How to Plan an Event on a Budget

A seasoned event organizer knows that part of winning a piece of business means that their budgeting skills need to be sharp. In some cases it can be a deal breaker. Knowing which questions to ask a potential client can help an event organizer select the right venue.

In this post I’m going to show you why the budget planning process doesn’t have to be the toughest part of an event proposal.

The Budget Planning Process is a Key Component to an Event Proposal

For most conferences or events, it’s the social functions that can add to a planner’s overall budget. It can also be a bit of a catch 22. Most event organizers understand the importance of adding social components to a program. From the planner’s perspective, they have to make the event attractive enough so that the attendees want to come.

The budget planning process for an event begins at the initial planning stage. That’s when the meeting planner sits down and maps out the various components of their conference or event. If they have a predetermined budget, they can begin to allocate funds towards each component. Pretty soon they’ll have an understanding of which parts of the program will need to be tweaked in order to meet the event’s budget.

You might want to check out these related articles on planning an event:

How to Plan Your Budget around Your Event

A social event usually involves; on-site staff, transportation, venue rental fee, food and beverage, service and equipment charges and entertainment. You can easily understand where the cost will soon reach, or exceed, it’s budget. But rest assured, there are ways to still have a great social event without blowing your budget.

When I meet with a prospective client I always inquire about their budget. Sometimes planners are hesitant to disclose their budget (as they feel that that amount will get chewed up regardless of where the event is held). However if I know what their budget range is, I can find a suitable venue that will work within their parameters.

Here Are Three Areas Where You Can Trim an Event Budget

Transportation. Of course if you are holding your event off-site, depending on its location, you will have to provide transportation. Transportation vehicles can be expensive. Depending on the group’s size, you can easily spend $20-$30 per person on transportation.

Tip – look for venues that are within walking distance or consider hosting the event in-house (at the hotel).

Venue Rental Fee. Many groups like to host their events in unique spaces. Museums and art galleries are amongst the favorites. But, for facilities like these, there are venue rental fees on top of the food and beverage charges.

Tip – look for venues, such as restaurants with private rooms, that are elegant yet do not charge a venue rental fee on top of the food and beverage charges. Hotel ballrooms do not charge a rental fee if your event has food and beverage.

Service and Equipment Charges. Many standalone venues (such as museums and art galleries) are not equipped with kitchens. Therefore, the caterers are required to bring their own equipment and service staff for the event. They passed this charge along to the client, naturally. The cost for service and equipment can even be in excess of what the food menu would cost.

Tip – look for venues that have on-site kitchen facilities. Also, quite often, the in-house caterer has more access to the venue and can offer lower service and equipment charges because of that. Hotel ballrooms also do not charge for service and equipment.

Planning an event on a budget can be challenging. A seasoned event organizer knows which components of an event can be trimmed without affecting the impact of the event itself. Transportation, venue rental fees and service and equipment charges are three areas that can drive an event’s budget over the top. But there are venues out there where you do not have to pay these charges. An event proposal that addresses these areas has a very good chance of winning that piece of business.

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