Per-user vs. Per-registration Pricing: Does It Really Even Matter?

Abby Foutch

Change My Mind: Per-registration pricing models are as out as early 2000’s ringback tones.

Per-user vs. Per-registration pricing: Does it really even matter? 

In short—yes, yes it does.

Event Management Software solutions can be divided into two basic pricing models: volume-based and subscription-based.

While the former, volume-based pricing model—charging per event or per registration—has long been the norm in the events industry, per-user or subscription-based pricing is quickly emerging as the industry go-to for serial event planners and marketers.

Simply put, per-user or subscription-based pricing models charge by the number of people on your team who will be using the software to build out your [email protected] events. 

So which is better you ask?

For most serial event marketers, the subscription-based (per-user) pricing model makes much more fiscal sense, but that’s not to say that there aren’t scenarios where volume-based pricing still isn’t a viable option. 

TBH, it’s no secret that volume-based pricing models may win over subscription-based pricing models when fewer events or registrants are involved, whereas subscription-based pricing will probably take the cake if you are hosting multiple events with more registrants. 

However, there may be one situation where neither pricing models truly apply. If your events are free for attendees, and you are not in need of any advanced tracking capabilities (i.e. data + analytics, branded event pages, email marketing, etc.) you may be better off using a simple event ticketing tool, such as Eventbrite or Splash. These types of services are generally free if you’re not collecting payments from registrants. 

That being said, most planners still need to be able to track their registrant data, pull reporting, build-out registration sites, send emails, align their branding, etc—thus, in that case, a simple ticketing tool just won’t cut it. 

How many events do you run & how many people come to them?

Subscription (per-user) based pricing models remain stagnant, while volume-based pricing models do not.

What this means: Subscription (per-user) based pricing models don’t fluctuate in price when you run more/fewer events, rather they stay the same, in contrast, volume-based (per registration or per event) pricing models operate a-la-carte—i.e. you run more events, you spend more dollar bills.

Although we’d love to supply you with the magic number where volume-based pricing becomes considerably more expensive than subscription-based pricing, unfortunately, there is no universal truth. The case in point—there are many different solutions widely available, operating across many different price points, so ultimately it all comes down to which solutions you are comparing. 

Let’s use our platform to better paint this picture.

Swoogo vs. volume pricing

The numbers are in. Here at Swoogo we offer a subscription-based pricing model and are considerably more cost-effective than solutions with volume-based pricing models, such as Cvent or AventriIF your events operate at ~800+ registrations annually, whether that’s all during a singular event or 100 over the course of the year.

Of course, this number is subject to change based on how many of your team members need to use the software and to what extent they need to do so. So, what does this all boil down to?

When it comes to finding the absolute best price for your Event Management Software, more often than not, you’re going to have to chat with sales. We know, we know—your calendar looks like a bomb went off, so finding the time for an added call might seem virtually inconceivable.

Unfortunately, most platforms are not as transparent about their pricing models, hiding base-costs under Harry Potter’s invisible cloak—they make it almost impossible for planners to know exactly how much they’ll end up spending in the end (we list ours, loud and proud, check it out here.)

Volume-based pricing can be unpredictable 

Unless you are 100% certain of the exact number of events you are running this year and the exact number of people who will be registering for them, figuring out the total cost of using a volume-based event solution is quite chancy my friend. 

Even if you’re pretty dang dead-set on these numbers, volume-based pricing models can always throw you a curveball, giving your solid event marketing plan a run for its money.  

Picture this—you absolutely crush it in advertising for your upcoming event and your attendee numbers skyrocket, well guess who ends up footing the bill for the extra attendees? (Hint, hint. You). Now let’s say your event turnout exceeds expectations and now you want to run even more of them, well, you can do the math here. 

Wrap up

Volume-based pricing may be more cost-effective if you run fewer events, while subscription-based pricing makes more fiscal sense when operating at a higher volume. The exact instance where subscription-based pricing takes the lead will vary from provider to provider and is dependent on your specific use case. Subscription-based pricing takes out a lot of the guesswork, often making it a favorable choice for the budget-conscious planner, even if it appears a little more expensive at first glance.

Simply put—your event success shouldn’t make you shudder, you should be celebrating your success by poppin’ bottles on someone else’s dime (just make sure it’s approved by accounting first.)