Call us +1 464 222 9660

Blog: Event marketing

How to handle complex event pricing

4 June 2024 minute read

Andrew Green
Technical Director

For many events, ticket pricing is perfectly simple – you set a price, and that’s what attendees pay.

Perhaps you might extend this by having a few different rates for different kinds of ticket, or by introducing an early bird price. Or you might include free tickets for invited speakers or VIPs.

But at the other end of the spectrum, some events need quite sophisticated pricing that depends on multiple factors. You might have different rates for members vs non-members; industry vs public sector; OECD vs non-OECD countries and so on …

Your organisation might need complicated pricing, but your job as an event manager is to somehow make it simple for every one of your customers to register.

The first rule of marketing is ‘make it easy for the customer to buy’.

Registration pages that force people to look things up, or even email you for help, will lose you precious attendees.

When it comes to pricing, you don’t want your registrant to have to self-declare the price bracket they feel they belong to. And you don’t want them to have to scroll through endless options and check-boxes either.

Your registration flow should understand the pricing model, however complex, and apply the correct fee automatically based on the registrant’s inputs and the prevailing conditions.

Achieving this in practice can be tough. But at AttendZen, we’ve made it as straightforward as possible. Our registration flow allows you to create any number of pricing rules, that can be based on any fields and conditions from your registration form, and are dynamically applied as your prospective attendees fill them in.

It works in exactly the same way as our form’s conditional display logic. You set conditions based on fields, combine these together, and apply an effect as a result.

As with everything in AttendZen, once you’re familiar with how one thing works, you’re up to speed on all of it. Hence the ‘Zen’.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

1 You’re a member organisation and you want to provide a 50% discount to members

There’s usually more than one way to do things – and here, you could have a separate members-only ticket type, with conditional logic applying a mandatory membership number lookup field to the form, so that anyone choosing this rate is validated against your event CRM.

But that wouldn’t be ideal if you also want to offer a range of other kinds of ticket type – a virtual-only ticket to a hybrid event, for example. Or, if you wanted to detect members based on their attendee email address rather than having them type in a membership ID.

Pricing rules to the rescue!

Here, you’d define a rule set where the effect is to apply a 50% price reduction to all attendees in the booking, regardless of ticket type. You’d then set conditions so that the rule is only applied where the booking has a valid membership number, or if the email contains any one of a list of valid email domains.

Hey presto! Your members get the benefit of a discounted rate, automatically applied.

Image of Pricing rules options for ticket price adjustment

2 You need to apply different pricing to different attendee demographics, based on both industry sector and country

Here’s where things can get really tricky without a nuanced system like ours.

Let’s say you’re running a major international medical conference, with variable pricing for medical professionals, patient groups, industry suppliers, and general sales. You have both in-person and virtual-only tickets available. And for general sales you want to offer a specific rate to attendees from low-income countries, based on World Bank classifications.

One way to apply this pricing would be to require prospective attendees to choose the rate from the pricing table they feel they belong to, and then following-up on any discrepancies later by email. But fixing those discrepancies will be a major pain.

Instead, you could set up pricing rules to take care of it automatically from the information you’re already collecting in the form.

First you’d add an attendee category field to your registration form. You’d then create a set of pricing rules, where the conditions are set based on the ticket type and the attendee category, where the effect is to apply the appropriate rate for that combination.

You could then duplicate the rules for general sales and add a further discount that applies only if the booking country is one of those specified by the World Bank data. Our rules are applied in sequence, so the later rule can be set to override the earlier one.

It takes just a few minutes longer to set up, but immediately it makes your registration flow vastly more intuitive and robust.

3 You want to provide sponsors with two free tickets, while allowing them to buy more

This is a fairly common scenario. As part of the value you’re offering to sponsors, you’d like to include a limited number of free tickets to the event.

You could set up a sponsor rate ticket type, hidden from the public registration flow, and set to only allow a couple of attendees per booking. You’d then send invitations to sponsors that are locked to that ticket type.

But typically you’ll also want to encourage sponsors to buy additional tickets at the normal rate, at the same time as claiming their free places. Or, you may already have a variety of ticket type options, and you’d like sponsors to be able to claim a couple of free tickets for any of them.

Our attendee rules can be applied to a limited number of attendees per booking, and one of the conditions can be that the registrant is an invitee, regardless of ticket type. So, you’d still send invitations to your sponsors, but with pricing rules in place that would set the ticket price to zero for just the first two attendees on the booking.

And just like that, your invitees can now claim their free tickets by clicking the link in their invitation email, while paying the normal rate for any other attendees they add to their booking.

And by combining rule sets, you could even offer a discounted rate to the other attendees at the same time.

AttendZen’s pricing rules give you total flexibility and control.

Image of Pricing rules effect

4 You want to offer a super-early-bird rate, and have more expensive last-minute pricing

Our ticket types have a built-in option to apply an early-bird price. But what if you want to add tiered early-bird pricing – with an even lower super-early-bird rate, and a higher rate for anyone wanting to register just before your event starts?

Here, you’d set up pricing rules where the conditions include the booking date. One rule could apply before the super-early-bird deadline, to give a $50 discount on top of the regular early-bird rate. Another rule could add a 10% surcharge to any bookings made after a certain date.

5 All of the above, all at once

There’s no limit to the number of rules you can put in place, and rules can both override and add to prior rules in the sequence.

So, if you need to offer a rate based on industry sector and country, that’s also half-price for members, and has a $50 super-early-bird discount, with two free tickets included – with AttendZen you can.

Automatically, seamlessly, and instantly.

And our experts are always on-hand to help support and guide you with setting up your event on AttendZen to work precisely according to your needs – no matter how complex.

There are plenty of good commercial and social reasons why your event might have a complex pricing structure. But there’s no reason why you should ever have to pass that complexity on to your attendees.

AttendZen’s pricing rules allow you to have as many combinations as you need behind the scenes, while making it easy for your customer to see their exact price and register effortlessly – using only the questions you were asking them anyway.

That’s event registration the smart way.