Okay all-inclusive events. This is the fork in the road for most first-time organizers - should I or should I not? But before even getting into the details of which hotel or Airbnb, you must first answer this question. Will I include hotel and food in my ticket price?
I'm not gonna lie, it sounds so good to attendees when the price is all-inclusive. It sounds good to anybody when they hear all-inclusive. All-inclusive resort, all expense paid trip, everything included. Sounds good doesn't it? It usually means that you don't have to come out of your pocket for any extra expenses. And although it sounds good for the attendees, as a first-time organizer, there are so many unknowns that can sink the profitability of your live event. In this post, I'm gonna show you why you should say no to planning an all-inclusive event.
Do attendees really care? Why yes they do. They prefer all-inclusive pricing. Unless there's someone who is obsessed with saving money and would rather stay at a lower grade hotel or eat at fast food restaurants, attendees prefer all-inclusive. Before you start to plan an all-inclusive event, here's a caveat. If the content of your live event is what the attendee is searching for, they will look past the non-inclusive price and attend anyway. This is why I stress the importance of nailing the content of your event. Yes attendees attend events to connect in real life and be inspired and collaborate and feel rejuvenated. But if you put all of that aside, what they're really coming for is to learn! If your content and educators can convince them to buy, then they won't care about the other expenses.
What if I don't sell out? This is a reality that you need to consider and the main reason why I tell organizers to say no to all-inclusive pricing. You can do everything right and still not sell out. Life's not fair. If you paid for that Airbnb for 12 attendees, and the personal chef for all the meals, and you only sell 9 tickets, that's a big chunk of your profits. You'll be lucky if the chef changes their price. And we know, Airbnb would not refund you any money.
Ultimately, you're financially responsible if you don't sell out. It's better to research nearby hotels, choose the best two or three, schedule room block codes and pass those savings along to your attendees. This way, they know ahead of time what the prices are and will book with one of the hotels or find a better rate at another location. There's nothing like searching for hotels in an area that you're unfamiliar with. By doing this, you would have set the bar for the attendee experience. You can also do something similar for eateries or restaurants as well. Instead of including their meals, research restaurants that have a private dining room and would charge a per person rate without any minimums needed.
This way, attendees can have a wonderful dining experience without going to the Panera Bread or Chipotle. No shade, but when you think about the attendee experience, you won't necessarily gravitate to an eatery that can be found anywhere.
When you plan your first live event, part of your focus should be profit. One of the ways to do this is to not include elements that can interfere with profitability. All-inclusive events tend to do that because you are financially responsible if you don't meet your minimums. Yes there are ways around this but planning your first live event is overwhelming and stressful enough. It's best to not add to your plate. Concentrate on launching a lean, impacting and simply-planned, but profitable live event the first time and you'll be just fine.