Planning and hosting an event is a financially-intensive process. To offset this financial burden, most event planners charge a small fee in the form of event tickets. This guide will look at what an event fee is, why you should consider charging it in your events, and how to price your tickets appropriately.
What Is an Event Registration Fee?
An event fee is an amount you pay to attend an event, either in-person or virtually. This fee is usually charged through a ticketing platform that you can access online, at a designated physical location, or at the event itself.
Event fees help planners cover overhead expenses such as food and drinks, logistics, accommodations, and paying labor expenses to the production staff, entertainment team, speakers, and vendors. Some event planners may also charge a fee to encourage more attendance since people are more likely to attend an event they paid for than a free one.
Why Should You Charge an Event Fee?
Fundamentally, event planners may charge a fee so that they can cover the cost of running the event. However, there are other reasons you might want to charge people to attend your events.
In a nutshell, an event or conference fee:
- Allows you to offer a higher-quality event experience
- Makes your event seem more valuable
- Encourages more people to attend your event
- Makes it easier to promote an event
Allows You to Offer the Best Event Experience
The primary reason for charging an event fee is to allow event planners to offer a high-quality experience for attendees. This experience comes in the form of the following:
- An immersive event venue
- Enticing food and drinks
- Renowned and authoritative speakers
- An expert event crew
- A captivating entertainment team
- Reliable vendors
- A competent security team
- Comfortable accommodation facilities
- Top-notch event production
Most of these require money, and planning and hosting a memorable event may be challenging without ticket sales offsetting some of those costs.
Makes Your Event Seem More Valuable
One of the main reasons why people attend virtual events is because they want to receive access to valuable information easily. This is also true for in-person and hybrid events, however, these types of formats usually come with a cost. Whereas, virtual event experiences sometimes have no registration fee.
Surprisingly, charging an event fee might give potential attendees the idea that your event is more valuable than a free yet similar event. This is one of the reasons why virtual events may not always work. In psychology, this is known as comparative value and refers to how people are more likely to see value in expensive things than cheap or free things.
People who believe they will get value out of your event will be more willing to attend.
Encourages More People to Attend Your Event
Another psychological reason why a conference fee might be beneficial is that it encourages more people who register to attend the event. Why? Because we are innately predisposed to not waste their money.
An interesting piece by the Harvard Business Review titled Pricing and the Psychology of Consumption describes how people are more likely to commit to things they pay well for than cheap or free things. According to the article, the more we pay for things, the more likely we are to see them through.
So, based on this concept, when people pay for your event, they are more likely to attend than if they don’t pay.
Makes It Easier to Promote an Event
There is another psychological phenomenon at play here. We’re referring to the concept of urgency used in marketing. Here’s how it works.
Assume you have an event fee and offer a 20% discount on tickets for the next 24 hours. By doing this, you will achieve two things simultaneously:
- You give people the feeling that they are getting a good deal and entice them into buying tickets
- You create a sense of urgency which encourages more people to buy tickets before the offer expires
Implementing this kind of marketing technique is not possible with a free event unless you offer a non-monetary incentive.
How to Charge for an Event
So, now that you know how beneficial charging for an event could be, how should you go about it? Pricing is an art; you need to be very methodical about it. To strike a good balance between attendance and profit from ticket sales, you will need to:
- Understand your target demographic
- Factor in your costs
- Learn from competing events
Understand Your Target Demographic
Who will be attending your event?
Students? Business executives? Teenagers? Identifying your target demographic will make it easier to design a pricing model that they will be able and willing to pay.
Charging students or unemployed teenagers the same way you do business executives could reduce ticket sales significantly for your event.
Factor in Your Costs
Write down a list of everything that will cost you money before, during, and after the event. Add the costs to find an approximate figure of how much you might spend. Make sure to include contingencies.
Next, determine the approximate number of people you expect at the event. Finally, calculate how much you would charge each attendee to cover all event costs or the portion of the costs you are looking to cover. If ticket sales are your only source of income, you can charge more to allow you to make a profit.
Learn From Competing Events
Alternatively, you can research similar events and then charge as they do. Of course, you will want to consider other costs specific to your event.
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure you don’t charge way higher or lower than the average event fee for similar events in your area.
If you are looking for a competitive event partner and producer to help with strategic pricing, feel free to reach out to us or check out our event solutions.
Are Event Fees Taxable?
In most cases, sales from for-profit event tickets are taxable. However, the taxability might vary depending on factors such as your State and the type of event. For instance, some US States might tax tickets for charity events while others will not.
The event fee is the money that event planners and producers usually collect to help them cover the costs of running the event. This fee can also encourage more people to attend the event, portray a sense of value, and unlock more strategies to market the event.