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Special Event Pricing: The In-Depth Guide

Event venue owners understand that pricing is one of the most critical factors to consider when it comes to attracting clients and increasing revenue. Special event pricing is especially crucial since events such as weddings, corporate functions, and other unique occasions often require a custom pricing strategy to meet the client’s expectations and budget.

The big question, however, is how can event venue owners determine the perfect pricing structure to attract clients while ensuring profitability?

In this article, we explore various factors that event venue owners can consider when determining special event pricing.

Popular pricing strategies for special event pricing

  1. Bundling or Package Deals

Package deals are a popular pricing strategy for special events, particularly weddings. Bundling deals typically include a variety of services, such as catering, decor, entertainment, and more, all for one fixed price. This allows clients to see the full cost of their event upfront, without having to worry about additional charges.

  1. Tiered Pricing

Tiered pricing is another pricing strategy that can be effective for special events. This involves offering different levels of service or amenities at different price points. For example, you could offer a basic package that includes the venue rental and basic setup, a mid-level package that includes catering and decor, and a premium package that includes all the bells and whistles.

  1. Minimum Spend

A minimum spend requirement is another way to structure pricing for special events. This involves setting a minimum amount that clients must spend on food and/or beverage, and possibly other services like rentals, in order to book the venue. This can be an effective way to ensure that you’re making enough money on each event, without having to charge high venue rental fees. It also accounts for smaller groups, who may otherwise rent the space for the same amount of time, but rack up much less in décor, catering, or other services.

  1. Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing is a more advanced special event pricing strategy that involves adjusting prices based on factors such as demand, seasonality, and time of day. This can be particularly effective for venues that host a lot of corporate events, as demand can vary greatly depending on the time of year and day of the week. Dynamic pricing also helps account for seasons with very high demand like weddings in the summer or the winter holidays. Because of the high volume of events being planned, businesses may have to turn down events planned during peak seasons. Dynamic pricing allows for some of that lost revenue to be recouped while keeping pricing for other times of the year lower.

  1. Discount Pricing

This strategy involves offering products or services at a lower price than usual for a limited time. It can be used to stimulate sales, attract new customers, or clear out excess inventory. Discounts can be offered for any individual service or a complete package. Consider a discounted wedding package in the winter months or a discount to décor services when also adding lighting or A/V to the package.

  1. Promotional Pricing

Promotions such as “buy one, get one free,” “limited-time offers,” or “flash sales” are common promotional pricing strategies. They create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to make a purchase quickly. Promotions can also be advertised on your venue profile on sourcing platforms, like the Cvent Supplier Network or Wedding Spot. For hotels, advertising not just these promotions, but also links to tools like Passkey can play into pricing strategy.

Passkey allows hotels to save time on booking room blocks, but also allows hotels to add optional upgrades to guest room blocks. If a hotel is holding a wedding with 16 rooms booked under the block, the hotel may be able to generate additional revenue through add-ons like adding a day or two on either end of the reserved dates or a bucket of chilled champagne in each room.

  1. Price Matching

Some businesses offer price matching, where they match or beat a competitor’s price to attract customers. This strategy helps businesses stay competitive in the market, and ensures venues are building a positive reputation with clients.

  1. Seasonal Pricing

Seasonal pricing involves adjusting prices based on specific seasons or events. For example, hotels may offer lower rates during off-peak seasons or increase prices during holidays or popular tourist seasons. While similar to dynamic pricing, seasonal pricing often only changes once or twice a year, say setting a peak season from April to September and an off-peak season from October to March. Dynamic pricing, on the other hand, can change more frequently if the venue desires.

  1. Membership Pricing

This strategy involves offering discounted prices or exclusive deals to members of a loyalty program or subscription service. It helps foster customer loyalty and encourages repeat purchases. This is great for venues like golf courses and country clubs, who are often acquainted with membership deals for other goods and services they provide.

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Common pricing options for corporate events

Corporate events are a big part of the venue business, and pricing strategies for these events can be quite different from social events like weddings. Here are some pricing strategies to consider for corporate events.

  1. Daytime Discounts

Many corporate events, such as meetings and conferences, take place during the day. Offering discounts for daytime events can be a way to attract more business during slower times. This could involve offering a lower venue rental fee for daytime events, or offering discounted packages for events that take place before a certain time.

  1. Weekday Discounts

Similar to daytime discounts, offering discounts for events that take place on weekdays can be a way to fill your event calendar during slower times. This could involve offering lower rental fees or discounted packages for events that take place Monday through Thursday.

