Typically, the costs associated with producing a virtual event are much lower than that of an in-person one. Organizers may save on the venue, food and beverage, decor, signage, travel, accommodations and more.
Pivoting online means the entire event format will change and, subsequently, a new pricing strategy is required. While many virtual events are offered for free, this doesn’t mean yours has to be.
But what should you charge?
The best way to determine a suitable pricing structure is to first create a detailed budget. Then, step outside the planning box to gain external perspective on your event; this is the best way to truly gauge the level of value you’re offering attendees. To help with this, ask yourself the following questions.
Event Production Hard Costs
1. What platform/service are you using? Many offer additional modules that can be added to your chosen package.
2. Are any third-party services required to support the virtual event like video editing, live captions or continuing education credit handling?
3. What is the process for participant testing? Are there additional costs associated with it?
4. What resources are needed to support event planning and execution?
5. Will speakers and/or participants be remote? Or will they be filmed onstage in an empty venue/studio?
6. How will attendees access the event? Is there a need for more hardware?
7. Are there additional marketing expenses?
8. Are there any speaker and entertainment honorariums?
Once all hard costs have been collated, you will have a clear idea of what your revenue targets need to be.
Value for Attendees
1. Will you offer any pre-event packages for download or home delivery?
2. What does the program/content entail? Is there a large number of credible speakers?
3. What do you expect attendees will take away from the event? For example, continuing education credits, valuable learning with one-on-one consults, new relationships with other attendees, exclusive tip sheets and downloads, and so on.
4, How long is the event? And how extensive is the programming?
5. What else are you offering?
6. How can attendees participate? For instance, is there Q&A, polling, a networking session or a chat section?
Flexible Pricing Structure
As with any event, you must be able to justify the admission price and ensure it is suitable for the target audience. Look at similar type events and attendee demographics to determine if your price is fair in comparison.
If your audience is varied, you may need to develop a pricing structure that targets each demographic differently. This may be a combination of free access for certain sessions and paid access with exclusivity for those willing and able to pay more.
If this is your first virtual event, you may want to keep prices low and aim to build a large audience with increased attendance figures. This can help gain traction for your sponsors. Once you have successfully executed a virtual experience, it will help pave the way for raising prices at the next one.
Ruby Sohi is founder and lead event planner at Royal Blue Events Management, a boutique agency that offers bespoke event planning and virtual event services. Ruby has more than 15 years’ experience and has produced events across Canada. She can be reached at [email protected].