5 Ways to Increase Event Profit Without Limiting Delivery

In 2024, the average cost of putting on an event or festival has increased by as much as 30% in some cases. This presents a tricky dilemma to event organisers. Do they pass this cost straight onto attendees by hiking ticket prices? Or make cuts to their budget, significantly impacting the attendee experience? 

For many organisers, the events they put on are a labour of love – as any live music or festival lover the atmosphere and community spirit a well run event can create is like nothing else. The last thing they want to do is compromise on delivering this, or their creative vision, but with increasing financial pressure, many feel their backs are against the wall. 

We don’t think this is the case. In this article, we provide our top strategies for having your cake and eating it when it comes to delivering a show-stopping and financially stable event. 

1. Additional Revenue Streams 

It’s easy to jump straight to ticket sales when considering revenue streams for your event, but this is not the way forward. Ticket sales and pricing is important, of course, that goes without saying, however it shouldn’t be the only way your event generates revenue. 

Shifting your focus from ticket sales to other revenue streams in your event budgeting plan offers your event an array of benefits. By taking a more holistic approach to driving revenue, you are able to explore new avenues that not only improve your bottom line, but actually enhance your attendees experience, rather than detracting from it. 

Look to generate revenue through other channels you may not have previously considered. Some key areas to consider include: 

Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities 

Event sponsorships and advertising opportunities not only offer additional revenue for your event, but also free promotion for it (assuming your sponsors promote their sponsorship) and the opportunity to build relationships with key brands in the industry. For newer independent events and festivals, affiliation with well known brands can also boost how your own brand is perceived (increased trustworthiness and industry status? Yes please!) 

If you’re considering introducing this strategy to your event, consider the following: 

– What is it you’re offering? – Brands sponsor events for a multitude of reasons and chances are your event will lean naturally towards one or two more so than others. Will partnering with you give them access to a huge audience? Will it give them the opportunity to launch their brand to a new audience? Or will it help with their CSR (corporate social responsibility)? 

– Extending your sponsorship package beyond the actual event – Can you bolster your offering with social media promotion, pre-event collateral or online presence? All of these things will make sponsoring your event more appealing to brands. In an IEG report on sponsorship opportunities, they found only 2% of sponsors did not plan on leveraging social media in their sponsorships, and this is only increasing as it becomes more and more prevalent at events. 

Subscription Models and Membership Opportunities 

Many of the festival and event industries’ flagships offer membership programmes or subscriptions and you should too. 

By offering a monthly subscription or annual membership cost, not only are you generating additional revenue and increasing your event profit, but you’re also creating a community of die-hard attendees and delivering an enhanced experience. 

In the lead up to the event, this may include early access/early bird rates to book tickets and activities, access to year round updates on event planning, access to exclusive content from acts/performers (think video intros, setlist teasers etc.) or clues to access ‘secret areas’ of the event, like Glastonbury’s Rabbit Hole

While during the actual event this may look like access to ‘members only areas’ or priority for certain aspects of the event e.g. entrance queues. 

Brand Activations

Brand activation opportunities are increasingly becoming commonplace across pretty much every industry, including events – and they are definitely not something to be slept on. 

By introducing brand activations, you’re creating a stronger bond between your attendees and your event. Guess what that means? More loyalty, more repeat attendees and more enjoyment of the event itself and when those three things are all working in harmony, you can almost guarantee your event profit will benefit as well. 

Consider introducing brand activation campaigns that truly generate a buzz, whether that’s introducing an element of absurd fun (take Lipton’s slip and slide), or jumping onboard the VR bandwagon with an out of this world experience (like Eminem and The Weeknd’s VR music video),  the more memorable, shareable and re-tellable your brand activations are, the more impact they’ll have and the more attention they’ll garner your brand across social media. 


event budget template guide

2. Upselling and Premium Offerings 

Steve Jobs was right when he said ‘People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.’ Upselling/Cross-selling is not a new concept to most businesses, however in the world of events, it is still a very underutilised revenue generator. 

In most industries, it is true that for businesses it is cheaper to retain and grow existing customers than it is to go out and find new ones – the same can be said for events. Not only is this a more cost effective strategy, it’s a more effective strategy period. Forbes suggests that there is a 60%-70% probability of successfully selling products/services  to existing customers and a 5%-20% probability of selling to new customers. 

