A good friend in the financial industry asked on Twitter for some thoughts that an in-person live conference for $995 going virtual at the same price is a bad thing. Considering there is no food being served during this, it is kind of eye-popping that the price for a virtual event is the same. Then again, the local camp by me that I detest (they didn’t do right by my kids or wife) is charging more for camp this year than they did last year (while providing zero trips for the pandemic and a limited lunch menu).
When it comes to conferences and dealing with the pandemic, I look at the side of the conference hosts. Hosting regional and national conferences are an ancillary part of my business, the whole idea of hosting my own events was the fact that other conferences were inviting the same 2-3 ERISA attorneys and I fell out of the rotation for some reason (I do use deodorant and Listerine Advanced by the way). Most importantly, it allowed me to be in-person at events around the country and meet the advisors and third-party administrators who have followed my work and have helped my business in disseminating my many articles. Other conference hosts, their business is hosting conferences or they are a not for profit that relies on conference income to allow them to stay in business. I could imagine other conference hosts having issues that virtual events mean the exhibit hall income goes bye-bye.
I think communication is key. If a conference is charging the same amount for a virtual experience than had the event taken in place live, possible attendees need to understand why. Communication is key, it deflates anyone complaining about your event publicly or privately. Again, my conference income (I’m closer to breaking even than anything else) is ancillary, so I’d rather charge $20.21 for an early bird admission, rather than the $300 I charged for the Disney national event is because I have no catering or AV bill with a virtual event. We will still have the celebrity appearance each day, but I’ve lowered the rate for attendance and sponsorship to a fraction of what my Disney event was because everything I do is about relationships and I’m not going to burn attendees and sponsors out by charging them 10 times more than I would have if the event was in-person live.
So sign up for That 401(k) National Virtual Conference for $20.21 early bird or $120.21 VIP and no, I’m not feeding you.