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:
- They provide a very good way of gaining revenue early in the planning process for an event.
- They can be used to give an early indication of the likely final number of attendees.
- To offer those, who are particularly price conscious, an opportunity to join for a reduced rate.
- 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.
At the Event Innovation Summit in Barcelona in October a charming Spanish Gentleman and I got speaking about hashtags. As you do! He said he had seen the Event Innovation Summit hashtag being used and advertised but wasn’t sure exactly why the organisers and everyone else would use it. I very briefly said they are great and I have been going on about hashtags for a while!
We then started talking about EIBTM. He said “how can I get the most from the #eibtm? I said that would depend form what perspective he looked from. Was he talking as:
- an attendee
- an exhibitors
- a speakers or
- the organiser
Using EIBTM as an example he wanted to understand exactly how a hashtag if used properly could add value to his next event. I said I would drop him a note. And here it is in Blog format. I’ve looked at how each stakeholder could use the event hashtag to best effect.
How to get the most out of the #eibtm (or any event) hashtag
Now I am using the #eibtm hashtag as a live example but the outline really could be relevant for ANY event hashtag.
And I will look at how each stakeholder can use the hashtag to get more value from the event. With one week to go to EIBTM I would love to see an increased awareness of how useful the tag could and should be. So please feel free to forward on the Blog.
So first up and most importantly: how attendees should make the most of an event #tag
1.Use it to keep up to date. As we build up to the event the hashtag is a great way to find out more about the event in an easy, hassle free way. At a large event there is a lot going on. If you want to stay on top of what’s happening simply FOLLOW THE HASHTAG. Following the #tag is easy. Just type it into the search function in Twitter and save the search.
2. Use it to help you network. Most of the people and organisations using the hashtag in the run up to the event will be attending. You can use the #tag to help make the most of your time at the conference.
– Is there anyone who is ‘talking your language?’
– Is someone they tweeting about the areas that you want to know about?
If so why not contact them and ask to meet up? The hashtag is a great way to open up communication with people outside of your network who have similar interests.
3. Use it to help you decide what to do at the show. You have a whole host of choices at a show the size of EIBTM. It is impossible to go to every stand or to see every speaker. So use the hashtag to help you make those decisions. If you aren’t sure about a session why not see if that speaker has tweeted using the hashtag? (in the speaker section below I will cover what they should be tweeting about) If they have tweeted I would say he/she is more likely to have put more effort into their engagement and involvement with the show. The same goes for exhibitors. As an attendee I will be using the hashtag as a pointer to the sessions I should attend and the stands I should visit.
How speakers should make the most of an event #tag
1. Use it to provide more learning. It is unlikely that any speaker is really able to get everything over to those gathered to listen to her during their short session. So use the hashtag as a way to point to extra content. It’s a great way to get people to do a bit of prep before they attend your session – perhaps a blog on the issue you are covering or other content related to the session.
2. Use the hashtag to engage with your audience. Jump on the hashtag and use it to check and tailor the content you are covering. Ask your potential audience. After your session use it to see if you missed anything out of your session as well as highlighting more content related to your session.
3. Use it to promote your session. You want the right people at your session so use the hashtag to tell people who that is and why they should attend your session.
How exhibitors should make the most of an event #tag
1. Generate leads. Follow people who use the hashtag. Retweet their great content. Start engaging with attendees before the event. Try to make sure that the people who arrive on your stand already know who you are and more importantly that you have taken the time to know who they are.
2. Shorten your sales pipeline. Use the hashtag to see who is attending the event. You won’t have a complete list from the organisers so use the hashtag to find out. Find out a bit more about their business via their Twitter profile. Contact them if they are relevant, if you think you can really help them. With this proactive approach you could have them arrive on your stand to discuss the proposal you’ve already worked on.
3. Don’t just highlight that you are taking a stand but highlight why people should seek you out. Upload links to content using the hashtag. Demonstrate that you understand your clients business by commenting and retweeting.
Use it to prove that you are committed to your customers and serious about doing business at the show.
How organisers should make the most of an event #tag
This is the simple part. As organisers we can add so much value to our events if we lead on use of the hashtag. This link explains how organisers can best use the hashtag in detail.
But in general all we have to do is promote the benefits (like I’ve listed above) to our stakeholders. When people use our hashtag there is so much in it for us so we have to put that bit more into it. We have to educate and inform. And most importantly we have to lead and demonstrate that we really know what not only we are talking about but what our attendees, exhibitors and speakers want to talk about.