Pricing anything–your event included–is a big decision. Hopefully we can help make it a little easier. Your goal is to charge what you think people will be willing to pay, based on what they expect to get out of the event.
Millions of tickets were sold through Ticketleap last year and the median price was $20. For an event up to three hours, this median holds up pretty true across categories. If you’re hosting a longer event, like a conference that lasts a day or over a couple days, the range is $200 – $3000, with most falling at $500 or $1,000. But those are averages. For your event, use these building blocks as a rough guide. Have a cool venue? Add $5. If you’re serving drinks add $5 – $20. Food? Another $5 – $20. If you have a speaker or other paid talent add $5 – $15 depending on their popularity. If you’re teaching a skill or helping them get a customer, or adding value in some other way, just charge what you think it’s worth.
If you have a marketing budget and can invest some of it in events, you can subsidize the cost of a ticket. We tried this last month for our Spring Wing Phling — we charged $10 for all you can eat and drink wings and beer. And it worked! 130 people registered and it was our first sold out event. If the purpose of your event is marketing, you’re probably asking: is it right to charge anything at all? Here’s how I think about it: If you’re hosting a meetup or a networking event in your office, it should probably be free. But if the event is centered around a specific experience that you plan and put together, charging for admission is appropriate and expected.
Another factor in the free debate is no-shows. We ran the numbers and found that even charging a nominal amount greatly impacts the chances that someone will show up. Only about half of free ticket holders will show up compared to 86% if you charge $10 or more. In fact, if you charge $5 you get most of the way there.
Whether you’re investing marketing dollars in your event or you’re running it at a profit, the key thing is to make it sustainable, because your events will grow your community, and that’s something you’re going to want to make a habit out of.