  1. Flexible Pricing

Corporate events can vary widely in terms of size and scope. Offering flexible pricing options, such as tiered pricing or a la carte pricing for different services, can be a way to accommodate different types of events and budgets.

Special event pricing for weddings

Weddings are a unique type of special event that often require their own pricing strategies, separate from those for other social events. Here are some strategies to consider when pricing weddings.

  1. Seasonal Pricing

Wedding season typically runs from May to October, with peak season falling in the summer months. Consider adjusting your pricing based on the time of year, with higher prices during peak season and lower prices during the off-season.

  1. Weekend vs. Weekday Pricing

Most weddings take place on weekends, which not only leaves venues with a lopsided schedule, but might require more coordination and increased staff. Weekday weddings are more likely to be shorter, less intricate, and generally smaller. Venues can capitalize on this by offering discounts for weekday weddings, or charging a premium for weekend weddings.

  1. Additional Fees

Weddings, more so than most other social events, are large and often require additional services, such as catering, decor, and rentals. Make sure to factor in these costs when pricing your venue rental fee, and consider offering package deals to make the process simpler for clients.

Things to consider when deciding on special event pricing

  • Local market value. One vital factor in determining special event pricing is to analyze the market and understand the current trends and pricing strategies deployed by other event venue owners. By researching the local market, event venue owners can gain insight into the average pricing structure, which they can use to determine their pricing strategy. This information can be obtained by visiting competitor event venues and checking their pricing brochure or online reviews.
  • Competitor pricing. Event venue owners should compare their pricing structure to those of their competitors to identify gaps and areas where they can improve. By evaluating the pricing structure of their competitors, event venue owners can match or beat their prices, while ensuring adequate profitability.
  • Client budget. Incorporating the average client budgets into pricing strategy is essential to attracting clients and providing them with their desired services at an affordable price. As such, event venue owners can offer discounts, packages, or add-ons to tailor their services to the specific needs and budget of the client. Clients may have different budgets allocated for different events, and event venue owners should have different pricing structures that cater to the needs of these clients.
  • Additional services and add-ons. Event venue owners can also add different services into pricing, such as catering, decorations, or professional photography. These services may be bundled into the special event package or offered separately. Adding these services can create a value proposition for the client, and they may be willing to pay more for the bundled services compared to the summed cost of individual services.
  • Discounts. Event venue owners should understand the impact of discounts on their business. Offering discounts can help attract clients, but it can also reduce profitability. As such, event venue owners should analyze the impact of discounts on their pricing model to determine whether it is worth it or not. Discounts should be communicated to clients as temporary promotional offers to avoid hurting profitability in the long term.

The A’s to your special event pricing Q’s

What is a special event pricing strategy?

A special event pricing strategy is a pricing strategy set for special events, like corporate benefits, weddings, anniversaries, holiday parties, birthdays, and more. It often involves offering discounts, promotions, or unique pricing arrangements for a specific purpose or target audience.

Special pricing strategies can include:

  • discounted pricing
  • promotional offers
  • bundling
  • price matching
  • seasonal pricing
  • membership pricing
  • dynamic pricing

These strategies aim to stimulate sales, attract customers, create urgency, foster loyalty, and/or optimize profitability. By implementing these temporary pricing approaches, businesses can achieve specific objectives and stand out in the market.

What is prestige pricing?

Prestige pricing, also known as premium pricing or image pricing, is a strategy where businesses set higher prices for their products or services to create an image of exclusivity, luxury, or high quality.

This concept relies on the belief that consumers perceive higher prices as an indicator of superior value or status. By pricing products or services above the average market price, businesses aim to position themselves as upscale or prestigious brands, appealing to consumers who are willing to pay more for the perceived enhanced status or quality associated with the higher price tag.

In the case of special event pricing, this might be done by country clubs, museums, or hotels trying to establish themselves as the gold standard for events in the market. Often, these venues will choose to cater to a higher-income clientele and may host fewer events in order to maintain this reputation.

Maximize your revenue and create a successful special events business

Pricing special events can be a challenge for venue owners and managers. However, by using these pricing strategies, you can create a pricing structure that works for your business and your clients. Whether you are hosting a corporate event, a social event, or a wedding, there are pricing strategies that can help you attract more business and increase your revenue.

Remember: it’s important to be transparent with your clients about your pricing structure and any additional fees or charges. Always make sure to communicate clearly about what’s included in your packages, and be upfront about any fees that may apply.

Up next, find out how event planners charge for planning services as well as our guidelines to set the right price for your event tickets for even more pricing information!