44 Tips For Maximizing Revenue From Virtual Events
6. Allow breaks in the schedule so people can visit the exhibit hall.
"We've exhibited at some events where the presentation schedule was so packed attendees did not have time to visit the exhibit hall," he says. "Create some gaps—some time to encourage people to go to the hall and interact." Aouriri says a public address mechanism, which sends an announcement letting people know the exhibit hall is open and there will be no sessions for a given period of time, is a good idea.
7. Be cautious about giving away booth space.
While booth space can be used as a "value ad" for partners or association members, "a person's natural tendency is to not take the project as seriously as [they would] if the organization had dropped a couple thousand [dollars] to attend," Aouriri cautions. You want booths to offer real value in the form of live staffing and educational materials, and this requires real commitment from sponsors.
8. For the same reason, consider charging for attendance.
"If you charge for attendance, you generally get less attendance than if it was free, but your registration ratios are significantly higher," he says. If you do charge, he adds, seek a "sweet spot"—an amount not so much as to push people away, but enough to make them take attending seriously. He recommends $25 as an amount that confirms a commitment, but fits neatly within nearly everyone's expense account.
9. If you do charge, try tiered attendee access.
As with physical shows, you can offer VIP registrations that include total access, and other levels that may restrict access to some sessions (but always allow entrance to the exhibit hall).
"That's been an effective way to balance monetizing valuable content, while at the same time adding value to our exhibitors … because we want to try to get them as much traffic as possible," he says. Tiered registrations also allow producers to set up multiple registration fields and collect different types of information from each category of registrant.