Below are a few upsell strategies to consider: 

– Priority event entry to avoid long queues when all you want to do is get amongst it

– Premium locations (E.g. camping locations for festivals), because no one wants to be miles away from the action 

– Access to cloakroom facilities so attendees aren’t inhibited by bulky bags or coats 

– Lounge access to get away from the hustle and bustle for a period of time

– Backstage passes to see behind the curtain 

– VIP experiences for those looking to enjoy the event, while experiencing a touch of luxury (Coachella’s VIP ticketing nails this one)

In addition to what you’re offering, you want to think about how and when you’re offering it as well. For example, Passage found that attendees were willing to pay up to 80% more on upsells online vs at the door.


3. Invest in Better Event Budget Management 

There are two key parts in your event finance equation – revenue and costs – and creating a financially successful event requires a careful balance between both. While we’ve looked so far at strategy to grow revenue, you can also increase event profit by looking to reduce costs and no, we don’t mean scaling back your event. 

In a lot of cases, if you are looking to cut costs, the answer can be found by looking at internal processes and minimising wastage and overspending – you do not need to reduce your delivery of the actual event at all, just make sure that you are managing your budget correctly. 

When it comes to effective event budget management – you need to ditch the spreadsheet maze. We know it’s hard to hear, but apart from it being a full time job trying (and probably failing) to keep them up to date, they’re a breeding ground for inaccuracies, siloed working between departments and overspending without realising.

When dealing with budgets as complex and variable as event budgets, you need your budget management software to integrate seamlessly with your other tools, from your ticketing system to your accountancy software to ensure your data is always up to date and accurate. 

The best in class solution to manage your event budget management is a dedicated event budget management software like Eventwise. This will not only give you access to real-time data allowing you to make better decisions in order to increase your event profit, but also allow you to plan scenarios based on the outcome of different revenue driving efforts. For example if your ticket sales skyrocket, or you land a huge sponsorship deal, you’re able to effectively map out where that additional revenue will be allocated. 


Eventwise Demo


4. Incremental Improvement and Innovation

Understanding what matters to your attendees is critical to delivering a successful event and allocating budget to where it will deliver the biggest bang for its buck (and if you do have to cut back in certain areas, you can do it in the areas that will least impact your attendees overall event experience). In order to do this, you need to: 

– Remain up to date with the latest initiatives, technologies and trends in your industry. 

– Make sure that you’re constantly re-evaluating your agenda and offerings – so you’re delivering in the areas that will have the most impact with your attendees. 

By driving innovation in these areas, you can evolve, innovate and meet your attendees desires, without necessarily having to add more line items to your budget. 

One challenge in executing this is having access to the hard data you need to make these decisions. The best way to do this is by evaluating previous budgets and reports from your previous events. While you are analysing this data ask yourself the following: 

– Is there an opportunity to capitalise on buyer behaviours? 

– Is there a specific feature of your event that drives purchases? Can you include this more? 

– Was there an aspect that you planned that delivered minimal impact? 

In order to gain the best insights, you should look for a platform that offers multi-event reporting, which will save you significant time and effort in uncovering these nuggets of information. 

5. Network and Relationship Building

As in all walks of life, event planning and budget management is to an extent who you know, not necessarily what you know. Therefore, it is important to leverage your network to build better ongoing relationships with suppliers and partners. 

If you have multiple events in your portfolio and have been working with a particular supplier for a prolonged period of time, or plan to continue working with them, it is worth considering exploring whether you can leverage multi-event discounts. Of course, this hinges on being able to plan longer term as if you can forecast accurately for multiple events over multiple years, it is far more attractive to potential suppliers. 

A key part of building successful, mutually beneficial partnerships is making sure you’re keeping in your suppliers good books by making sure they’re paid correctly, on time, every-time. To maximise the odds of this being the case, you can either look for dedicated accountancy services to deliver end to end support, or look for an event budgeting software that allows you to directly manage purchase orders and payruns, while integrating with your other accounting software e.g. Xero

There is Such a Thing as Win-Win  

There are many ways you can increase the profitability of your event, without scrimping on the overall attendee experience. Before taking extreme cost-cutting measures that may affect your attendees overall event enjoyment, make sure that you are taking advantage of all possible revenue streams, building effective relationships and are properly managing your budget to minimise wastage and overspending. 

It is critical to bear in mind however, that if you are going to diversify your revenue streams and introduce additional variables, you need to be able to properly track and manage your event finances and spreadsheets just won’t cut it, you really should  invest in a more sophisticated solution, like Eventwise.

If you do all of these things effectively, in a lot of cases, you find you’re actually enhancing the attendee experience at the same time as building a more financially sustainable event and that is the definition of a win-win. 

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