Balancing a corporate event budget is possibly the biggest challenge all planners face. Brainstorming ideas is fun, but if problems arise, it’s assumed that it started during the initial discussing stages. It becomes frustrating when brilliant ideas stop dead in their tracks because your budget can’t make it possible.
For those pinching pennies, here are some corporate event planning tips to help you maximize the intended budget.
Itemize Allocated Costs and Stick to it
Your corporate event will not materialize without knowing what the budget should be spent on. Before even deciding on specifics, spend your time putting ideas together and make sure you can afford it. Your entire budget should cover costs for the venue, decorations, guest speakers, entertainment, catering, and other incidentals. Keep track of all expenses, including the very small ones because they add up.
Once these are itemized and the budget for each is assigned, it’s easier to stay within your limits.
Package Deals Are Your Friends
While it’s possible to find the cheapest deals in each expense category (venue, tables and chairs, catering, etc.), it may take a while before you come up with where the most affordable ones are. An easier way to save money is to look for package deals.
Start with the venue. The place you’re looking into might also be able to prepare food and beverage, tables and chairs, and other equipment. Collect a list of package deals on multiple venues and compare them so you can narrow your options down to one.
Consider the Off-Season
Event venues often slash their prices off especially on unpopular dates and seasons for events. Take advantage of this and get deals on spaces and other amenities during the off-season, where not many people flock. Some hotels also have cheaper rooms and function rooms during the week than the weekends. If you can make the event happen on a weekday, you won’t have to spend so much on the venue alone.
If it’s possible, avoid planning a corporate event during vacations, sports season, or if there’s a concert in town. It might be the reason why guests aren’t as overwhelming in numbers as you expect, or event spaces suddenly cost too much.
If you want to save on manpower costs, volunteers are a great way to keep your event running without the additional cost.
There’s a caveat to do this though: you cannot expect each volunteer to be as skillful as you would want them to be, so you’ll have to orient and train them. Make sure your volunteers know what to do to avoid mishaps, and make sure that they can approach you directly as well, in case something goes wrong during the event.
Don’t forget to thank them for their services, and maybe reward them with a little something when the event is done.
Say No to Sit-Down Meals
Of course, what’s a corporate event without food? Since you’ll have to shell out money to feed guests, consider getting a buffet than a sit-down meal. This will reduce food expenses, and at the same time eliminate the cost of having to hire table service or waiters.
Another trick is to serve finger foods, which lessens the amount of space for eating and sitting during the whole event. This allows for mingling more than eating.
A little creativity can go a long way when it comes to stretching your corporate event budget. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends and family as well. They can provide feedback and suggestions, and provide connections as well. You might even get a sponsor!