Tactics for Building Profitable Events
Schwartz, who is accustomed to servicing a very different community, says attendee costs could range from $50 for a smaller, one-day event to $2,000 for a three-day event.
However, the big dollars come from sponsorship. “A three-day cornerstone sponsor might pay $200,000 to show up at one of our events,” she says. “Others pay between $50,000 and $75,000 depending on the level of interaction they’re looking for.”
Schwartz says it’s all about how much time those sponsors get to spend with their audiences. Sponsors desiring just a tabletop display might only pay $5,000.
“But we want our sponsors to go in and secure 20 appointments with potential clients. So, for a cost of about $30,000, sponsors get a ‘birds-of-a-feather’ table for lunch, where they are matched up with appropriate persons,” she says. “At the highest levels, sponsors get speaking opportunities as well as [access] to sought-after database lists.”
Expect the Unexpected
Just because sponsors are in place and attendees have registered, odds are that something will go wrong.
“In some ways, the event business is like show business,” says Howell. “You don’t really want to look behind the curtain to see the chaos.”
With such chaos often comes disaster, adds Howell, who suggests hiring events experts who know what to anticipate.
Schwartz agrees. “Murphy’s Law applies to events,” she says. “You’ve got to think about things like the weather in certain cities and hotels not meeting your expectations. All of these factors can affect your bottom line and your brand.”
She recalls the first year her group planned an event only to discover it was up against another huge trade show going on in the same city. When it came to hotel space and travel arrangements, a lot of hurdles had to be overcome.
“It’s just a matter of taking things in stride,” says Schwartz. “But if there is value in the event, people forget that the chicken didn’t taste good.”