Budgeting is probably the most difficult task for every event management professional – particularly if you find yourself coming up short. If tight, it can be incredibly tempting to cut corners, but that’s not an advisable course of action. Skimping on features is a surefire way to ruin an event, and it’s not the way to solve your event budget constraints.
So…how can you save money? Get creative, there’s ways to cut down on an event’s overhead without causing quality to suffer too much. Here are a few cost-saving event management techniques that won’t completely water-down your event in the process.
Seek Out Sponsors
First and foremost, check around the industry in which you’re running the event for sponsorship. There’s a good chance you’ll find a company or organization that values a marketing opportunity with your attendees, look to industry leaders. A win-win deal provides a sponsor something they value in exchange for them covering a nice chunk of your costs.
Tip: a company may value an audience with your attendees, the chance to speak with them directly. If the company or organization truly provides value you may consider offering one of your speaking slots.
Spend Less On Guest Speakers
Ask yourself – do you really need the #1 speaker in the field to attend your event? Seeking out great speakers local to the city in which your event is located could significantly cut down on lodging and travel expenses (which you should be paying, by the way). If speakers are travelling, do they really need the best suite in a five-star hotel? You could probably get away with not shelling out for a super swanky hotel – so long as you put them in a reputable hotel in a great neighborhood close to the venue.
Cut Down On Catering
If you’re thinking of hosting a sit-down meal with a planned menu, think again – a buffet might actually be significantly cheaper. You could always cut out meals altogether, and simply serve hors d’oeuvres. Unless a sit-down meal is absolutely crucial to your event’s success, rethink it! Additionally, fewer bar options (or a cash bar) could help reduce liquor expenses.
Keep in mind: if your host city has a killer restaurant & bar scene, its likely attendees want to go out on the town anyway.
Look To Lower Your Venue Fees
Don’t be afraid to shop around for a venue, and when you set your sights on one, do your market research before going in to speak to the owner. Look up booking charges in your area and general occupancy rates, and bring up going rates when negotiating your price. If you’re skilled enough and have done your research, you may net yourself a significant discount. Plenty of venue fish in the sea, don’t be afraid to hunt!
Try Going Digital
If you’re still handing out brochures for your event, you’re incurring a significant and thoroughly unnecessary expense. While you don’t need to cut down on physical advertisements altogether, digital assets generally net a better return on investment. A printed brochure is essentially obsolete the moment it’s printed.
Your investment in a digital platform establishes a single point-of-access for everyone connected with your event. Information may be changed as you’re, first, marketing an event, then passing along necessary planning information, sharing real-time itinerary changes, and so on. Your ability to make changes to this platform, as your communication needs change, provides a tremendous return on investment.
Parting note: if you do use printed collateral, be sure you include your event’s website. Most people simply prefer to go online for the bulk of their communication and information.