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Event Data Measurement and ROI

Event Data Measurement and ROI

Early Bird Pricing Strategy: The Logic and Science Behind Scarcity and Value

14 Aug 2018 | RainFocus | 3 minutes

Early Bird Pricing

Though the evolution of virtual and hybrid events has changed how event teams set their event pricing, early-bird pricing offers remain popular — especially for flagship events. This tried-and-true approach of offering discounted rates for registering earlier rather than later enables event teams to more strategically plan and market their event.

You’ve likely heard the expression “People want what they can’t have.” Often the availability of something shapes our their desire to obtain it. Scarcity can appear in a variety of forms: supply limits, overwhelming demand, or, in the case of early-bird pricing for events, limited-time offers.

Setting a deadline on the availability of that discounted attendance package creates a sense of scarcity. Attendees know they must act fast to obtain the desired lower price before it is no longer available. No attendee would refuse a discounted registration, so early-bird pricing is a significant perk for engaged and excited attendees.

Optimizing Event Registration Costs

Early-bird pricing strategies are fantastic for attendees who register in time to take advantage of the discounts. It’s not so great for those who don’t — and this result is entirely by design.

To offset the sting of missing a major initial discount, many event teams use a strategic registration timeline that offers multiple discount deadlines. If a registrant didn’t take advantage of the first round of early-bird discounting, they can still obtain a certain amount of discounting all the way up until the start of the event. Based on RainFocus data from thousands of industry-leading events, we’ve created a blueprint for event teams to help them plan the most effective early-bird pricing strategy.

The Blueprint for Early Bird Pricing Strategy

  1. Limited-number launch: Begin with a small number of registration packages with the highest discount. Offer it as a perk to VIPs, repeat attendees, or the public, depending on your event specifics. Ensure availability is based on a strict, highly visible supply limitation.
  2. Early-bird deadline: Next, offer registration packages at a lesser discount. These are generally available the moment registration opens (or after a launch special is sold out) until a specific expiration date. These discounts might range from 10% to 20% off the standard pricing to give registrants significant savings. End dates for early bird rates vary, but they are commonly about two to three months before the event takes place.
  3. Pre-show standard: The pre-show standard rate is offered before the event begins. Despite the benefit of a discount and the scarcity of an early bird offer, the majority of event registrations generally happen in this discount tier.
  4. On-site premium: For last-minute registrants, many events offer on-site registration options at a substantial premium. On-site registration packages often carry an increased cost of 15% to 20% over the standard pricing. For the organization holding the event, this pricing tier offers two benefits: It encourages earlier registration by showing the sharp premium for late sign-ups. Second, the higher price acts as an anchor for what attendees expect a full-price package to look like. In turn, lower prices seem even more favorable — even if they are actually your standard full price.

Discount Data Tells a Story

An early bird pricing structure helps you identify your most engaged attendees and provide them with immediate value from the moment you launch registration. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is an infinite number of learnings you can glean from early registration. For example, you might begin to see trends in session preference or job role. Whether attendees register early or on-site, the key to successful registration is using these insights to personalize experiences at scale.

RainFocus makes advanced personalization for your possible with a dynamic platform that instantly turns registration responses into meaningful recommendations. Learn more about the platform’s registration capabilities to unlock new ideas for enhancing your attendees’ registration experiences.