Offering table packages is a great way to increase attendance growth, enhance your banquet experience, recruit new members and maximize fundraising. Here is how to get started.
RMEF chapters with the largest attendance growth over the past five years usually have three things in common:
1. Their banquets are held at an event venue where there is room for attendance growth
2. They offer table package sales as an option to attendees before the event
3. They’ve had an increase in their committee size
What is a Table Package?
A table package is a ticket purchase option that accommodates 8 or 10 people (depending on table size) in one purchase. Rather than selling just single or couple tickets, a table package accommodates an entire group. Meals, memberships, raffle tickets and sometimes even a gun or piece of merchandise are included in these packages! It is best to consult with your regional director on what can be included in your state. They can direct you on how to build table package flyers and options.
Who buys table packages?
Anyone can purchase these packages! If a group of friends normally attend a banquet together, it may be helpful for them to buy a table package. We often see several couples combining their funds to purchase a reserved table.
Core banquet supporters have also started taking advantage of table packages by inviting their employees, clients or family members to join them. Without table sales, it is difficult for them to invite
others to join them without reserved seating. This scenario brings new folks to your event who often become regular attendees because of the invitation to sit together at a table.
What is included in a table package?
Just about every table package includes eight meals and four memberships (or 10 meals and five memberships for 10-person tables). RMEF requires memberships for at least 50 percent of the attendees per table. Normal supporting memberships can be offered, as well as upgraded memberships that include added benefits. These tables can be made special in your banquet room with a different colored tablecloth or other unique feature to distinguish them from general seating. There are often several tiers of tables, which include various benefits. Here are examples offered by one chapter:
Monarch Table: Eight meals, four level-one event sponsorships, four Team Elk memberships, $1,250 in raffle tickets and one firearm that costs $800. Purchasers receive premium table placement and receive recognition in the banquet program, from the stage and on the banquet PowerPoint. This table sells for $5,000+.
Imperial Table: Eight meals, one level-one event sponsorship, three supporting memberships, $1,250 in raffle tickets and one firearm that costs $600. Purchasers receive premium table placement and recognition in the banquet program, from the stage and on the banquet PowerPoint. This table sells for about $2,750.
Royal Table: Eight meals, one level-one event sponsorship, three supporting memberships, $500 in raffle tickets and one firearm that costs $350. This table sells for about $2,000.
Satellite Table: Eight Meals, four supporting memberships, $250 in raffle tickets and a reserved table. It sells for about $750.
Building Table Packages
Your regional director has a table package calculator to ensure that everything is allocated and priced appropriately. These packages are not intended as discounted bundles but as purchase options for larger groups of attendees. Work with your regional director to build value and benefits into the packages you feature, and they will help you determine a price for each package level. Regional directors will also help design table package flyers as well as a flyer for the fourth page of your event’s mailed invitation.
How to Sell Table Packages
Getting started with table sales is the first hurdle. Time has shown that table buyers often purchase them year after year following their first table experience. Below are a few tips to help get you started.
4th Page of Invitation: To distribute information to all regular banquet attendees, your best option is via the fourth page of the banquet invitation mailer. This blank page is on the back of the event sponsor insert, and your regional director can upload an image there. Doing so allows everyone who receives the mailer to see that table packages are an option.
Face-to-Face Sales: Targeting specific individuals and hand-delivering a table flyer is an effective way to promote your table package options. Look at the buyers of the previous year’s auction as well as individuals making larger purchases (meals, raffle tickets, event sponsors, etc.) and visit them before your upcoming event to let them know about this new opportunity. Look at businesses and business owners who are already contributing to your banquet and see if they are interested in promoting their business by buying a table package. Businesses often have a marketing budget for these types of purchases.
Ticket Chair: A ticket chair who knows how and when to make an upsell is invaluable to your chapter. When they receive phone calls for ticket purchases, they have many opportunities to upsell raffles, memberships and now they can promote table packages. Many ticket chairs urge attendees to gather their friends or acquaintances and assemble a group worthy of buying a table.
Quality of Banquet Experience: An attendee sitting at a reserved table usually has a higher quality experience than someone in general seating. They sit with a group of people to socialize with and enjoy the evening. Because of that, their experience is usually more enjoyable, and they are more likely to attend again.
Tips & Best Practices:
· As stated above, once an initial table sale is made, you will likely have a repeat customer every year.
· For the ticket chair, one sale can fill eight to ten seats at a banquet, rather than four or five individual or couple ticket sales.
· Obtain package information before the distribution of your banquet invitation. Set a goal to sell a certain number of tables before the invitation is mailed.
· Try it! If table packages don’t sell, you’re not out anything. What’s the worst that can happen?
Not only do table sales offer attendees a better experience, but they introduce new attendees to your event. They are also profitable to your chapter’s bottom line and help your event build energy and great fundraising opportunity.
Sample Table Flyer
The image below is a sample table flyer, created through an RMEF PDF template available through your regional directors. The PDF document can be edited with information specific to your chapter and can include merchandise available through RMEF and inventory monitored by your regional director. If you are interested in utilizing this template and offering table sales at your upcoming banquet, please contact your regional director.