Sarah Halfpenny Events

Event Budgets – the ups and downs

by Sarah Halfpenny

One of the first steps when planning any event is to create your event budget. This is simply a breakdown of all likely costs and expected income that will be associated with delivering the event. Whether your event is to make profit or be cost neutral….

Below are a few things to consider when developing and managing your next event budget.

1 Put yourself in the shoes of your delegate. Ask yourself ‘What will they need?’ ‘What will they notice?’ and ‘What will they expect?’ This will help determine where to spend your money.

2 Don’t fully cater for every delegate. You will most likely have a small handful of no-shows, late arrivals and those who leave early. As a rule of thumb I would cater for 75% of delegates for arrival and afternoon refreshment breaks and provide lunch for all.

3 When choosing your lunch choice, do they require a sit down meal that includes additional costs of waiting staff? Do they need a premium lunch choice when a sandwich lunch would meet the needs of your delegates for a fraction of the cost?

4 If you are planning a networking drinks reception, ask yourself if there is an expectation that there will be champagne and canapés or could you provide the venues house red and white wine with some nuts and olives instead, again at a fraction of the costs.

5 Often Event staff are to busy to have a break over the lunchtime period so a separate catering option such as a grab and go sandwich option is both practical and cheaper!

6 Capture the full costs of all venue add-ons. These range from audio visual equipment such as laptops, microphones, lapel mics and laser pointers too chairs, tables, staging and poster boards.

7 A Day delegate rate can help control your cost but make sure get a specific breakdown of what exactly is included and a list of the added extras.

8 Check the levels of venue staff that will be available on your event day. From your point of contact, Catering Manager, Operations Manager and AV Technician you may find you need to pay for this additional support especially if its out of their core working hours.

9 Finally don’t forget to include the little things. These can range from printed material such as directional signage, delegate hand-outs and badges to delegate giveaways, speaker gifts and staff expenses.

Your event budget will change on a weekly, if not daily basis to reflect the developments of the event. Keep it up to date and it will provide some useful insights that will enable you to make decisions on what expenditure can and cannot be made.