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Budgeting tips are a hot topic right now at many networking events. Seems everyone is looking for that silver bullet. Many meeting planners select an event venue based on its budget. Now don’t get me wrong, budgets are important but knowing how to budget an event can mean the world of difference for the event’s success.
There was a networking conversation, in particular, that caught my attention. It occurred in a LinkedIn group. In that conversation, a group member stated that if a planner doesn’t want to provide a budget than offer the upper end of what the function would cost. Most times the planner will reply and state that it’s too high. Funny how, when presented with a dollar figure, a planner all of a sudden knows what price range they are considering.
Budgeting Tips: 4 Areas Where You can Trim an Event’s Budget
Food. If the event consist of a meal function, play particular attention to the food and beverage costs. I can’t tell you how many times a planner would get back to me, during the proposal stage, and say they need to save money and asked me to cut back on the on-site staff. Seriously, staff costs? Now, for those of you that may not know this, on-site staff might run a couple hundred dollar per staff. Lot’s to save there, right? Wrong! Say your event is for 50 people, then you would only be trimming about $4.00 per person by cutting staff. AND you need those staff members to ensure your event runs smoothly. Where a planner should look, if they wish to make substantial budget cuts, are the menu items. You could easily save $10, $20 + per person and still have the same level of event desired.
Beverage. A host bar (where the attendees do not pay for their drinks) can be expensive. Knowing how to budget for beverage is crucial. It helps if the planner understands their delegates so that he or she can ensure the correct amount of product is on hand. Here’s our drink budget calculator that can assist you and ensure you don’t over (or under) order.
Service Charges. Service charges usually apply to venues without full kitchen facilities. Many museums and attractions would fall into this venue category. These service charges can cost as much as the food portion of the budget. This is one the main areas, of an event’s budget, where a planner can realise substantial savings. If the event’s budget is tight, then consider venues that only have full service kitchen facilities.
Entertainment. Many events require an activity. Whether that’s a band, stand-up comedian or another type of entertainment, the cost can add up quickly. For this budget item the type of venue is important. If the event is being held at an attraction, then the very venue can be the entertainment. What you have to weigh here is the cost to rent the attraction venue verses the cost of other entertainment options. I would always propose an attraction as a venue so that the planner could compare costs with and without additional entertainment cost.