2021-07-28 Rich Murray

4 Keys to Event Sales Forecasting

The unprecedented circumstances of 2020 forced many businesses to shift their events to remote settings. As we begin to emerge from this virtual landscape, many customers are eager to begin attending events in person once again. This is a great opportunity for media companies to capitalize on this excitement. However, while events have grown to become a major revenue pillar for publishers, the business model for events is very different from the model of other publishing revenue drivers. To accurately forecast event revenue and profitability, it’s important to take a few considerations into account:  

Expense Estimates
Every business has to balance expenses with revenue, but as an event gets closer to crunch time, extra expenses for travel, optional space, or premium services can mean the difference between a profitable event and a loss-leader. You may be able to cut expenses late to influence the bottom line, or you may be able to spend a little more to boost it (for example, by increasing the travel budget to cover expenses for certain influential attendees who encourage more paid attendees).  

Booth/Service/Sponsor Revenue Estimates
Each sponsor-side revenue stream should be broken down and tracked individually both in aggregate and by sponsor. These products may be bundled into sponsor packages, but any sponsor who isn’t benefitting from all of the opportunities your event provides is a good candidate for up-sell as sales deadlines approach.  

Recurring Participants
Successful events are built on loyal sponsors. They build the foundation for your revenue and help flavor the attendee experience. It’s important to understand who was part of the previous year’s show, who’s coming back, and who hasn’t yet committed to returning. Some CRMs even allow you to send quotes, with the push of a button, to every exhibitor based on their past participation and spending.   

Revenue Trends and Sales Pace
Every event has its own sales rhythm. There’s usually a surge in repeat buys just after a successful event, then a bit of a lull and a surge again as the sponsorship deadlines near. Understand what your rhythm looks like and match it to each year’s sales trends. This will let you spot when the numbers are matching or exceeding your projected pace, and where they may be tracking low and need to make some adjustments. 

Want to learn more about transparency, predictability and accountability in your sales pipeline? Check out our white paper, 6 Keys to Ad Sales Pipeline Visibility.