Getting Holiday Workshop Pricing Right: A Family Activity Organiser's Guide
Everything you need to know about holiday workshops and why offering as much flexibility as possible will give you the best chance of attracting parents to your workshops.
Holiday workshops offer an opportunity for children to deepen their knowledge and passion for a particular interest or hobby, as well as providing as an important lifeline for working parents looking for childcare support. Running over the school holidays, workshops may take place over a number of concurrent days, or a single or one-off session. The upshot is they are a bigger investment for parents than term-time classes, as the resources and teaching investment is far greater.
A recent poll by YouGov commissioned by HMRC revealed that almost a third of parents in Great Britain (31%) feel stressed trying to arrange childcare for the school holidays. The poll also found that around a third of British parents (30%) worried about balancing their job and school holiday childcare. Demonstrating the value of your holiday workshops and having clear pricing available for families is key in encouraging parents to choose to book your activities.
How much you charge for a holiday workshop varies a lot depending on the type of class you offer, the age of children attending and where in the country you run activities.
How much should you charge for a holiday workshop?
What kind of activity do you run?
Holiday workshops tend to be more popular with school-aged children as the primary purpose is to provide entertainment or education (and childcare support) over the school holiday period.
Where the workshop offers wrap-around care for a parent, so the child is looked after for the whole day, means prices are typically higher as inevitably there’s a greater cost to cover rental of a venue space and teacher time.
Similarly, workshops that might also involve specialist materials or equipment like coding camps typically have a higher cost due to their nature of the equipment required (laptops and tablets) when compared to the cost of materials for something like an arts & crafts club.
Average Workshop Price by Activity Category
It’s essential to take into account all the costs associated with running a workshop, when pricing your activities. Many providers will split out costs for parents to better understand the rationale behind the overall cost, providing optional extras such as lunch or the rental cost of specialist equipment as a separate add-on.
How much should you charge for children of different ages?
The price of activities trends upward with the age of the children participating, with activities for the over 5s costing around 50% more than those for 1 - 4 year olds. This commonly reflects how the activities become more complex, requiring more expensive equipment and materials, and more specialised teaching.
Average Workshop Price by Age Group
Does where you live make a difference?
Short answer: yes! We found that cities with a high cost of living more generally, like London and Edinburgh, have correspondingly higher prices for children’s holiday workshops, while cities where the cost of living is lower, like Leeds, have lower cost kids’ activities. This is also reflects of the cost of venue hire in larger cities which drives up costs.
You should always take into account the market rate, and what your competitors are charging, when thinking about the prices of your activities.
Average Workshop Price by Region
A note on data
We looked at almost 4,000 different holiday workshops listed on Hoop in 2018. All the data listed above is with regard to the price of a “full workshop” - typically 4 or 5 days.
Looking at the prices for single day workshops, we saw the same trends for activity category, price and region, so for the sake of clarity we’ve chosen to present only the data for full workshops here. Typically, a single day of a workshop is proportional to the cost of the full workshop - so the price for one day of a five day workshop is around one fifth of the price. In some cases, activity organisers choose to make single day bookings slightly more expensive, in order to encourage families to book for the whole week.
Some things to consider:
Offer flexible session lengths & durations
As you’d expect, some parents will be seeking out child care support for the full duration of the holiday period, while others will be looking for part of the break. Whether or not you require children to attend for the whole week, or are able to offer single day or half-day bookings will depend on the kind of activity you offer (and if it builds on knowledge gained each day). However, if you are able to offer flexibility, you’ll be opening up your activities to a wider pool of families.
Similarly, consider how long of your activities last, and if you want to charge for ‘wrap-around care’. Offering sessions that start early (before 9am) and later than 4pm that give working parents the flexibility to fit their existing working schedule. Again, this will increase the likelihood of parents booking your workshops.
Sibling pricing is a popular option for activity organisers running holiday workshops as many parents prefer placing all of their children together in the care of the same activity provider where possible, making pick-ups and drop-offs more manageable. If your activity supports a mix of ages, offering a discount for siblings can have increase the likelihood of a parent with more than one child booking your workshop.
Discounting by the number of sessions
If you run a mix of session workshop lengths such as a 3 day workshop and a full week or fortnight, then offering a discount on longer duration bookings serves to encourage families to commit to your activities for a longer period.
Offer discounts to existing customers
If your holiday workshops builds on the skills learned within a term-time class, then it makes sense to offer a discount to existing term-time customers to incentivise them to book. This is particularly helpful in attempting to convert families where childcare support is less of a consideration, and may look to a holiday workshop to supplement term time activities.
A family’s investment in a longer running holiday workshops may cost hundreds of pounds. Introducing extras that you want to charge for beyond the core cost of participating in the activities you run, offers transparency to parents and makes it clear where their money is being spent.
Parents will feel more control paying for extras such as lunches, clothing and specialist equipment, while not necessarily impacting your overall booking revenue. Splitting out all workshop costs, helps to reduce the perceived cost of your activities, increasing the likelihood of a family booking.
Can you accept Tax Free Childcare Vouchers?
Tax-free childcare gives eligible families up to £2,000 free contribution by the government per child towards childcare costs. It was designed to replace the childcare vouchers scheme and launched in April 2017.
The scheme is designed so that for every 80p you put in, the state will add 20p – so it effectively gives parents the basic-rate tax back on what you pay, hence the scheme's name.
In total, parents can use the scheme to pay for up to £10,000 of childcare per child each year – so parents could get an extra £2,000 per child (up to £4,000 if their child is disabled) each year.
To qualify, both parents or carers need to be working and earn a minimum of the equivalent of 16 hours/week at the national living or minimum wage (currently £125.28/week if you're over 25).
Parents can use their childcare vouchers to spend across a range of child care schemes including:
Registered childminders, nurseries and nannies
Registered after-school clubs and playschemes
Home care workers working for a registered home care agency
You can find out more about whether the holiday workshops you run might be eligible to accept childcare vouchers at HMRC’s Childcare Choices website here.
As we’ve tried to present, offering as much flexibility as you can in pricing and class structure will go the furthest to filling spots in your holiday workshops. When pricing your holiday workshops it is always worth considering the dual role that they can serve for parents (as both childcare and a learning or entertaining experience), and as such you need to be able to accommodate both types of parenting need. Check out our Top Tips for Marketing your Holiday Workshops to learn more about how to attract families to your activities.