This year, companies in every region of the world expect to spend more per meeting and event attendee than in 2015, according to American Express Meetings & Events’ 2016 Global Meetings and Events Forecast. In North America, higher food and beverage costs will drive a 4.5% increase in cost per-attendee, according to the Global Business Travel Association’s 2016 Global Travel Price Outlook.
So, more than ever, it’s critical to save on event costs and prove your return on investment to your senior management.
Are you looking for ways to save money on your meetings and events? Did you know that, aside from saving money, you can boost your event revenue, too?
Here are 5 ways to save, and actually make money, on your next event:
1. Sell ad space to your sponsors and vendors – and in return give them solid data on leads!
If you adopt a mobile app for your event, you can sell digital ad space to sponsors and exhibitors. And you can charge a premium if you can demonstrate that a majority of your attendees are downloading – and using – your app. Offer buyers opportunities such as a logo on every page of the app, banner and footer ads, splash page ads, enhanced listings (for example, in an online directory, you can include links to an exhibitor’s home page or to their content), and branded features (such as the agenda). In return for their ads, provide exhibitors up-to-the-minute data on lead generation (including biographical and behavioral data). In order to do this, your event app must be able to track and identify leads. It should also be able to notify sponsors of opt-in leads in real-time via a variety of communication, for example, social media direct messages, emails, and text messages. Also, can your app generate direct messages to interested buyers?
2. Sell gamification participation to vendors or sponsors.
In a recent survey by Pew Research Center, 53% of people surveyed said that, by 2020, the use of gamification will be widespread. And gamification is a good way to spur your attendees to use your app. Are you running gamification at your event? If your games encourage or reward attendees to visit certain exhibitors, for example, preferred vendors or new suppliers that you want attendees to check out, offer those suppliers the chance to pay to play.
3. Go green … and save.
Back in the day, you had to spend lots of money printing out agendas, session descriptions, abstracts, surveys, press releases and speaker bios. Plus, once your event agendas were printed, it was very difficult to update them if something changed during your event, for example, if you had to replace a speaker. But now, if you use an event app, you can upload your content and make it available to attendees in digital format. Aside from meeting content, attendees can easily access area information, hotel details and venue maps. The greater your printing costs, the more you’ll save. At Zerista, we’ve helped clients with big printing bills save tens of thousands of dollars by distributing content digitally on their event app.
4. Sell special events and content.
Sell event merchandise (e.g. hats, T-shirts), and special events (like a black-tie reception or a paid panel discussion). While you can sell merchandise any time during the event, it’s best to offer access to black-tie events and special panel discussions at the point of registration.
5. Keep your app working after the event.
Make the most of your app investment—use it as a year-round engagement with attendees and to market future events. Try these tactics:
- Design an online survey focused on capturing attendees’ feedback. This is a great way to involve your audience post-event as well as learn how you can tweak and improve your next gathering. Don’t forget to promote your survey – via push notifications and email.
- If you have content that wasn’t available during your event, for example, presentations, now is a good time to upload it. Like your survey, send out notifications that new content is available.
- Your attendees will want to take home new contact information, uploads, and session material to share with their bosses and network, what can be called a “Trip Report,” or “Library.” Make sure they remember all this great information is still there and available for the downloading. Again, push notifications and emails are your best bets for communicating.
- Drive continued interest in your event – and in any upcoming events – by linking Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn feeds to the app. You can post such things as results from polls on favorite sessions or speakers, event pictures (asking attendees to tag themselves), fun facts and top restaurants for upcoming event destinations, and news about keynote speakers and sessions for your next event.
Yes, meetings and events are more expensive these days. But you can drive savings and make money at your events, especially if you use a mobile app to promote your event to sponsors and exhibitors, as well as engage attendees.
How are you reducing the costs of your events and boosting the revenue stream? Please share your strategies here!