You might not realize it, but some of your attendees are willing to spend more than you charge. Especially if you offer them an enhanced experience in return.
VIP and tiered ticket programs let you offer attendees the exact experience they’re looking for — at the exact price they’re willing to pay. But if you don’t execute your VIP program properly, it can become a black hole for costs that don’t pay off — for you or your attendees.
In fact, if you don’t offer a VIP option for these attendees, they may choose not to attend at all. In a survey of 1,000 festival attendees, a third of VIP ticket buyers say the lack of a VIP package influences whether they’d attend the festival. There are also significant differences in what these attendees look for when deciding to attend events — “uniqueness of the experience” is their second most important factor.
So, what enhancements will attract VIPs to your event experience? Here are the most popular VIP perks — and how one event organizer used them to improve their experience and their profits.
The most important elements of VIP packages
There are two elements of VIP packages to consider when you’re building your offering: 1) how you can remove sources of frustration for VIPs, and 2) how you can add elements that enhance the experience.
Remove sources of frustration
The VIP experience doesn’t have to begin onsite. Think about how you can extend the experience, starting with transportation. For example, offer a close VIP parking lot or VIP shuttles from a central location to the event. Or, partner with a rideshare company like Lyft to provide a coupon on rides.
Once they’re at the event, make sure your VIPs have no reason to feel frustrated. Perks like VIP restrooms or check-in lanes are standard, but you can go above and beyond. For example, if you host a family-friendly event, include a supervised area to keep children entertained while your VIPs enjoy the activities.
Enhance the event experience
When it comes to the event itself, VIPs are most drawn to packages that give them access to an exclusive community. VIPs are willing to pay more than double the price of GA tickets for VIP-only lounge areas with the artists or performers. Complimentary drinks and VIP viewing areas are also popular, all of which come together to build an exclusive community area for VIPs to relax and enjoy.
How one organizer offered their VIPs a differentiated experience
So how can you bring those elements of the VIP experience together? Oregon Air Show made it happen by offering many different ticket types and price points to make sure each attendee’s experience is differentiated.
Oregon Air Show is a 28-year-old air show with plenty to see (and do) on the ground, too. There’s a historically accurate WWII-era singing troupe, artisanal food and drink vendors, and meet-and-greets with the actual pilots. It’s an immersive experience that the organizers hope will attract a younger and more eclectic audience than ever before.
“Reserved seating has let us take things from a general admission environment to a VIP environment,” says Bill Braack, the president of Oregon Air Show. “Everyone has an assigned seat, and the highest paying customer really gets a premium experience.”
For example, VIP patrons can purchase an entire box in a sky chalet for a private, intimate occasion. Patrons to the beer garden or family garden can pick seats at circular tables, which make for a more communal experience. And those less interested in food and drink can still score a front row spot through a non-dining reserved seating area.
Attendees can select the exact level of pampering they want, and Oregon Air Show can maximize profit by charging more for their best seats.
Want to learn more about how to craft a VIP package that improves the experience and your profits? Check out How to Craft — and Price — Your Event’s VIP Experience.