Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

May 24 2013

The Risk: Charging a Hybrid Registration Fee

By Mary Kane Reynolds, Senior Director, Experience Marketing

If you have been following our journey with hybrid events, you know that PCMA doesn’t just take risks with its face-to-face experiences.

We have tried some things that have worked really well – live messaging boards with each session – and some things that haven’t – expecting that everyone is as comfortable with technology as we are.

We have noticed a steady increase in attendance, in engagement, and satisfaction with our events. We also have noticed that the media is more interested today in our hybrid events than when we first started.

So, since we are PCMA and we take risks so that you don’t have to, we are taking a new risk this year. We have determined that in order for you to be able to prove the value of live streamed events beyond brand awareness, new customer engagement, and increased face-to-face attendance, we must include a registration fee for our Education Conference hybrid experience.

Am I nervous that people will be upset since we haven’t charged a registration fee in the past? You bet.

But if we can’t try another monetization avenue in addition to sponsorship revenue, we can’t help the industry learn and advance.

We valued our hybrid experience according to the recent VEI benchmark report, gave members a 20% discount and tried to incentivize adoption with an early bird rate. It’s 25% of the average cost of one day of face-to-face attendance and includes 6 clock hours of education. We may have undervalued it – fearing that we might create a barrier for at-home viewership, so that may be a takeaway for us post-event.

Will this work? I don’t know.

I do know that we will learn something from which you in the meetings industry can benefit. I know that people value our education, they have been appreciative of our live streamed events, and I hope that this change will not impact attendance or satisfaction.

Curious to how our experiment went, find out here

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