When planning corporate events, use some of the ideas below to make your budget go farther.

In today’s world, cost-cutting is not a bad word. Everyone looks at the bottom line and no matter the purpose of the event, ROI (return on investment) is top of mind, as well as heavily tracked. Even organizations that have generous event budgets want to make sure the public perception of their events isn’t going to turn into a PR disaster. Below are some suggestions on how to keep your budget lean and impress your boss with your saving savviness.

  1. Consider vendor partnerships and trade deals. Sometimes vendors want something you have to offer more than your dollars. If you think a trade makes sense, broach the subject with them. They may be interested in VIP tickets to your event or social media plugs or a free booth or service offering. It never hurts to ask.

  1. Negotiate for what you really want. Many people are afraid to negotiate. What’s the worst that will happen? Someone says “No.” But maybe you get a great deal out of it. Very few things are truly non-negotiable. For example, sponsor packages come with a list of assets. You may not need all of them. Maybe you want more of something and nothing of something else. Or maybe something isn’t in the package that you want. Have the conversation to see what’s possible.
  1. Put taste before waste. Take a hard look at your budget and see what could be cut or what can be downgraded without affecting the ambiance of the event. Don’t overdo things; it can be bad for PR and your budget. Be honest with vendors. If they pitch you an idea for something and the price is unreasonable for your purposes, tell them and work with them to find a better option. 
  1. Take advantage of sales, deals and off-season rates. Just like with travel, ask for off-season rental deals. Use those junk emails that include sales deals. Keep an eye out for sales on items you know you’ll need and stock up or buy early when it makes sense.
  1. Be thoughtful with branded Items. When procuring branded items, think long-term. Some may need to be event-specific, but not everything does. Look for items and use branding that can be repurposed for other events. Take shipping, storage, packaging, etc. into consideration.
  1. Don’t be penny-smart and dollar-dumb. Usually, if something is too good to be true, it’s because it is. Being the cheapest option does not translate to the best deal. The cheap item may end up costing you a fortune in time or reorders because you’re chasing down the vendor. Or the hotel may be under construction – resulting in frustrated attendees or requiring you to spend more money to cover up or fix issues. Most of the time, it’s worth it to spend a little more and save on some hassles. Remember: If you’re always shopping for the best deal or bidding out for the cheapest option, you’ll wear out your vendors and they’ll be less likely to help you out in the future. This isn’t saying don’t shop around. Just be smart about doing it. 
  1. Ship directly. Save dollars and your time by directing vendors to ship items to the site, instead of to you. That way, you won’t have to ship it out to your venue. Also, if you’re doing multiple events or a tour, don’t ship your extras back to your office. Ship it to the next event. Make sure you give a heads-up to the venue or your on-site contact to expect something early. Plus, it saves on shipping materials; reduces the chances of something being lost, damaged or late; and helps the environment.

Now that you’ve got a jump-start on easy ways to save on your events, take the next step and engage Vela to handle your next event. We take the stress off you with our turnkey event services, from strategy to budgeting and planning, and then execution and post-event reporting.