When it comes to meeting and event discounts, we have a tendency to attach an unintended stigma to our discounts. Although some types of discount categories are not stigmatized (such as member vs. non-member), others carry an underlying message that some people are not able to afford the full value of the event. This message leads to the risk that those we are hoping will participate in our events will feel that their inability to pay makes them somehow worth less than others.
There is an opportunity here not simply to “spin” this, but to genuinely engage potential meeting attendees and prospective association members by placing a positive pricing lens on underrepresented groups that provide valuable voices to our communities and conversations. Consider introducing new pricing categories that show that the contributions of these underrepresented groups are worth more, not less, and emphasize that the contribution of these voices is more than financial.
Examples of this could include the following.
Industry mentors: This pricing category could be offered to retirees. Baby boomers are starting to retire, and this could have a significant impact on event attendance if this group does not see an important and valued role for themselves. Associations that want to keep this significant group participating in events should begin developing strategies to ensure that this group feels appreciated.
Valued voices: Many events offer discounted rates to individuals from less affluent groups or regions. Instead of offering discounts based on their inability to pay the full rate, offer them preferred pricing in recognition of the rare and important voice that they bring to your event community. This reinforces the value of diverse contributions to an event and acknowledges that different perspectives together in a meeting enrich the experience for everyone.
Click here to read more about improving the use discounts to boost attendance, engagement and room block pickup, while improving social and environmental performance.
And if you’re participating in IMEX-America in Las Vegas, consider attending Monday’s session “The Evolution of Strategic Meetings Management,” where you’ll learn how to best work through the process and also hear details about MPI’s forthcoming SMM initiative.