SCOTT AND GREGG: This is a VERY rough draft. A sensitive subject needs constant tweaking. Will request feedback after I rework sufficiently, In the meantime, if you think I am missing a theme or major idea, please share.
A totally fair question. Many events are run with the goal of breaking even. However, most events have also not raised entry fees in a long time. Of course, when ever there is a price increase, consumers rightly ask “why”? The best answer is because we are going to offer you a better value for your money. The least popular answer: “Because our expenses increased”. To the customer, the experience is the same, but they are actually getting less value.
When considering a price increase there are multiple approaches. There are three primary approaches:
- Easiest: Reduction in Prize Payout
- Accommodation: Surcharge
- Best: Wholesale Increase in Entry Fee
Each has their advantages and disadvantages:
Option 1: Reduce the payout
Removing DartConnect from the equation, this is the path of least resistance. Naturally, it is required before any information about the payout is published. Event ogranizers must determine the ramifications of
Challenge: You have already promoted your event, very difficult to reduce payout now.
Additional Considerations: How important is the amount of the payout in regards to compiling with various accreditation and recruiting participants – especially long distance competitors.
DartConnect Position: We appreciate the prestige and the pressure to comply with accreditation requirements. We are not in a position to challenge these expectations. But you are. Have an honest conversation with yourself about what proportion of players are honestly concerned about total payout, high payout, etc. If it is a single digit percentage, it maybe wroth re-considering how you go forward. DC totally supports high level play. Nonetheless, it is the every day player and fan that funds pro level play.
We believe that a better experience attracts more players, and this can more than offset any attendance challenges with a reduction in payout at any level. In North America, we regularly receive reports that attendance increases when players learn it is a DartConnect 100% tablet event.
Option 2: Add a surcharge to each entry fee.
Why give players an opportunity to say the tournament is taking a step back by reducing payouts?
This is the most transparent of all options, and has the advantage of placing the justification (blame) for the increase to a third party (DartConnect). However, the customer can clearly see that there are reaching something additional for their money (whether they appreciate it or not, is a different topic), but at least it does not put the event in the light of looking like they are attempting a money grab. Call it the DartConnect Event Fee. They can refer to it as a player tax or something else, but at least they know how the player tax is being spent.
This approach is ideal for tournament details/flyers that have already been published. It is totally REASONABLE to communicate to customers that the event information was published # months before the decision to incorporate DartConnect into the event. When the inventible objection of “but i don’t care about that” arrises, it is important to be confident in stating, that while it may not be
Interestingly, the biggest concern we receive regarding this approach is the logistics of maintaining “change” on site, since most North American event entry fees are rounded up to a an increment of “5”. Given that our events are often held at hotels or community centers with bars, we have never seen this become an issue since change is a step away..
Bottom Line: Surcharges are never popular, however they are accepted components of any economy. Energy spikes are the most common example, as they translate to transportation surcharges, but they can appear in food and other commodity prices as well (there is a reason a printed menu says “Market Price”. At least with DCDS, the player gets MORE for their money, as opposed to the SAME.
What we like: While it takes a bit of odd armor, remember, it is your event, not theirs. You put a lot of effort into making this come tother. There is no amount of money you collect that justifies the time and effort that you and your staff put into an event. Most players (not all) fail to recognize this, and do not appreciate the sacrifices required to make your event successful.
Option 3: Wholesale Price Increase
When attempting to justify a price increase, it is easy to fall back on rationalizing the additional expenses an event is insuring as opposed to promoting how much better an event is because of the better value: Better Venue, Cheaper Drinks, Better Experience, etc. As event organizers and risk takers, it is easy to become preoccupied with what we might “lose” as opposed to what we might “gain” by providing a higher value experience.
We believe, that in North America, increasing your entry fee for each event by $5, is the preferred approach. Why? This allows you to conduct a one time “band aid rip” that some players will complain about this year, but will disappear in subsequent years.
How am I going to justify an increase of $5 per entry fee?
That is a fair question. Clearly utilizing DartConnect services does not justify that increases. However it is much better to ask for forgiveness for a single increase, than multiple, consecutive increases. So we encourage you to take a long term, holistic view of where you want the steel tip experience that that you want to provide to your customers to evolve to.
Our experience with BOTH events AND leagues, is that when you utilize DartConnect to justify an increase, you are actually providing a tangible benefit that players may not appreciate, but can certainly recognize. When a venue increases the cost of a beer by $.50 or a hotel room by $5.00, consumers naturally complain that they are getting the “SAME” for “LESS’. But with DartConnect, they are definitely getting something “MORE” – anyone can argue the value, but you cannot debate that it is “more”.
So what to do with the balance of the $5, after the DartConnect Event Service Fee? Lets count the opporuntiies:
- Goose The Payout! Wether you reward the elite, or spread the wealth to all levels of competition, give back to those who make your event happen!
- Tablet Rentals: In North America, rent tablets from either the DC or the the ADO to cover every board. Outside of North America? We are looking for ambassadors that can help spread the word and become regional experts.
- Purchase Tablets and Mounting Hardware, Why rent when you can own? Every year, use the upside of the increase to procure compatible technology and hardware. This reduces the number of tablets you need to rent, making your event more affordable. In and surplus to to each year to eventually eliminate the need to rent tablets
- Provide an additional service/benefit: Tap into your imagination and determine what you have always wanted to do to make your event distinct, but have never thought players would appreciate. Blame it on DartConnect, while improving the player experience and making your event distinctive.
- Use Your Imagination! For the vast majority of us, we do what we do for darts, not for self benefit, but to promote the sport. This is an opportunity to experiment with a nominal budget to see if there is something anyone could do to improve the payer experience and maybe share with others events, in an effort to promote and eacpnd the sport