Newcastle events company Beacon House Events shares some tips on how to budget for your event.
Planning your event programmes can be exciting, but with so many decisions from catering to venues, travel, and entertainment, it can be difficult to keep your ideas in line with your budget. Here are some tips to help..
Understand your business aims and
An event programme is a major undertaking for a business, and it can be tempting to chase the shiny, new thing on the market. From the offset, you should understand what your events are trying to achieve; that could be staff retention and recruitment, bringing your community together, or celebrating your achievements. Once you understand the impact of each experience on the overall business you can decide the size and scope for each – and allocate your budget accordingly.
Fixed vs variable costs
For each event there will be fixed costs, those that won’t change no matter how many attendees you have, and those that will vary. Estimate the size and scale of the experience and divide up your fixed and variable costs from there. A fixed cost may be something like a speaker fee or entertainment, while variable costs could include catering or accommodation costs for your guests.
In-person, hybrid, or virtual?
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a virtual or hybrid event is the cheaper option and make sure you budget accordingly to avoid any nasty surprises. Having fewer attendees on-site doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll save money, any budget which may have been spent on catering or venue hire will be replaced by the cost of video production and streaming platforms to ensure online guests get a quality experience. Always put the attendee experience first when you are in planning mode and don’t be tempted to cut corners when it comes to delivering great digital experiences.
Define your non-negotiables
It’s tempting to start with the big idea, but there are non-negotiables that you have to consider before you get into the exciting stuff. Every event in your annual calendar will need catering, a host venue (or virtual platform), inspiring content, marketing to generate ticket sales and staffing costs. Once you have defined the essentials you can begin to build the areas that will really bring your event to life, from venue dressing to top-of-the-range AV or music, you can be much more strategic with your creativity if you know what you have to play with.
Have a contingency plan
Fail to plan and plan to fail! The most experienced event planners know that there is always something lurking that wasn’t originally accounted for. Build a buffer into your budget to mop up any nasty surprises along the way – we would advise holding back around 15% to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch (you can always invest it back into the event programme if you don’t need it).
Put sustainability at the heart of any event planning. Delegates are expecting businesses to consider the environment more than ever so cost up sustainable options for catering, single-use plastic alternatives and environmentally friendly transport from the get-go.
Evaluate past success
If you have organised events in the past, spend time reviewing which experiences your delegates really valued and where you can afford to allocate additional spend this time around. Looking at what did work, and what didn’t, can help you make more educated and strategic decisions regarding your budget spends in the future.
Remember, a lot can happen in a year so keep your budget flexible so you can adjust it over time and as your events take shape.