You are likely familiar with the pay-as-you-go model of cloud computing. The idea is to charge for technology services much like utilities are billed. Users are billed for only the computing resources they use as opposed to paying a flat license fee to own and use the software or service. This model has proven to be more cost effective for organizations with inconsistent needs in terms of computing and storage power, allowing them to scale their use up or down as the work demands. Now, this same idea is making its way into the training and event space.

A survey of healthcare professionals found more than three-quarters of respondents would only participate in a meeting that could show a good return on their investment of time and money. Measuring that ROI can be tricky, but attendees across all industries tend to look to events that provide:

  • Unique content
  • Face-to-face networking with peers
  • Interactive sessions
  • Personalization

Measuring these areas is not always quantitative. Many organizations are embracing ROO, or Return on Objectives. This is a more flexible approach that allows stakeholders to define what they want to get out of and event -- the main objective of attending, a certification earned or a piece on information gained -- and at the end, see if that expectation was met. This type of measurement is particularly helpful for events that are education-driven rather than sales-driven. A number of leads or sales is an easy metric to track with ROI, but how do you put a number on the knowledge gained or a certification earned?

Taking this look at objectives, it becomes clear that one-size-fits-all pricing may not work for all events. Perhaps attendees just want to attend for one day, or maybe they are only interested in a single track. There may be some who only want to attend the exhibit portion of the event. Tiered packages that are designed around attendee objectives can meet the needs of the varied audiences.

In a dramatic move, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) has said that attendees of their Experience Design Project (XDP) conference in April 2019 can decide if they will pay the registration fee after attending based on the learning experience. While this may be an extreme interpretation of pay-as-you-learn, the value in building goodwill among attendees by showing the event has a vested interest in their ROI can pay off by building an attendee base that trusts and values the organization. These attendees will be more engaged with the content and strengthen the overall event experience.

What methods are you seeing (or would you like to see) in event pricing? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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