Where Does Your Hero Conf Dollar (or Pound) Go?

By Nate Hollander | @HeroConf | Senior Event Producer at Hanapin Marketing

Conferences are expensive. We recognize the commitment our attendees make when they decide to attend a Hero Conf event. And understand that sometimes it can be difficult to weigh the cost versus the return on investment.


Here at Hanapin Marketing, it’s been important to keep our average ticket price at least 20% lower than the average of the largest industry event, while still running a profitable conference. And we’ve succeeded so far!


To better help you understand where your conference dollars (and pounds) go, we think transparency is key. So we’re laying out how we spend the average Hero Conf dollar to maximize experience and provide the environment our attendees expect and deserve.


The Big Picture – % of Each Dollar Spent



The total cost per category does vary depending on city and event, but you can see that the breakdown of costs cover an array of necessary (you gotta eat, right) and super-necessary (would it be Hero Conf without our After-Hours events?) costs. They range from the fun to the mighty boring (thanks processing fees) but are each an essential part in getting us from registration to The World’s Largest All-PPC Conferences. Let’s pull out some of the bigger costs to explain why we do what we do:


Food and Beverage


First thought: Whoa, PPC Heroes eat a ton of food! Clarification: Food at hotels is expensive, and costs so much because it actually covers more than just the cost of the food.


We’ve never shied away from making the food a vital part of our events. We love to highlight local fare and make it fun and interesting. Plus, all our receptions are open bars, which obviously adds up quickly. But it’s important to note that our large food commitments pay for more than just food. They allow the hotel to provide the venue space at no cost. So this expense could really split between a couple places, but we’ll keep it here since that’s how we pay the bill.


Just know, if you come to Hero Conf, you won’t leave hungry (or thirsty).


Audio Visual and Wifi


This one is simple for a digital advertising event – we’ve found that there is nothing more important to attendees than good wireless internet and excellent production value. And we’re happy to spend the money to make both a real possibility.


Although wireless seems like a small chunk, it does add up. And these results are skewed just a bit by a few years of relatively inexpensive wifi (which ended up being more expensive in its resulting failure). We’re buying multiple wireless connections per attendee to ensure you have the ability to work, learn and play with ease.


We have a dedicated AV team that travels with us year after year to ensure the experience is consistent and always improving. And the results have been excellent. We continue to look for new ways to make Hero Conf the must-attend PPC event every year, and the quality of the experience is an important factor.


The Rest


The venues we use, for the conference, receptions and workshops, also have a significant overhead. We think being in unique and inviting spaces is important to experience and will continue to look for effective ways to surprise and delight.


SWAG and After-Hours are all about providing that little something extra. Creating memories and opportunities to network that drive the growth and connections in our industry are vitally important. We continue to weigh the cost and effort we put into these areas, but don’t think Hero Conf would be where it is without them. As we’ve said in the past, come for the PPC, stay for the extras.




So we’ve laid out how we spend your registration dollars, but you’re still looking for more justification of the cost. That’s fair. You’re not only spending a good deal on the ticket and travel, you’re also dedicating time away from the office and important client work. It’s a big commitment – one we’re glad so many of you are willing to make.


For that reason, we’re continually refining our processes, looking to create more valuable and relevant learning opportunities, with the focus on creating content that is:


  • 100% Original – As part of their contract to speak, each speaker commits to creating a presentation they haven’t used before – with at least 80% all-new slides. We promise, these aren’t just repeat sessions.
  • 100% Relevant – They also commit to content and case studies they’ve worked on in the past year. This ensures we’re working with only the most up-to-date and actionable PPC information.
  • 100% PPC – This is the core of the Hero Conf brand. No filler or wasted sessions. You are getting content dedicated to your work in paid search, social, mobile, programmatic and display. Our promise to you – forever.


Of course, it’s easy for us to claim that Hero Conf is the best event out there. We surely think so. But we also value the opinion of those in attendance, which is why we so rigorously evaluate everything we do. Our best speakers return, the worst don’t. The most relevant topics come back each year, those that seem off-base are removed immediately. And we continue to search for ways to bring you the most important industry announcements and information we can (more to come on this front).


But I think for us, the most important stat is how many of our attendees think Hero Conf is worthwhile enough to come back. So we’ll use this moment for a humble brag from Hero Conf Philadelphia:


94% of Hero Conf Philadelphia attendees say they will return in 2017!


And that’s what matters. Creating valuable experiences worthy of repeating.


We hope you’ll join us at an event soon. In fact, we’ve got an upcoming Hero Conf event (24-26 October) in London that’s nearly sold out. Now is the time to grab your seat if you haven’t yet.


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