Every event planner knows setting up a successful event takes a lot of time, money, and hard work. In addition to the standard hurdles that have to be overcome, tight budgets can make it even harder to reach for the stars and hinder your ability to get the best technology and event services. When money is the limiting factor, compromises have to be made and second or even third choices end up being used instead of what is really desired.

Shopping around for the most reasonable tech provider is a great place to start, but beyond that, things get a little more tricky. Can you really save money without sacrificing quality? We think you can and we’re here to help you do it!

1. Book Early and Bundle Your Events

The first step to saving on your event is to plan ahead as much as possible. If you’ve got time to shop around, you can be more competitive with prospective venues and providers. When you book earlier you’ll avoid rush fees, capitalize on higher availability of the techs and gear you really want, and ultimately have time to fix any snags that might develop along the way.calendar

If you have multiple events coming up, another advantage to planning things in advance is being able to bundle your events together. There is more buying power for you as the customer when you bundle your events. It allows the provider more flexibility and the ability to give you better pricing on equipment because it is being used more often. Discounts may be possible when events are bundled, and it allows you to schedule the same techs or pool of techs to keep things consistent and organized.

2. Have a Conversation with a Tech Expert

Once you’re ready to start booking it’s a great idea to talk to an outside technology expert about the specifics of your event. Hotels and convention centers may offer in-house AV vendors that seem convenient, but often there is an upcharge for the service. Some venues will make commission from the in-house provider that they are contracted with and have clauses written into their contracts that restrict choosing your own provider. The good news is that these clauses can be easily removed if you give yourself time to review and negotiate the contract.

Regardless of which provider you choose, it’s also a good idea to bring quotes from outside providers into your negotiations to potentially drive the in-house costs down. If you have multiple meetings at hotels throughout the country its pretty much a guarantee though that you’ll save by using a nationwide provider that can offer a single point of contact, consistency on-site, and flat rate pricing for every venue. Check out our article, Hotel Audio Visual: You Don’t Have to Use the Hotel AV company, for more info.

Whitepaper: You don't have to use the in-house AV company.

Whitepaper: You don’t have to use the in-house AV company.

When reaching out to a technology provider it is very important to know your budget and be transparent when talking about your event. A production, technology, or AV specialist will be able to find the perfect equipment for your event and be able to suggest substitutions to better fit your budget. It should be part of a provider’s job to think outside the box and offer different options to the client. As an example, a large monitor rental may work better for an event without enough space or budget to allow for large projectors and fastfold screens. In-house companies may sell you what you don’t need and you may not be aware of the options that a technology expert can provide unless you ask!

3. Choose the Right Apps

One easy to overlook area where costs can start to pile up is choosing your event apps. Custom, all-inclusive event apps are great, but they can wind up costing an arm and a leg too. In general, if you use multiple free or inexpensive apps, you can cover all your bases just as well as you would with an expensive event app. You may have to do a little more work to keep everything organized, but you’ll be getting great results at a fraction of the price!

Sched is an increasingly popular choice that boasts a $99 mobile app for events and includes an event website, social networking, content rich event directory, registration, wait lists, and agenda builder. And Sched can be synced up with Eventbrite for easy online ticket purchases that automatically link up attendees so they can create their event schedule.
When it comes to managing your Twitter wall or Facebook account, Hootsuite gives you a birds eye view of all your social media to see what people are saying, manage your streams, and schedule posts in advance. You can measure return of investments and utilize analytics to determine how successful your media campaigns are. Plus it’s free for up to 3 social network accounts.

DropBox can be used to keep all event content available to your team at all times, Paypal and Square let you instantly take credit card payments for a small percentage fee, and Adobe Reader will allow you to neatly organize all your documents on mobile devices for free! Then, if you distribute iPads to attendees loaded with your event brochures, maps, and schedule you can cut out printing costs entirely AND boast hosting a green event!

Please share your money saving ideas for professional meeting and event planners in the comments.

Meeting Tomorrow provides the same great services in every city across the country. We’re experts in nationwide AV, Technology, and Production events and we pride ourselves on flawless execution. Call 1-877-633-8866 today to discuss more great ways to make your event shine!