One of the neat things about imATHLETE is the seemingly infinite number of ways you can set up your online race registration. We've long offered the option for you to allow your registrants to cancel their own registrations and to, in turn, receive a discount code good for a future event.
Some folks might think this sounds crazy, but I'll tell you that this can actually net you more money in the long run.
Before you start rounding up your tar and feathers, hear me out.Here are 4 reasons allowing your athletes to cancel their online registration are good for you:
Okay, I'm sure you're already a nice person, but when you are enforcing the event's refund policy, you basically are stuck playing the not-nice role.
Let’s consider this scenario:
Athlete: I need a refund because my dog injured his foot and now I don’t have a training partner and without a training partner I’ll never be able to participate in your race.*
You: I’m sorry to hear about your pup’s foot. Hope it heals soon. Unfortunately the event has a no refund policy.
Athlete: You’re a jerk! I’m outraged! If you don’t refund me right this minute, I’m going to blast this all over social media!
What if instead, the exchange looked like this?:
Athlete: I need a refund.
You: While our event historically has a no refund policy, you can go ahead and cancel and we’ll give you a X% discount off any of our events in the next 12 months.
Athlete: Wow, you’re a cool person. I’m going to share how much I love your event all over social media. Thank you!
* I thank all that is good in this universe that I actually haven’t encountered this refund request before.
If you are a person who likes to compete in events, you know a couple of things: 1) most events have a no refund policy, 2) there are a lot of reasons you might not be able to make it to the race, and 3) there are subsequently lots of reasons you might lose your race registration fee.
So what happens? People wait to sign up until the last minute and some of those people who wait just never get around to signing up. Lost revenue for you and lost opportunity to participate in an awesome event for them.
But when you offer folks a safety net (sign up now! you won't lose your hard earned dollars if you can't participate) something funny happens. More people sign up early!
If your event sells out, you need to know who isn’t going to show up so that you can let in more people who will actually show up and participate in your event. Easy? No.
So how do you encourage people to tell you if they won't show? Incentive, right? If folks who might not make it have no incentive to cancel their registration, they will hang on to it just in case or just because and you will never know who isn't coming until the day of the event. In other words, too late.
The obvious answer here is to allow your athletes to cancel their registration and apply a portion of that registration fee to a future event. Then let someone else sign up, and pay the full entry fee for that spot. Congratulations, that one spot made you more money than the cost of one entry fee. #NoBrainer
Last but not least, if you put on other events throughout the year, offering a discount code if someone cancels gives someone who has to cancel an incentive to check out your other events. Maybe someone really loves to race, but an injury prevents them from actually racing again until three months after their original registration date. But that three months just so happens to coincide with another one of your awesome events that they’ve never tried? Perfect. Maybe they'll do both next year.