This is a guest post from Mallory Russell, Editorial Lead at Square.
Event-goers spend a lot of money to come to your event. They buy their tickets, take turns buying rounds at the bar during the event, and stop by the merch tent on their way out. But how much do you know about what drives your attendees to spend — or put their wallets away?
If you simply add up your event’s total revenue from before and during your event, you’ll miss out on greater insights that can grow your business. The way you accept and track payments should improve your attendee experience and your overall event strategy.
Here are four common event payment mistakes — and how you can resolve them to delight your attendees and grow your business.
Payment mistake #1: You don’t know your attendees’ payment pain points
If you’re assuming attendees hate standing in line, you’re right. In recent Square research, 37% of buyers say their top pain point is slow lines. But 29% also cite “threat of payment fraud” as a real fear.
You need to solve both of these pain points. Traditional credit card readers can be both slow and insecure. Cash is one way to avoid fraud, but manually making change is slow… and who carries cash anymore?
Cashless payments are the solution. Mobile payments are made possible by Near Field Communication technology with dynamic encryption. It’s one of the most secure ways to pay, as well as a frictionless experience for attendees, who don’t have to carry cash or credit cards. Instead, they tap their phone to make a payment.
“In terms of line speed, it’s simple math: a faster line means more sales for business owners in a shorter period of time,” says Mary Kay Bowman, Head of Payments at Square. “And for customers, it means a better experience — no one likes waiting.”
Payment mistake #2: You don’t accurately track your revenue sources
A third of event professionals generate the majority of their revenue from sources other than ticket sales, such as food, drinks, merchandise, and sponsorship. But visibility into those lines of revenue has been largely lacking. Nearly 10% of event creators aren’t sure how much of their profit comes from sponsors, vendors, or merchandise sales.
The solution to this challenge is payment technology that makes it easy to track revenue from all sales that happen at your event. Using this technology, you can manage all of your vendors in one place, and see how profitable various at-event sales channels are.
Payment mistake #3: You don’t know who your most valuable attendees are
Don’t just judge the value of attendees by how much they spend on a ticket — VIP versus early-bird rate, for instance. A superfan might enthusiastically claim the inexpensive early bird tickets, then go on to buy a lot of merchandise at the event. Ultimately, your “cheap” early bird could in fact be one of your biggest spenders.
Knowing who your top spenders are will help you better strategize marketing to attract more of them. So make sure you’re looking at your POS analytics to get an idea of how much attendees are spending at your event, when they are spending, and what they are buying, when. You should do this both during the event (to make changes that spur sales in real-time) and after. It will give you a better idea of who your customers are.
Analyze sales across the other channels where you sell merchandise or tickets as well. Looking at the analysis of those channels along with your sales during the event will help inform how you approach your event strategy in the future.
Payment mistake #4: You don’t have a handle on supply and demand
It’s the most fundamental of economic concepts: supply and demand. But events have historically had trouble balancing the two.
“Tiered pricing and inventory management are complex,” says Gilad Horev, VP of Product, Platform at Eventbrite. “In order to keep tickets accessible, maximize sales, and fill the house, event creators need to have access to data, a keen grasp of supply and demand, and, sometimes, an understanding of the largely opaque secondary market.”
You’ve felt this difficulty first-hand if you’ve ever wasted money on an overstocked bar at an event — or ran out of drinks halfway through the night. Either way, you’re making a guess at how much to supply attendees, without having an accurate reading of their demand.
Soon, event payments technology will supply the predictive data that makes this process seamless. This data will help you measure inventory and set types that are fair to fans and bring in more revenue.
Have you committed one of these payment mistakes? Download Eventbrite and Square’s new report, The Future of Event Spending: The Event Executive’s 5-Year Plan, to make sure you don’t let an oversight limit your event business’s growth.