this guide we will cover proven strategies to help you determine your ticket pricing strategy, and ensure the financial success of your event.

Pricing Plan

Determine your Break-Even Point

Before you start thinking about pricing, you should know your numbers. Use our budget template to calculate your projected expenses and revenues. You then have an educated perspective on how much your tickets should cost in order to cover the expenses.

Research Other Events

Research other events in the market that are relevant to you:

  • Similar events, regardless of their location, may provide you with a good idea in regards to size, attendance, and pricing.
  • Similar events near you, which might compete against your event. Why would people choose to go to your event, instead of a competitor’s?

Understanding the competitive space will give a good indicator on the range of ticket prices you should consider and the expected attendance numbers from similar events.


Ticket Sales Forecast

Based on your previous events and your competitor’s, you should be able to come up with a realistic sales forecast. How many people are likely to attend the event? How many people can the venue hold? Once you find this number, you can divide it by the Break-Even point found earlier, in order to calculate the minimum price you should sell your tickets for in order to pay for all expenses.

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Pricing Strategy

Once you have determined how much you should be selling your tickets for, draft your strategy to sell the tickets. Here are some different event ticket pricing strategies you may consider.

Early Bird Pricing & Tiered Early Bird

There is no surprise here: early bird sales are the easiest way to create awareness about the event and push sales in the early months of promotion. You can create a multi-tiered early bird strategy to push for even more sales. Here is an example of how to use the multi-tiered early bird structure:


First 50 tickets at $100

50-100 tickets at $125

Regular price at $175

 

One thing to keep in mind is that you should never extend your early bird rate. By doing so, you are training your audience to wait, instead of acting, which is the whole point of the early bird strategy.

Timed Batch Ticket Pricing

Similarly to tiered early bird, you can create a tier based on milestone dates. You can create as many tiers as you wish, adding price increases as it gets closer to the event date. Make sure the increases are significant enough to make people want to purchase it early. An increase of at least 10% is recommended. Here is an example of timed batch ticket pricing:


Purchase by March 1st at $100

Purchase by March 14 at $125

After March 14, regular price at $175



Odd/ Even Pricing

This is an old marketing trick we all have heard of. Prices ending in odd numbers, such as 5 and 9, tends to outperform even numbers in terms of sales. Whether this is old psychology trick or the real deal, it doesn’t hurt to try. You can test this strategy in different events to compare the results.

It’s important to note that you should avoid cents, and stick to a whole number. For example, $75 or $79 instead of $70.95. The price with no decimal numbers is perceived as lower, even though it may not be.

Bundled Pricing

If you are offering different purchase options, bundled pricing may work for you. You can create perceived value by adding multiple items into one bundle at a reduced priced compared to having all items purchased separately. This is also a good way to motivate purchase of add-on items, such as meals, transportation, accommodation, activities, parties, and more.

Up-Selling

If you don’t want to increase the total cost by using the bundle price, you should consider up-selling after the ticket purchase. That means you focus on selling the tickets for your event, and contact them later to up-sell other items, such as meals, transportation,  accommodation, etc. This way you can guarantee the event ticket, and worry about items with lower margins later.

Ticket Discount Strategy

Weather you give a percentage discount of a fixed dollar amount, a discount can make all the difference based on the perceived value of the discount. Follow the “Rule of 100”, which uses percentage discount for ticket prices under $100, and dollar amounts for prices over $100. Here are some examples:


Ticket price

Discount (%)

Discount ($)

Better Option

$10

20%

$2.00

20%

$20

20%

$4.00

20%

$100

20%

$20

$20

$500

20%

$100

$100


 

Use Scarcity To Drive Demand

If your audience knows your previous event was sold out, chances are they might feel rushed to get their tickets early for the next event you host. With this in mind, you may even choose a smaller venue to host your initial event as a strategy to increase demand for future events. Don’t forget to announce the selling out situation when promoting a new event to encourage your audience to move quickly to secure their tickets.

Offer a Top Tier Ticket Price

Having a premium ticket package alongside other cheaper options may create the impression of making lower price tickets seem more attractive, and therefore increasing demand and pushing sales. Even if you don’t sell too many of the higher ticket price, this can actually help with regular priced tickets. The VIP offers, which may include exclusive access perks, will appeal to a segment of your attendees who are looking for the best.

Promo Codes

Create promo codes for specific segments that can help push sales through referrals. For example, you can create a special code for your speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors, so they can share the event with their audience. This will help increase your promotion reach, as your “partners” will be promoting directly with their audience, who might not necessarily know you and your event. Partners will feel more motivated to promote the event knowing they are offering a benefit to their audience, while also strengthening the relationship with you. Provide them with assets to share on social media to easily help with the job.

Similarly, you can create promo codes for niche influencers in your industry, so they can share the event with their audience.

Last Minute Registrations

If space is available, make sure to offer tickets on the day of the event. Just be careful not to drop the prices, as this would be sending the wrong message to your audience (you don’t want them to wait until last minute for your next event, do you?). Just before the event make sure you reach out via social media, email lists and press releases to catch the attendees who are interested, but still wait until the last minute to register.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a number of strategies you can use to ensure a sell out at your event. Select the options that match your event goals and make sure to have a detailed plan in place to price and promote ticket sales with your audience over time. Promotion through email, social media channels, your speakers, and online advertising are a few ideas that help spread the word. Make sure to send different ticket pricing messages for each milestone, including early bird and any other pricing changes, and keep your audience updated on the sense of urgency to purchase their tickets before your event sells out!

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