A lot of meeting planners that I talk to today tell me that, more and more, they are planning their own events. Most of the time the reason they’re doing it alone is because of budgets. To use an event planning company, so they tell me, would add to their already tight budgets. But when I press those meeting planners on exactly how much they think an event planning company would cost them, most planners don’t really know. Which got me wondering, can someone that’s planning an event still use an event planning company without costing more? You’re going to be (pleasantly) surprised at some of the feedback I received.
Be Very Clear of What Your Expectations Are When You Hire an Event Planning Company
Now don’t get me wrong. There are many areas where you would pay additional by hiring and event planning company to plan and execute your event. But, believe it or not, there are also ways where you can actually save money by hiring an event planning company. Confused? Well let me explain a couple of areas where you can save or at the very least spend no additional money by hiring an event planning company.
Of course I’ve talked about hotels many times here before. So I’m not going to get too detailed in this post about commissionable rates (check the links at the bottom for some related articles about hotel commission rates). Basically many event planning companies have relationships with hotels where they can provide their clients with the same rate that the clients would have received had they dealt directly with the hotel. The benefit for the client is that the event planning company will do all the rate negotiations etc. and just present the final package to the client for approval. And, while the rate may be the same by using event planning company, by factoring the time saved by the end client not having to negotiate and search for hotel rates, the cost savings can be substantial.
It Doesn’t Hurt to Know a Little Bit about Suppliers Rates before Approaching an Event Planning Company
Another area where you can save money when planning an event is on the event suppliers themselves. If you’re considering using an event planning company for your event I would suggest taking a little bit of time to research a few venues to get an idea of what their pricing structure is. I would apply the same methodology for transportation companies as well. If you’re not familiar with the city that your hosting an event in, it’s still easy to gather a little bit of information so that you’re prepared when discussing pricing with your event planning company. It’s very easy to get the transportation rate from the airport to your hotel, for example, by doing a few simple Google searches. The same would be applied for restaurants and venues. From there, once you get an idea of what the suppliers charge, you can sit down with your potential event planning company and tell them what your rate expectations are. Or even better, ask them if they think they can get you a better than retail rate with both suppliers. You could be surprised what they will come back with.
Today business competition can be fierce. But look at that as a positive especially when considering an event planning company. Many event planning companies have become creative as they realize that they have to be very competitive to survive in this economy. Do not hold back on your expectations. Rather, be very expressive as to what rates and levels of service you are expecting. You never know, you might just save yourself valuable hours in event planning leg work that you were planning on doing yourself.