Planning an Event on a Tight Budget

Event planner doing budget planning

We know that after providing employee benefits and paying all of the bills to keep the lights on at your offices, you may not have a ton of funds left for corporate events. All too often we see those in charge of planning retreats, small conferences or networking events struggling with a tight budget. Over time, we’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks to help overcome this challenge to host a successful event without going over budget.

1. Start with the budget.

Sometimes businesses that are new to corporate events think that they will get a quote for everything and then try to find the funds somewhere. This approach generally only leads to frustration down the line. 

Knowing the budget upfront will help keep whoever the planner is from wasting time looking into venues, guest speakers and decorations that are simply too far outside the budget. This also helps whoever in charge to be able to clearly communicate budget with event planners or venue staff.

2. Find the right sized event space.

People new to planning events often think that they should choose a larger room “just in case”. In actuality, choosing the bigger room often just increases your costs without really being necessary. 

Ticketing your event is a great way to get a more accurate prediction of who will actually show up, but even buying a ticket won’t stop some people from staying home instead. On average, you can expect the dropout rate to be around 30%. So if you’ve invited 400 people to an event, plan on roughly 280 of them actually showing up.

The difference in cost between a smaller event space and a larger one is significant, and could be put towards another aspect of the event. Our event planners can help you choose the right space for your projected attendees.

3. Think through food and beverage options.

Too many times, we see corporate event planners cutting away at the food budget, or even getting rid of food altogether. But we can work with you to find the right packages that fit your budget.

Buffet-style meals are always less expensive than plated meals, and limited drink choices helps cut costs tremendously. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, we may recommend snack trays or small plates instead of serving a full meal.

Browse our catering options and menus here.

4. Plan out signage and printed materials strategically.

When it comes to corporate events like expos, seminars or conferences, we encourage our clients to bring their own signage and other printed materials they may want for their event. While having large banners and signs around our facility is ideal, you don’t have to go overboard. Think strategically about what kind of signage will make the biggest impact, and limit your spending there accordingly.

5. Wait for sales and discounts from event venues.

The NEW Center often has special sale periods or offers that can help you save. For example, we had a special running in 2019 during the months leading up to the holidays that could get you a 10, 20 or 30% discount on food and beverage purchases for your event if you booked by a certain date. Watch out for other special offers from us!

Start Planning Your Next Event

Planning any event is stressful, but it is even more so when you’re working with a tight budget. That being said, it is completely possible to create a wonderful experience for your guests without going over budget. Contact The NEW Center to learn more about our venue or to start planning your upcoming event!