Sullivan Group’s Tips on How to Budget for Your Next Corporate Event
Event production is all about doing the most with as little as possible. You’re always going to be working with limitations on what you can and can’t do, so your job is to dream big and then get creative to make it happen without blowing the budget. Event budgeting can be challenging for even seasoned event planners, but it’s one of the most important steps in putting together an event.
Establishing a budget is a crucial step in corporate event planning, and it should be a conversation between you and the client. This is the time to figure out priorities and see if you can bring together the client’s expectations and the constraints of their financial situation.
The more you are able to dazzle a client despite budget limitations, the more impressed they and their guests will be. It’s possible to make even a small budget go far. It just requires extra careful effort and planning to make it work. Here are some ideas for ways to cut costs and get the most out of the budget for your next event.
Make Smart Investments
You want to stretch your corporate event budget as far as it will go. That means taking the time to think carefully about everything you’re spending on. You want to choose the vendors and plans that will get you the biggest return on your investment. You need to know what is crucial to your event and what is not. One thing that is always worth the money is well-planned entertainment. Don’t cut corners on the entertainment budget if at all possible, as it makes a big difference for the final product.
Another helpful tip for corporate event planning is to invest in flexibility. Put your money in things that can move and adjust to different situations and creative set-ups, whether it’s your lighting, your audio-visual equipment or your stage. You don’t want to be stuck with static equipment that can’t adapt to a variety of circumstances. This will help keep costs down as well.
Choose Venues Carefully
One of the biggest fixed costs in your corporate event planning budget is the venue. It’s one of the primary pieces of your event production and it’s absolutely necessary for the success of your event. It’s also an area where there are opportunities to cut costs if you need to. In a lot of situations, it can be easy enough to adapt to a slightly lower quality venue instead of spending more on the next step up.
Some venues can be especially helpful or wasteful in controlling your spending. Ideally, you want a venue that includes everything in the upfront cost. Some venues will entail unexpected later costs by leaving them out of the first price. Hotels are a popular option for events because you don’t have to rent a separate venue. Keep costs down by choosing a hotel, and then kick your event up a notch with other entertainment or décor. Some of the most expensive venue options are tent venues, so those are good to avoid if you know the budget is going to be a challenge.
Event budgeting can also be made a lot simpler by planning your event carefully. You need to get an accurate sense of how many people you’re going to be hosting. Planning lodging, food or seating for more people than necessary can be a waste of resources that could have been invested elsewhere. Remember that there will always be guests signed up who don’t come, so it’s better to plan for fewer than the projected count.
Even the schedule and format of the event can lend itself to greater or lesser spending. If you can end or begin an event slightly earlier or later and cut off a meal or a night’s stay, that can free up money to go somewhere more productive. Food and beverage catering is a big cost item, and simple changes can affect costs here as well. Generally, buffet-style meals are more expensive than the alternative.