When it comes to pricing your event, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration. For some events, the overall goal is to get as many bums on seats as possible. If this is the case then, the big question for any event marketer, is “how am I going to get people:
a) to book in to attend the event and
b) to turn up to the event.”
In the quest for simplicity, it is easy to default to “offer free tickets”, especially if you do not have a cash-flow problem. However, rather than free, perhaps a better solution could be “low cost”.
We have all received an invitation to a free event in the past and most likely we signed up, whether we were keen or not. At the end of the day, if you are unable to make it, you are not at any loss. This impacts on the perceived value of your offering.
However, even charging a nominal registration fee of $5 or $10 encourages the invitee to think about your offering in a more detail. It is unlikely that this fee will be a deterrent, but no one likes throwing away money and you will make them question whether they do genuinely want to attend or not.
The same goes for attendance on the day (or night!). If you have not paid a fee in advance you will think twice about whether you want to attend, especially if you have had a hard day or it is cold and wet outside!
Ultimately, you know your audience better than anyone else – and you will come across situations when free is the best solution. Before you make any pricing decisions, consider whether low cost might help you achieve your goals more.