8 Money-Saving Tips for Corporate Event Planners

How to Plan a Successful Event on a Limited Budget

corporate event planners

Corporate events are fun to plan, and brainstorming ideas and venues brings a level of creativity that many corporate event planners enjoy.  Unfortunately, these ideas can stop dead in their tracks once the budget numbers roll in and the realization sets in that your event budget does not meet the vision of the event.

Creativity does not stop with the event planning process, however. It is also needed to plan a successful event on a limited budget.

Here are some money-saving tips for corporate event planners:

1. Know Your Budget

Before you begin planning your corporate event, determine your budget.  No sense spending your time putting together ideas and potential venues that you cannot afford.  Itemize allocated costs for:

  • Catering
  • Entertainment
  • Venue
  • Guest speakers
  • Decorations
  • Other incidentals  

Knowing this before you start planning will help you to stay within your limits.

2. Don’t Overlook These Budget Items

When planning a corporate event, be sure to include costs for the following items:

  • Printing for handouts, presentations
  • Costs for signage and banners
  • Marketing and promotional costs
  • On-site registration services

3. Accept Your Budget

Have champagne taste on a beer budget?  Don’t despair.  Save yourself the frustration of trying to plan a big budget event with a small event budget. Accept the budget you have.  Instead of getting frustrated by the lack of resources, get creative.

  There are numerous ways for corporate event planners to plan successful, memorable events with limited funds.

4. Be Flexible When Negotiating Your Venue

If possible, be flexible when negotiating with a venue.  Consider a few potential dates for your corporate event and inquire if the hotel has any openings during that timeframe.

  Hotels will often offer discounted pricing to fill an opening around your target date and you can negotiate better rates if you can work around their peak demand times. 

In addition, if there are several venues in the area that fit your requirements, use this to your advantage.  When competing for your company’s business, venues may negotiate on price and underbid other facilities in the area to win your business.

5. Avoid Sit-Down Meals

If you are serving food at your corporate event, it is much more cost effective to serve buffet-style versus a sit-down meal.  Buffets not only eliminate the cost of waiters and table service, but you can also reduce the money spent on the food itself. 

If you want guests to mingle and meet one another, then consider serving finger food and reducing the amount of space for sitting and eating.  When guests are standing and have small plates, they eat less and spend more time engaged in conversation.

Full open bars can take a bite out of your event budget, so consider limiting the bar to beer, wine, soda, and juice.

6. Book Guest Speakers Early

Like airline tickets and hotel rooms, speaker fees tend to climb the closer you get to the engagement. Book early to get the best rate.

Do a little research and see if there is an appropriate guest speaker who will already be in your area at that time. They may offer a reduced rate and you can save on transportation and lodging costs.

7. Consider Using Sponsors

In today’s world, there are sponsors everywhere, from arenas and concert halls to sporting events themselves. Consider using sponsors to help offset the costs of your event.  Companies closely affiliated with your business or industry may welcome the opportunity to promote their name to your audience. Make sure it is a good fit with your company and the clientele at your corporate event, and explore what they will offer in exchange for the exposure.

8. Be Diligent in Tracking Your Expenses

In corporate event planning, you will likely have a team of several people who have responsibility for individual tasks.

  Keep a close eye on all of those individuals regarding their spending.  Communicate clearly your budget guidelines and be diligent in tracking expenses.  Ask for regular reporting of any purchases made and set guidelines for which expenditures must be approved by you prior to being made. This is one area of corporate event planning where having control is critical to keeping your expenses within your event budget.