Event expenses can add up fast, and if you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to miss your financial goal by spending too much on unneeded items. However, with a little extra effort, you can avoid going too far over your allotted amount, or — better yet — make sure your event stays within or below your budget.
Even if you’ve never had to worry about working with a budget before, there are some straightforward steps you can take to ensure the end-of-event price tag isn’t too far over what you expect to spend. Keep reading to learn some of the best techniques in reigning in your event budget.
1. Start as Early as Possible
Once you have an idea of your budget, start taking care of major event details as soon as possible. You’ll have a better likelihood of being able to book your venues for your ideal dates. Travel costs will also be lower, giving you more room to work within your budget. You’ll also have more time to address any potential issues that come up. If there’s a problem with the venue, or one of your key vendors can’t make a particular date, you’ll have more flexibility in which to address the issues. Plus, having these major details sorted early on will give your team time to execute amazing marketing promotion.
2. Learn from Past Events
When going over your budget, take time to evaluate past events. Were there areas that ended up costing way more than expected? Or did you end up not taking advantage of all of the resources you had available? Identifying these areas in past events will help you make a more accurate budget for this year’s event. You’ll also want to take feedback from your last event into account. Did your attendees highlight any areas of the event they weren’t happy about? Did you have any issues with your vendors? Using feedback will enable you to get ahead of problems before they happen. You can avoid issues by partnering with new vendors, or booking a more suitable venue.
3. Get Quotes from Multiple Vendors
By comparing the rates of different vendors, you’ll be able to find fair prices and identify all of your options. Make sure you shop around for AV and technology, catering, and entertainment. Even if you have a vendor you love working with, they’re likely willing to match competitor rates to ensure you don’t go with someone else. Hotels sometimes have commission fees for using in house AV. You’ll want to look at quotes from outside providers to see if you can get a better deal or superior service for the same price. However, make sure your AV contract won’t impose penalties if you decide to go with an outside provider.
4. Keep Your Team on Task
Losing employee productivity is another way in which you can lose money. If your team isn’t taking advantage of the time and resources available, you’re paying them for lost time. With large event planning teams, these costs can quickly add up. Create a strategy to keep everyone on task and within the budget. The best way to do this is to communicate clear priorities and outline procedures for dealing with concerns and changes. If your team knows to book venues and decide on dates early, everyone can be involved with working to keep the costs down. Using a spreadsheet or event planning software is a great way to make sure your team stays on budget. This helps you identify exactly where all of your expenses are coming from, and makes it easier to track smaller details that might otherwise be missed.
5. Have Contingency Plans
Another big mistake event planners make is neglecting to prepare for problems. Spending everything you’ve budgeted before the event will leave you unprepared to deal with any issues that might happen. Vendors cancel, catering might not be what you expect, and the technology available at the venue might not be what you expect. Leaving some wiggle room in your budget will give you the resources you need to deal with potential issues that come up. Use information from past events to find areas where you might go over budget. Can you allocate more funds in that area just in case? Will your presenters require certain types of technology that isn’t normally available at events? You can ask your provider for a few spares of the technology you need to prepare for the inevitable event in which a computer doesn’t work.
6. Leverage Valuable Sponsorships
Along with trying to reduce expenses, working with sponsors to meet their goals and secure funds is a great way to bring in more for your budget. Make sure your event goals match up with the goals of your sponsors, so they’ll be excited to pay for a package. One great way to sweeten the deal is to include event technology as part of the package. Offering extra features like this incentivizes sponsors to work with you, and provides more funds for you to work with. Make sure you take advantage of business relationships by having sponsors help you promote your event. With their efforts, you’ll be able to widen your audience and bring in more people than you could reach on your own.