Thinking about ditching your early bird rate for your event? Think again

The “early bird” rate has been with us as long as we’ve had paid for events. And the reason they are still with us? Well, it is because they are so useful.

In this post I want to make sure you are making the most of your early rates.

This post will be really useful if you are planning to ditch your early rates, or introduce them, or simply looking to refresh those early rates.

Early bird? Or early booking rate?

Firstly, let’s call them what they really are, they are early incentive rates to book. Secondly let’s state how important these early rates are when you are running an event!

I look at these early incentive rates and advise organisers to consider their use for four main reasons:

  1. They provide a very good way of gaining revenue early in the planning process for an event.
  2. They can be used to give an early indication of the likely final number of attendees.
  3. To offer those, who are particularly price conscious, an opportunity to join for a reduced rate.
  4. They can be used, post early rate deadline, to allow certain groups or individual attendees to attend for a “discount”

As you can see, these rates clearly have a place in most events as they carry out four very useful tasks for the organiser. So let’s break them down to make sure you are getting the most our of them.

Earning revenue early, especially for a new event, is a great way to reduce the risk profile for your event.

Cash flow can be an issue for any event.

Also many of the things we need for an event have to be paid, in part, before your event takes place.

So use these discount rates if you want to bring in some money early, or if you really NEED some cash coming in early.

How many people are likely to attend? If you incentivise people to book early and no one books, then you may have to reevaluate your estimated number of attendees.

Likewise, if you have a good low price and the bookings flood in, you can up those anticipated numbers. An early incentive to book rate, can help you level out and sense check your likely final numbers.

Some people love a good deal. There can be no doubt that some of your attendees will react well to a clear price incentive. We all know people who are discount hunters.

An early rate allows these people to feel they have found a great deal: and this is very important for a good number of your likely attendees. Incentivising with a discount, really ticks a box for these guests.

I very often suggest that organisations extend their early booking rate.

Organisations can do this either formally or informally.

A formal approach would be an announcement that “our best early bird rates have been extended for 48hrs / 1 week / etc.” This is a great way to extend the value of the incentivised rate.

You should only do this if you haven’t reached your early booking target. There’s no point giving away cheaper tickets when you don’t need to!

More informally, organisers can keep this rate available, using it more selectively, perhaps, for example, targeting those past attendees who haven’t yet booked.

Early rates really can boost your event!

So make sure you keep those rates and as importantly, make sure you get as much out of them as possible.