Backstage Pass, a community event for event organisers in its seventh session was dubbed The $ Edition. Why the theme? In our interactions with the events community, we found that one main issue that remains a top-of-mind concern for organisers was budgeting.
How can an organiser make more and save more money for events?
Two organisers of homegrown events and a pricing expert gave us the inside scoop into how they did so based on personal insight and real experiences at the cosy Caribbean enclave that is Lime House. Brace yourselves, there’s lots to discover.
Ellen Goel, Organiser of Adult Playground
Globally a first of its kind, Adult Playground will see 22 outdoor activities spread across Siloso Beach on Sentosa for a day of fun and sun, with gourmet food trucks and a music concert to boot. With a mix of many elements and hence vendors, it’s not only a logistical but also a budgeting challenge. Ellen has three tips to share on budgeting:
1. Understand what sponsors value. In pitching for cash sponsorships, vendors may not always be interested in simply having their logo up on your event banner. Oftentimes, they’re looking for something more substantial like having a physical presence (i.e. booths) at your event or in placement of coupons in goodie bags. Sponsors are also looking for something exclusive (e.g. for Adult Playground, it could mean having the exclusive use of an outdoor activity for 30 minutes), or an advertisement space in your emails, event page, or website.
2. Engage your existing partners and build strategic partnerships to co-promote your event! Understand who your event’s audience is, where they’re usually at, and what they value as you consider who to partner. This essentially grants you additional marketing at low to no cost as you ride on your partner’s database.
3. Write a really good press release about your event and send that out to media. If you’ve got a novel event concept, media will pick up on it and be more than happy to publicise it for you online for free. Adult Playground was covered by four major online media outlets even before ticketing information was released. The amount of media coverage received helped to direct so much traffic to the Adult Playground site that 180 volunteers were garnered within two days of publicising a call for volunteers, with more on the waiting list.
Clarence Chan, Organiser of The Bandwagon Music Market
The Bandwagon Music Market, in its second year running, was a sold-out gig with an eclectic mix of the best of Singapore’s live music, art, flea-marketing, vinyl shopping and food! Interestingly, The Music Market was free in its first year but ticketed this time around, yet Hard Rock Cafe was still packed to its brim with a unanimous thumbs-up by all who attended. How did Clarence pull the event off and make it a profitable one? He has five tips to share:
1. Build the community. You can consider providing useful content or engaging with your community on social media. This helps them feel like they know you and sets a different tone when you invite them along to an event you organise. It’s like having a friend invite you to a party as opposed to a stranger.
2. Know the objectives. Make your event’s decisions in line with them. Clarence kept it simple at two objectives: To gather the community and provide them with an event that delivers value for their money, and at the same time create brand awareness for Bandwagon.
3. Be yourself (D-I-Y if necessary). You do not need to run after having every element that other events have, as tempting as it may be. Stick to what represents you. People who attend identify with you (not some other brand’s event) so being yourself can also help to build a very loyal fan base.
4. Be ready to walk away. Once again, know your objectives and stick to it! In negotiating with vendors or partners, if they’re not in line with your event’s objectives, then have faith to walk away from it.
5. Meet in person. Having a long string of email exchanges cannot compare to the efficiency and effectiveness of meeting with a vendor or partner in person.
Bonnie Spalding, a pricing expert
With over a decade’s experience in pricing and marketing strategy within the hospitality and entertainment sectors, Bonnie has three tips on creatively pricing your events to increase ticket sales:
1. Ensure pricing reflects your goals and reflects value for your target audience. You can do so by clearly knowing your objectives in these three areas: Budget (not a factor, break-even, maximise profit), Purpose (gaining exposure, to inform or educate, to create a community, to create a premium and memorable experience), Audience (who are they, and what will they value?).
2. Make pricing fair with strong fencing and positive messaging. Once you understand your event’s objectives, learn to create strong fences amongst your attendees, vary pricing according to how you’ve segmented them, and convey that value to ticket buyers. There are three ways you can fence your attendees for events: The type of customer (repeat attendee, student, group versus single tickets, social media followers), the time of reservation (early bird versus at-door pricing), and the ticket package offered (seating location, meet & greet, goodie bags included, VIP offerings).
3. Make ticket purchase easy. Cut the number of ticket options, help attendees envision their future experience at your event with meaningful descriptions that conveys the value they’ll receive for the price of the ticket, and be aware of how the perception of price can have an impact on the eventual decision to purchase a ticket.
Now, it’s your turn!
Out of these thought-provoking snippets and tips on making and saving more money for events, which do you see as applicable to your indie event? Run through the above tips again, tick them off a checklist if you will, and we’ll throw in some virtual cheers to you managing your next event’s budget well.
Keen to attend our next community event and meet with other organisers at Backstage Pass? Join us on our mailing list below to be first to know, and check out previous Backstage Pass sessions here.