How to reduce event costs

image This is the title of an email I received earlier today – which claimed that you could learn 50 ways to cut event costs by attending a half-day seminar for £250 plus VAT.

Of course, you should be able to recoup the investment in good training from the advice gained there – or you can save the cost by not attending and finding helpful advice online.  Here are 25 tips from me – free of charge.

1. Find a free venue – you can avoid room hire by negotiation, barter or offer free places at an event in exchange, use bars or other public spaces for small meetings, etc.

2. Get delegates to write their own badges on arrival

3. Piggyback on existing events which your audience is already attending

4. Time your events so overnight stops and catering costs are avoided

5. Email materials in advance

6. Come up with attendee participation ideas rather than expensive entertainers

7. Find unusual speakers who won’t be big budget – people in the news or experts within suppliers, in-house or other contacts

8. Ensure signage and other materials can be reused

9. Invest in your own audio visual equipment rather than pay hire charges

10. Don’t pay for expensive flowers or other fancy table settings

11. Look for smaller, quirkier venues who will welcome your business

12. Repeat exactly what you’ve done in previous years but cut 5% off all costs (negotiate or eliminate) and save on planning time

13. Opt for a set reception drink rather than an open bar, put a limited number of bottles of wine on a table rather than having it served and go for jugs of tap water rather than bottles – it’s better for the environment too

14. Manage a tight budget – get quotes and all details down in writing so everyone is clear over exactly what is provided for the money

15. Invest in a good camera and avoid photographer costs (or get guests to take their own using their mobiles and send them to you)

16. Ensure venues have free parking available

17. Keep an event local and cut down on travel time and costs

18. Have free seating at an event rather than a printed seating plan

19. Automate wherever possible – use free online software to send invitations, monitor responses, get menu choices, secure credit card payment etc

20. Think of creative low cost stunts and publicity ideas – maximise word of mouth and produce marketing materials that can be used online or to email rather than print them

21. Negotiate – if venues and suppliers can’t cut costs, see if they’ll offer a discount for prompt payment or can offer extras within the original fee

22. Manage your numbers – it is frustrating to be charged for no-shows, so ensure you have as late a date as possible to inform a venue of final numbers

23. Find partners to share space at exhibitions – do you have a common mission with other companies which means you can take a single stand?

24. Avoid events as incentives – the company party or incentive trip can be replaced with a much more low key option

25. Make a virtue out of low budget – make a barbecue or a road trip an exciting alternative to big budget extravaganzas

What are your suggestions?  Let’s see if we can offer up 50 tips here for free.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

2 thoughts on “How to reduce event costs”

  1. What a great selection of points here! Thanks for sharing these. I specialise in creating promotional clothing for events, here are a few other ways of reducing the cost of putting on an event without effecting your image. Hope this helps!

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