12 ideas for event planning on a budget

Tips and hints from TryBooking

06 June, 2017

TryBooking



We’d all like to hire the most expensive venues with unlimited catering budgets – but more often than not, we have to watch our spending.

But just because you’re tightening the purse strings doesn’t mean you have to settle for sub-par. In fact, the more you look for bargains in your event-planning the more likely you’ll be able to squeeze as much out of your budget as possible – and end up with a better result than you thought you might.

With that in mind, we’ve put together 12 ways that you can get the most out of your event when you’re counting your pennies:

 

Pick your season right

Depending on your event you’ll be venue-hunting, and no doubt looking for a location that often shares bookings with other events like weddings or receptions. That means when you hit certain seasons, you’ll be paying a premium.

Think carefully about when you actually want to hold your event and if that will mean you’ll pay more as a result. Often it can’t be helped, but if it can, then take the chance to schedule wisely – and that might also mean picking a cheaper day of the week as well.

 

Get volunteers to help out

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Just because you need staff doesn’t mean you have to shell out a fortune. Instead, work with what you can get – can you use younger people who need experience in events to help manage things? Think about what you can give them in return, as well. It may not be money, but experience and the chance to help manage future events can be a great advantage. Try these tips on finding the best volunteers for your event.

 

Find a sponsor or partner

Finding and nurturing sponsors and partners isn’t easy, but if you’re on a limited budget then it’s definitely something you should think about.

First, think about the theme and the purpose of your event – then identify organisations that might want to align themselves with that particular theme. For many organisations, sponsorships are a form of marketing, so you need to think in a business-like way. What outcome of sponsoring your event is that organisation likely to receive? How many eyes will be there, seeing their logo or advertising material?

Be creative with what you can offer, including space on programs or printed materials. Approach the transaction like any business deal and you’re likely to get a better outcome. See more tips on finding great event sponsors

 

Exclusively market online

The beauty of operating online is that you don’t need to spend a cent in order to get the word out. Using social networks (especially hashtags) and other online marketing channels can ensure you reach your targeted demographics with little trouble – and if you have a social cause or purpose attached to your event, the better.

You can also save costs by managing the booking process online too with tickets, bookings and seat plans. TryBooking is a cost effective option and if your event is free, then TryBooking is totally free to use and can help you organise tickets, seating and other administration tasks as well.

 

Go easy on the decorations

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It can be tempting to make your event bombastic with plenty of décor, but don’t go nuts. If you’re on a budget, a little decoration goes a long way and even cheaper materials can make the “look” of an event seem more expensive than it actually is. 

Take lighting for example – it has the maximum impact for the lowest price. And we don't just mean wall lights - try fairy lights or lanterns too. 

And if you're in need of table arrangements, fruit, small flowers, branches and other fresh produce presented in vases and bowls can really make an impression.

 

Track your expenses

This goes without saying, but you need to be doubly sure that you actually track what you’re spending. Many event planners can get into trouble because they don’t adequately plan for extra expenses that come along, and they don’t track what they actually spend. Make sure you keep a keen eye on what’s actually being spent, and then leave yourself some wiggle room for when the unexpected can occur – even if it’s only a small amount to be used as a backup.

 

Photography

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Of course, you want someone to document your event, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay a fortune. Instead of hiring a professional photographer, find someone in your network who takes decent pictures and let them use the event as an example in their portfolio. Better yet – find photography students who are eager for the experience. Not only will you end up with some decent photos, but you’ve probably made a good business contact if you find the right person.

 

Catering can still work with a reduced spend

Yes, you want to provide your guests with some good food. But you don’t need to go overboard – most people are happy with a few decent things to eat and a drink or two. When shopping around for catering, don’t necessarily be tempted to spend more to get a huge variety of foods, or even rely on wait staff. It's often more cost effective to buy just a few foods in bulk and most guests will be satisfied with a serve-yourself style buffet.

 

AV equipment

If you need a microphone or an AV set-up, then ask around and see if you can borrow some equipment for an evening. You don’t need anything fancy if you’re just looking for a microphone and some speakers, and make sure you become familiar with the equipment before the night so you can train someone to operate it.

 

Give good content over free stuff

Yes, any event with some swag might get people talking. But if you’re running a tight ship then you can’t afford to give out trinkets. Instead, provide some value that people will actually enjoy – make sure you put a good emphasis on speakers or the main content of the event itself and send every attendee an email follow-up with some material they might find useful following the event, even if it's just a picture gallery from the night. 

 

 

Haggle

Believe it or not, people still negotiate on prices. Be firm and even offer something in return – like a supplier being able to more prominently display their logo or branding in the event material somewhere, like in online invitations.

 

When in doubt – go bold

If you really don’t have any money to spare, don’t be bashful. Don’t outright state that you can’t spend anything, but make sure you put the purpose of your event front and centre – and then make sure people know what they’re coming for and the value they’re going to get out of it. That way, the fewer trimmings won’t matter as much – and people will be more understanding than you think. Focus on what really matters, and they’ll come back – and next time, they might even pay.

 

Here's to a great event on a budget,

The TryBooking Team

06 June, 2017

TryBooking



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