Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 01 2016

How To Make Your Next Registration Discount Seem Like A Better Deal

Carolyn Clark


Early bird savings, discounts for booking within the official housing block, refer-a-friend-to-attend offers — the convention industry offers plenty of coupons in an effort to increase registration numbers. In many cases, those offers can be difference-makers for budget-conscious attendees paying their own way to participate in a conference. And even for attendees who have approval from their bosses for the expenses, limited-time discounts can help ensure they book early.

All discounts aren’t created equal in an attendee’s mind, though. Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of Business and keynote speaker at Convening Leaders 2016, says that consumers have different attitudes about financial offers depending on how they are presented. For example, consider a meeting with a registration fee of $1,200. To entice prospective attendees, the organization decides to reward anyone who books within the 30 days a discount of $300, a 25 percent discount. So how should that email subject line read? Save 25 percent on registration for the Annual Meeting, or should it read, Save $300 on registration for the Annual Meeting?

WATCH: Jonah Berger’s Convening Leaders General Session (Free For PCMA Members) 

Wait, some might say, does it even matter? After all, the amounts are the same. According to Berger, there is an important difference. It’s called The Rule of 100. “The Rule of 100 says that under 100 percentage discounts seem larger than absolute ones,” Berger writes. “But over 100, things reverse. Over 100, absolute discounts seem larger than percentage ones.”

With Berger’s rationale, the $300 discount will seem like a better deal to attendees. As you’re outlining potential discounts for your next meeting or conference, be sure to keep The Rule of 100 in mind to help motivate your audience to enter their credit card information and secure their seats for your experience. 

SEE ALSO: The Most Memorable Quotes From Convening Leaders

Interested in more insights from Berger? Check out the video below for his thoughts on how you can harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing (and no, he’s not just talking about social media) to build a bigger buzz about your meeting.

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