The last QEIICC Masterclass was entitled ‘Maximising Revenue’ so our latest blog is from William Thomson – the chairman for our event.
He gives us the event highlights as he saw them:
My stance is that maximising revenue (but within the context of still providing great events) is not a choice but a commercial necessity. It is such a crowded market place that we have to be efficient just to survive.
Scott Taylor from Glasgows gave an excellent talk on what a good city should do for the proactive organiser. The key message for me was clear. If you take an event to a city you are doing something that benefits that city, and it should be treated more as a joint venture. It was very good to see that a majority of the audience hadn’t come across this approach before; we all learned something of great use right at the start of the day. The take for me was to ask “what support can the venue or the city offer me?” – “Subvention for my convention” is how I will remember it.
Scott showed us two things. The minimum that you can ask for is that the city covers and pays for the welcome drinks and provides welcome maps and tourist information for free. The maximum you are likely to get was the myriad of things Glasgows did in the Parkinson’s case study.
Tom Eeles did an excellent job of helping us look at our events from a different perspective. And as a man who doesn’t organise events, he certainly knew a lot about them! He had some great ideas to make our events more engaging for our delegates and to try and reignite their passion. If you can get delegates to remember the reasons why they entered the profession early at a conference you can be guaranteed that you will have a livelier more engaged audience for the whole day and the delegates will be much more open to learning. So take Tom’s advice, and think about how you can engage your audience and remind them of the passion they once had.
I remember Tom’s expression. “I am a Magpie. I see stuff I like, I copy it, and I don’t mind people copying me.” As event organisers I don’t think we go to enough events. Our own events don’t count! But other events; random events; different events; bigger or smaller events do. So go to more events and be a Magpie. We should fly into these events, have a look round, take what we like and then fly back to the office and use the ideas.
I asked Tom for his key take home message and he said: “don’t be scared to do something different” and I couldn’t echo that any louder.
After refreshments and the show round we had a great session from Rebecca Burgess. There were a lot of suggestions on extra income from online content. As sponsorship was a requested theme of the day there was a focus on what would be good to sponsor and there were plenty of examples, not just online. We all agreed that the “good idea” to increase value for the delegate has to come before the need to raise the revenue through sponsorship: we shouldn’t be adding things just to raise revenue. The key is finding the things that add to the day for the sponsor at one end, that generate income for you on the other.
Richard Busby gave what could only be described as a sponsorship tour de force and it was clear his session was the highlight for many delegates. It’s about adding what is of value, it’s not listing what you physically offer (handouts, pop up’s etc). Think about the types of things you can offer. I love the Hampden Park example of offering them meeting space (low cost to Hampden) but of value to BT. The phrase “money can’t buy you this” is a strong one!
As event organisers you know how important it is that our events add value and have a lasting impact on our roles. So what I would like you to do is write at least ONE action and preferably THREE things that you will do following the seminar. And as importantly when you will do them. Here’ my three: – When offering sponsorship offer the meetings room as part of the deal (from now on) – Contact the Manchester Tourist Board and ask them to cover our drinks reception in February! (on Monday) – Take the prices off my sponsorship packages (on Monday)
William Thomson has a book that may be relevant for readers – the book is titled: “Successful Events for Not For Profit Organisations”
See what he does at: www.gallusevents.co.uk
Email him: William@gallusevents.co.uk
Follow him: http://twitter.com/williamevents
Read his blog: http://community.eventmagazine.co.uk/blogs/williamthomson/