How to Develop an Event Pricing Plan

Wondering where to price meeting tickets? This five-step plan breaks it down

As a meeting planner, the last thing you want to hear attendees say is, “That event wasn’t worth the price.” You want to make guests feel like their money was well spent. In other words, you want to bring them value.

Of course, “value” means something different to everyone, and converting meeting potential into one concrete number can be challenging. But the reality is that ticket prices can turn a “Maybe” RSVP into an “Absolutely, Yes”—which means you need to get it right.   

When it comes to developing a pricing plan, these steps will help you arrive at the sweet spot:

1. Determine your break-even point. 

The venue, food vendors, décor, marketing initiatives—throwing an event can be an expensive (but worthwhile!) enterprise. Selling tickets is an opportunity to recover those expenses, plus some. But in order to do that, you need to know the exact cost of what it takes to bring your event to life. So, take a look at the budget, and add up each expense. This number is your break-even point, or the amount you’ll need to make to cover the cost of the event. At their lowest, tickets should be priced to match this number.

2. Decide on the targeted profit.  

Of course, many clients, especially those hosting Promote events, don’t want to just break even; they want to make a profit, too. The question is: What are the meeting’s revenue goals? “Making as much money as possible” might seem like the easy answer, but that doesn’t allow for realistic forecasting. Break down your goal profit margins, including what percentage of that number is projected from ticket sales. Then … 

3. Identify a realistic ticket sales goal.

The last key figure: how many tickets you intend to sell. If your venue holds 200 people, for example, expecting 300 people to purchase tickets is setting up your meeting for failure. Besides venue constraints, consider audience needs. Is the event targeting a niche audience? Are sessions designed for smaller groups? Either scenario is fine; it just means attendance is likely to be smaller. The more realistic you are about how many people are likely to attend, the more likely that you’ll reach your meeting’s—and client’s—revenue goals. 

4. Research how other events have handled ticketing.

Although setting ticket prices is largely based on the individual meeting figures discussed above, it’s also important to see how other events are dealing with ticketing, too. For instance, did entry costs at similar industry events resemble yours? And did their meeting agendas offer the same value? Whether the answer is yes or no, you’ll have a better understanding of how meetings operate in your industry, as well as what attendees are willing to pay for.

5. Crunch the numbers.

With all of the above information in tow, it’s time to finally set a price point on admission. So, do the math. And if that number comes out to ticket prices more expensive than competitors’ prices, then so be it. What attendees are looking for is value—and as long as the price tag aligns with what your meeting is offering, you’ll be on par to achieve attendance and business goals.