Budget-Saving Tips for your Next Event

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

As an event management professional, one of your jobs involves juggling your event budget with the needs of your client. Unfortunately, running an event isn’t cheap, and a lot of clients will be looking to cut corners and save money wherever possible. Your clients might not necessarily understand what goes into getting an event up and running, and often end up trying to trim the fat from inadvisable components of your event, such as security costs, guest speaker budgeting, or equipment.

Your job is to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with trying to save money. The greatest event management professionals are perfectly willing to cut a few corners in order to reduce their budget. The difference between them and everyone else is that they know precisely which corners to cut, and how best to save. Here are a few budget-saving tips that’ll serve you well to that end:

Keep Your Eyes Peeled For Discounts

This one should be obvious, but part of your job as an event planner is to always keep your eyes peeled for a better offer. Even if you’ve got your venue, suppliers, and partners all lined up for the event, never stop looking around for someone who’ll offer the same service for less. You don’t necessarily even need to switch suppliers – more often than not, simply mentioning you’re considering a different option will be enough to net you some savings.

Advice: loyalty can be good, and burning bridges is bad. Make certain your comparing apples-to-apples if using another’s offer to negotiate.

One of the advantages veteran event planners have over novices – address books filled with possible suppliers and event partners, and the clout to negotiate any of those partners into giving them a better deal based on the competition.

Get Rid Of Alcohol Or Utilize A Cash Bar

Ask yourself: do your attendees really need to drink? Regardless of what type of event you’re running, the cost of alcohol is always a significant one. No one needs a mid-day drink at a conference featuring all day breakout sessions, right? Events of this nature often only offer a classic cocktail hour.

Cutting liquor from your plans altogether will likely trim your budget significantly. Of course, if that’s not an option, you could always utilize a cash bar in order to recoup some of the cost associated with serving alcohol.

Tip: wine and beer tend to cost less to serve than offering liquor and spirits.

Consider A Different Venue (Or Time)

Even if you think you’ve found the perfect venue, it’s worth your time to keep looking. Running an event outside of a city’s downtown area or in a small neighboring town could yield huge savings. Consider timing. Something as simple as shifting the event date by a few weeks or months could move you into an off-season for the area and save you a mint in booking expenses. Further, don’t discount universities and colleges as possible sites – many have fantastic facilities well suited to virtually any event.

Make Sure You Have A Sponsorship Strategy In Place

Although this isn’t really a cost-cutting strategy, it’s a valuable budgeting tool: a sponsorship strategy is about getting other entities to cover costs or provide free or discounted services. No matter what sort of event you’re running, there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to find at least a few individuals or organizations willing to donate a small premium towards it. After all, it nets them more exposure – and potentially more business relationships, as well.

That said, be aware that selling your event to a sponsor is a marketing challenge in its own right. You’ll need to be prepared to do a lot of legwork, talk to a lot of people, and tailor your approach to catch the interest of whomever you’re trying to work with.  A sponsorship strategy is time consuming and may have negative side effects you could not anticipate.

Hint: depending on the type of event, you may find a community or public fund to sponsor your efforts.

Try Alternative Marketing

Last, but certainly not least, look into doing your own publishing and marketing. A host of free online tools exist which can help you develop your own promotional material, circumventing the need to hire on a marketing firm.  Factor in that social media equips you with potentially the most powerful marketing tools free of charge. If you are a natural storyteller and have some in-house graphic design experience, you could very easily eliminate the need to include a third party in your promotional strategy.

Since you’ve already got the skills of a natural storyteller, it should be a fairly simple task to translate this into a marketing strategy, no?