Even though there are many hurdles an event planner has to overcome in order to make his events a success, the biggest one is almost always the same – financial constrictions are ultimately the deciding factor for most of the choices that are made when planning an event.
The important thing is to know what can be sacrificed without significant consequences and what cannot be compromised under any circumstances. Experienced event planners understand that there are many ways to approach any situation and thus can be flexible when figuring out what’s the best way to stay on budget.
When you know the areas in which you can cut costs, it becomes a lot easier to slice the bottom line of any event and be able to spend more on the aspects that are really important.
Here are some tricks the experienced organizers use to save big on their events:
Schedule Your Events in the Off-season
Just as almost any other business, the venue contractors have their peak season as well – it’s when they are booked full and can charge their premium rates. For instance, in the case of wedding venues, this time would obviously be the summer.
You, as a crafty event planner, should figure out what’s the peak season for the venues you’re considering and choose the ones that are currently on the slow side of the year in terms of bookings.
The easy way to find this out is to simply ask to know their booking schedule for the upcoming months. Of course, you have to be careful to not confuse a slow part of the year with the venue simply not being attractive.
Of course, there are many factors that determine if an event should be held in a different city or area, but unless you don’t have any big budget restrictions, you will probably find that hosting the event locally is almost always the better choice.
No matter how small or familiar the local town might seem, you can be sure that there are simply terrific venue options available, if you are just willing to dig a little deeper to find them. Sometimes even unusual venues can make terrific locations, even for formal events like conferences or corporate gatherings.
You will obviously be able to save a ton on travel costs and will probably be able to invite more people, if that would be beneficial. But remember that just because you’re staying local, you shouldn’t have to make compromises in terms of the quality of the venue and the entire event.
Look for Sponsors or Partners
You’d be surprised how many companies might be interested in sponsoring your event, especially if your audience matches theirs to some extent. If you’re willing to allow some sort of promotion to take place, you can get plenty of benefits, from simple cash sponsorship to supply of goods.
Another option is to co-host an event with a similar company that needs to reach the same group of people – combining your expenses can mean big-time savings for both companies, while at the same time making the event more visible and relevant in your industry.
Control Food and Drink Expenses
One of the more easily manageable areas of any event is the food and drink expenses, yet so often it’s where the most outrageous sums are wasted. Sure, an open bar will make many people happy, but when facing budget restrictions, it would be a much more sensible choice to provide a limited amount of alcohol for each person, or even better, simply have a paid bar and let people treat themselves.
If, however, you do not want to make people buy their drinks, stick with traditional beverages and avoid hard liquor – it’s much more expensive and can quickly add up in your expenses.
Ideally, buy beer and wine from local suppliers or at a wholesale – these drinks are completely acceptable for any event and can be found at accessible prices.
As for the food, the decision should ultimately come down to how many people will be attending – at smaller events it might be alright to simply have snacks and pizzas, or, in a more formal setting, have dinner in a restaurant. However, for bigger groups and for longer duration events, it might be more economical to serve food in the event.