6 Discounting Strategies That Fuel Your Bottom Line

Everyone loves a deal, but some race directors wonder if discounts detract from their bottom line. Not necessarily. Generally, discounts drive registrations and help sell out your event—one of the gold standards of successful races.

Experiment with multiple types of discounts to find the one that works best for your event and audience.

1. Establish an early-bird registration deadline

You know this one: Seize upon competitors planning their race calendars ahead of yours by setting early bird deadlines. Some race directors consider this a loyalty category since it appeals to registrants who have participated previously.

Lay out these deadlines from the start as part of your race registration categories and calendar.

2. Give discounts before deadlines

Try a one- or two-day flash sale to create a sense of urgency—a basic strategy in the marketing playbook.1 But it’s not enough just to create urgency. Registrants will only follow through if they see it as a can’t-miss-out deal.2

Be sure to clearly establish refund policies. 

3. Tie discounts to local or national events

Is there a holiday coming up? Does your race fall near Global Running Day or another day celebrating your sport, or even an unrelated local event? Drive timely registrations with these events. A little discount goodwill may go a long way.

4. Reward your race ambassadors

Referral rebates can turbo-charge your registrations, so reward ambassadors who bring friends and family to the event. Look for referral programs that manage the details for you and allow you to customize how many people can receive the discount, such as ACTIVE’s event management software.

5. Offer automatic discounts to VIPs

Race participants paying extra for hotel reservations and meals want to feel like they’re getting a deal. Work with local vendors to offer package discounts that help VIP registrants embrace the upgrade.

6. Drive interest with contests

Raffling off sponsor swag? Tie in entries for these items with a competition for one hefty race discount—such as 50% off.

Download our Guide: Event Pricing Strategies that Make a Big Impact on Revenue

Ultimately, discounts can help your bottom line, if done right. Which of these tactics will you try this year?


1Campaign Monitor: How to Create a Sense of Urgency in Your Email Marketing Right Now.

2Help Scout, Inc: 10 Ways to Convert More Customers Using Psychology.