Pricing considerations for hosting events after lockdown

It’s very hard to predict what life will look like for the event industry post-lockdown. Across the world, event organisers are waiting to hear when their local restrictions will be lifted, permitting us to return to whatever our ‘new normal’ is. When it comes to hosting events as a venue, promoter or as a live act, it’s not clear yet how profit-margins will work in a socially distant set-up. We’ve been chatting to our friends in the industry to understand a bit more about how the situation could evolve, and what things like ‘Covid secure’ events might mean for their pricing options. Here’s a summary of the main thoughts bubbling up right now:

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1. There may be a small charge to enter venues

If capacity has to be reduced to enable social distancing measures, venues will need to get creative with how they can cover costs with smaller crowds. This might mean that free events are no longer sustainable and even accessing a venue for an evening without entertainment could come with a price tag. Though, if you’ve waited over 2 months for that pint, a £5 entry fee will probably feel like a steal.

2. We’ll adopt the American tipping model

In the States, adding an extra dollar to your drink is the standard at most venues. We think that tipping might become more commonplace in other locations too. And it goes beyond a tip for your round of drinks. Imagine a contactless tipping system to request your favourite song from a DJ. Or a way to tip the band that are playing in your local venue. We’ve already seen the generosity of the public through this crisis, and we can see it continuing as we enter the next phase.

3. Standard ticket prices should stay the same

There may be some debate as to whether ticket prices should increase or decrease post Covid. But from what we have heard so far, there is a sense that trying to keep costs similar to what they were before is what the goal will be. People are used to paying a certain amount for tickets, and to try and increase that during an economically unstable time would likely have the reverse effect.

4. Online models will continue to play an important role

If crowd sizes have to be reduced, and people have to continue to quarantine themselves, we can see a situation evolve where more venues live stream their events. Perhaps ticket sales can be boosted by allowing customers to purchase at a lower cost to ‘watch from home’, whilst a smaller crowd pay a standard ticket price to safely watch the show in marked out areas at the venue.

5. Pay what you like tickets and donations

Whilst many venues or acts may try to maintain similar ticket prices as before, one other idea that has been coming up more frequently is allowing attendees to pay what they like. This could have two benefits, one being that allowing people to pay a bit less may encourage them to get out there more during a recession, and then on the flip side, for those who can afford it, we could see people paying over the odds for the cause of keeping things open. Similar to tipping, the donation model of adding a few extra pounds or dollars at the point of the ticket purchase could also become more common place to support local venues, promoters and artists.

6. Multiple shows or sessions in one day

If less people are able to be in one space at any given time, one option that we could see becoming more popular is having smaller audiences spread across multiple showings. A band might play two sets for example: an early evening and a later evening show. It could also be a similar set-up for accessing venues generally – there’s been talk of some venues limiting the amount of drinks that can be purchased so perhaps venues could adopt a session format of allowing people to pre-book a time slot that they will enter the venue. This will allow venues to model and understand how much profit they can generate in a day.