As with any event, working out the cost of a ticket for a virtual event is not an exact science but needs to balance several considerations. These include factors such as:

1. The hard cost of organizing and running the event

Some virtual events have no hard costs. Others can have many, such as speakers fees, sophisticated technology, marketing and more. Having a detailed budget will help you establish this early on in your planning.

2. The industry and audience your event is targeting

If you are planning an event for tour operators, it is safe to assume most of them will not be able to shell out money to attend it. Other industries, however, might have benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmaceuticals and healthcare, e-commerce and home entertainment have reportedly experienced an increase in business since lockdown started.

3. What value you are offering

If you are sharing information or content that your target market is hungry for, you can probably push your cost up a little more.

While you consider all of these factors, keep in mind that you can also be creative about how you manage the ticketing. For example:

1. Ask your attendees to pay what they can

You can suggest amounts for them, or allow them to decide what amount they want to pay – keeping in mind that this could be R0.00.

This approach removes the financial barrier to attending your event. At the same time, it gives you an insight into what value people have assigned to your event (which is useful when you are starting out in this space), and bolsters your brand image by showing that you are sympathetic to the situation that many people are in due to COVID-19.

Another way to do this is to ask attendees to pay what they think an event is worth after they have experienced it. weshowup is a ticketing tool that allows events to do just this.

2. Offer tiered pricing

This can be done in a few ways. For example, you can offer free or inexpensive standard tickets and more expensive premium tickets. To justify the price difference, your premium tickets need to offer added value such as exclusive online meet-ups with the speakers, improved networking opportunities, hospitality boxes and swag.

Another option is to have tiered pricing for the same ticket, as with early bird tickets. Bench Events, the team behind the Hospitality Tomorrow virtual conferencing series, have been creative with this approach. Their first event was free-to-attend and drew an audience of 5,343 hospitality decision-makers from 128 countries. This gave them a huge database to market their follow up events to. Their third event, Africa Tomorrow, has three prices based on when delegates buy their tickets, as well as a fourth and free option for Africans and Africa based businesses. This will bolster attendance from the region, and improve the quality of the event’s discussions and networking.

3. Find a sponsor

A third option is to find a sponsor who is willing to cover the costs of the event so that it can be free-to-attend. Not only will they gain a reputational boost in the eyes of their target market, but this is also a useful way for them to gain a relevant database and other useful data through surveys and questionnaires.

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