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Must Have Live Auction Item #1: Trip

In previous posts, I have offered the importance of including a variety of types of items in your live auction and listed 5 that should be included to create a well rounded live auction. Now, I am going to go through each category in more detail with the goal of inspiring you and your auction committee as you solicit items for your live auction.

The first item we will focus on in detail is Trips.

When looking for a trip to include in your live auction, you can include a local destination (something in your home state or a close state that bidders could access by driving), a non local destination (someplace to which they would need to fly), or both. For the most part, I would not include more than one of each in the same auction line up.

Things Good Trips Have: 

Open availability. Meaning the winning bidder can plan their trips selecting from a wide variety of dates throughout the next year.  It's okay to have 3 or 4 weeks through out the year blocked off, but other than that they dates should be relatively open.

WOW Factor. People aren't going to pay top dollar (or likely even bid) on something that doesn't have a special appeal to it. Some WOW factor examples:

  • Home owned by a celebrity  
  • Home on Ocean with gourmet outdoor kitchen
  • Home in Central America which included full staff of maids, personal chef and butler for the week
  • Unique home such as a treehouse
  • Resort which is frequented by known celebrities

Experience is included. The trip includes more than just a place to stay. Examples I've sold:

  • Napa trip which includes wine tastings at several vineyards
  • Trip to New York with the opportunity to see a late night show and have a meet & greet with the host. 
  • Travel to an out of state professional sports game on the team's airplane with the team.

Things Bad Trips Have: 

Limited availability. Want to make sure no one bids on your trip? Offer it for one week out of the entire year. Just because an item has a high "value" does not merit it to be on the live auction. We are looking for items with a broad appeal, one week out of the year is not a broad appeal. I would allow certain exceptions like if somehow you got a box with Madona AND Prince at the Kentucky Derby and it is obviously only available the week of the Derby. Otherwise, I would recommend taking your week in Florida through aunt Cindy's timeshare off the live auction. It doesn't belong there.

Off Season Availability. You will find many donors who are willing to give you donations for their off season. Win for them because it's a tax write off for the time a year they won't be filling their spaces anyway. No one wants a ski trip between April and August.  

What about airfare?

You may notice that I didn't mention anything about airfare in either section. I'll follow up with another post in the future about this topic in more detail, but the short: including airfare does not bring you it's value in revenue nor does it hurt an item's popularity if you don't include airfare in the package. Look back later for deets on this or just email me your specific question regarding this and I'll be happy to give you more insight.