“More isn’t always better… sometimes, it’s just more,” said the chauffeur’s daughter to her billionaire boss—and so says the experienced event planner to businesses resigned to breaking the bank for their big event. Though events are generally accepted as an extremely effective marketing tool, the potential cost of holding an event might be a major stumbling block for businesses that want, or even need to have one.
But having oodles of marketing funds to spend on an event doesn’t necessarily guarantee a successful one, to say nothing of high-impact, yet tasteful event design and effective execution. A good event planning company worth its salt knows that great events aren’t about splurging and showing off one’s capacity for munificence. An event can do just that and still fall short of the organisers’ objectives.
That said, a good event is about intelligent spending, which can only be done by careful planning and facilitated by experience and know-how. Simply put, a great, effective event doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Allow us to show you seven event planning components where experts can help to significantly reduce the cost of event production.
Knowing exactly what you want your event to accomplish is a powerful, though perhaps not immediately obvious, budgeting tool. Anything at all that does not contribute to the achievement of your event objectives can therefore be done away with even before a single cent is spent.
If, for example, your event aims to promote cycling as a healthy and eco-friendly means of transportation within the city, you can start saving from the get-go by targeting resident cyclists and other fitness buffs—instead of people living outside city limits who are into videogames.
You might also forego bumper stickers or keychains as event giveaways, cross alcohol and junk food off the menu, and lessen the amount of printed promotional materials. Besides, if your event aims to allow attendees to experience a product or service, for example, you might be better off focussing your resources on providing that experience instead of souvenirs to take home.
With a little creative thinking, your event planner might be able to suggest a venue which costs very little compared to all the old, familiar places. Depending on your event objectives and planning parameters, a private residence and a garden (either rented or owned by someone you know) might do just as well or even better than a function room or social hall. You might also consider a location such as a park, a hobby club or even a warehouse.
Should you be lucky enough to find a venue you will not have to pay for, try to show the venue staff how your event can benefit them—it might be to give the venue more exposure or to make it more attractive to its target clientele.
But the timing for booking for your event is also crucial, as booking rates can go down according to how early you book, or whether you’d like to pick a special date (such as a holiday) during a particular season. Off-season dates are obviously better for budgeting, but in any case, your event planner will know how to negotiate for discounts or extras.
Your choice of a venue can also affect your budget in terms of transportation costs. How many people, and how often will you need to transport to the venue before and during the event? If you are expecting guests from out of town, consider proximity as well as the affordability of your accommodations.
Finally, your venue might even be able to help lower costs in terms of design or decoration. The organisers of the cycling-as-healthy-and-eco-friendly event we gave as an example not only make a stronger statement by holding the event in a park, but also save significantly on décor in achieving a “natural” or outdoorsy feel.
The bigger your event is, the more manpower you’re going to need. One cost-efficient way to meet your staffing requirements is to take on interns and volunteers. While training or experience might be sufficient recompense for interns, volunteers will have to be negotiated with as to the kind of non-monetary compensation they’re willing to work for. Examples of such compensation include giveaways, perks and event access if they weren’t already part of the on-the-ground staff.
Depending on the nature of the event (such as charity), volunteers might even be willing to work for nothing. But a good event manager should be able to work out the best possible balance in meeting your event staffing requirements.
Digital media has been a boon to event planning—not only has it slashed the printing and production costs of marketing and promotional materials, but it has also made it easier to get your message out. Social media, in particular, has become indispensable to event managers, not only for marketing the event, but for keeping the momentum going. Your event expert might also be able to put you in touch with influencers who can help you spread the word much faster.
There are also several free options available for either creating a website for your event, or posting your event on an existing event promotion website. And don’t underestimate the power of email, which also has free (up to a certain extent) options for sending out event newsletters as well as invitations or tickets.
If you’re planning an event that needs a guest speaker, a performer or a celebrity of some sort, you’ll be glad to know that not all of them ask to be paid for putting in an appearance. Some people will be happy to help out, if they feel that the event is a worthy cause, for example, or something creative and new. Others are only too happy to show up in order to promote their new song or book. Do your research or ask your event planner if it is in touch with anyone who might fit the bill.
Creating videos or presentations might also be a lower-cost alternative to having a live speaker or performer (and might even be found to be far more entertaining).
Production design can make or break an event—from the invites and promotional materials to the venue set-up itself, great design is, in many ways, half the battle won. While it is never wise to cut back on design, there are ways you might be able to get great design for less. One is to tap designers (and photographers) who are looking for exposure or something to add to their portfolios.
When it comes to dressing up the venue, a good event management company has a talented production design team that knows which materials are both best suited and cost effective for your event. Experts can also help you to separate the must-haves from the nice-to-have design elements—lighting is essential, for instance, but a 10-foot ice sculpture of a polar bear to go in the middle of the buffet table might not be.
Like the venue, catering (or snacks, at the very least) might be obtained at much less cost with planning, creativity and the experience of your event planner. Some caterers might be willing to exchange food for exposure or the opportunity to promote themselves, although this arrangement might not fit into your event objectives.
There are also alternatives you might consider, such as for wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres which, if chosen carefully, will serve just as well as their pricier counterparts. Or, instead of alternatives, you may choose to serve selections of a full set, such as one or two signature cocktails instead of a full bar. Again, a good event planner will know how to make the most of a fixed budget in this respect.
With just the right balance of care and chutzpah, an event executed with limited funds may be attended with nary a suspicion of it having been planned on a budget. As long as event objectives are kept in sight till the very end, such an event might well prove to be one of the best investments a business can make.
Get in touch with the event experts at Pride Events today to find out how your business can benefit from a well-planned event, even without breaking the bank.