Advice on changing delegate sales business model

Hi there - am doing some early stage research on changing business models for delegate sales. Has anyone any examples of changing from charging a standard delegate fee per person/per conference to creating a sort of membership club scheme whereby clients would pay an annual fee and from that have access to your conferences.

If so, what sort of additional benefits were offered as part of this membership to make it attractive?

By way of background, I work for a financial conference business active internationally. We organise multiple events per year (normally fairly large ones of about 400-600 people), charging about £1000 per conference pass. We do have a magazine/website with industry content, so there are addtional things we can offer clients (though access to this content is free). Perhaps some personal profiling of the members on the site would be an option?

My thoughts on this are at a very early stage (as is probably evident!) - it might well not be a feasible idea at all. The drivers for looking into it are de-risking the business from volatile delegate revenues and (in some markets we work in), tax efficiency.

Cheers for any help.

Hey Chris @markw might be able to help on this.

No experience doing this myself, but like you say, I think a crucial factor in this is how do you build value into a membership? Would making your currently free content a paid for resource damage your acquisition of new customers? There could be value in giving members exclusive networking opportunities/access to member info beyond what LinkedIn offers.

Would you opt to fully switch to a membership model or have it alongside standard delegate sales? Membership might be a harder sell for customers new to your brand/business, but once they’ve attended an event and seen value, you would look to push them to a membership

Hi Chris

A good example of this strategy has been executed by the Oil & Gas Council, which charges an annual fee and then offers additional benefits, while not really cannibalising their events revenue either (members get a discount, but not free tickets). B2B Marketing also has a similar model to the one you’re looking at.

Personally I think it’s a brilliant strategy and will increasingly become a model adopted for the reasons you’ve outlined above.

Would love to hear if you push ahead with it and the results you see.


Thanks Nick, really helpful. Our content is still a fairly new feature (launched a year or so ago), so we’re still in the stages of building up readership and thus it may be too early to charge. Though it’s certainly a good idea for further down the line.

My guess is moving to a 100% Membership model would be a push to start with (unless delegate sales is simply rebranded as membership…).

As I said, I’m just throwing some very early stage ideas around at the moment.

Cheers Mark! I’ve had a look the links you shared and very interesting. Very early stages in even thinking about this, but will keep you posted if anything happens