Ways To Host More Events Without Increasing Your Event Budget
According to American Express' Global Meetings and Events Forecast, the B2B meetings and events business is expanding, as events are seen as one of the greatest methods to acquire and retain new clients. There is a lot of pressure to capitalize on this trend by hosting more events, but there are only so many days in a year, schedules are already jam-packed with well-established major events, and event budgets aren't going anywhere.
Smaller events crammed in between larger events have proven to be a popular approach.
Unfortunately, marketing budgets are limited, and 65 percent of event planners do not expect their event budgets to alter in the near future (Research by EventMB). On the other hand, expectations are always high since event planners are now more than ever fighting for the time and attention of potential guests.
So, how can you keep up with the demand for additional meetings while staying within the same event budget and maintaining good standards?
The solution is to return to what most likely drew you to event planning in the first place: the chance to be creative. We'll also teach you how to add some innovation to your event planning process in order to manage with tighter finances for these extra events.
We'll talk into marketing, talent sourcing, venue possibilities, and alternate event formats, among other things. Negotiation, sponsorship advice, and technology will all be discussed to help you get the most out of your budget. We've got your back, as usual.
There will be more events, but the event budgets will be smaller
B2B events garnered a record 1.5 billion people worldwide in 2017. With 329.7 million attendees, North American business meetings produced $381 billion in direct expenditure (Events Industry Council, 2018). There's no denying that organizing events are really valuable, and people want to see more of them.
However, with event budgets anticipated to stay unchanged, planners will need to find a method to meet increased expectations for transformational event experiences while competing against an ever-growing pool of planners. [The profession is predicted to increase at a pace of roughly 7% in the United States between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations (The Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).]
As a result, event planners will need to use all of their imagination, inventiveness, and determination to pull off these extra events and capitalize on the opportunities they provide.
However, there is some good news!
Smaller events provide planners with a less hazardous opportunity to test out new ideas before they're launched at larger events, in addition to meeting the desire for additional events. The smaller size also allows for more qualitative data collecting, which may assist planners fine-tune their concepts before applying them to larger events.
And, to take advantage of the trend, here are some suggestions for cutting expenses for these small gatherings without sacrificing the attendance experience.
1. Incentivize attendance using clever marketing
Take advantage of FOMO by taking advantage of limited-time offers
Because it's on a smaller scale, you can market it as a 'limited-to-a-select-few' meeting opportunity. Using the exclusivity and scarcity impact (only 50 slots available!) to position your event as a must-attend for an elite audience will help you position it as a must-attend for an elite audience.
Maintain your current audience
If the target demographic is similar, strongly promote to those who already attend your prior events. It's far easier to sell someone on a well-known brand or event than it is to persuade them to try you out in the first place.
Import lists and use built-in features to improve your marketing if you're using an event management software.
Make use of discount strategies
Why not give a discount in the form of "register for the tiny event, get 10% off the big event" if your small event is thematically or substantively related to your larger ones?
You may also establish early bird prices to encourage people to register early.
Use social media to your advantage
Social media networks are free to use, and advertising on them is far less expensive than some of the more traditional options, which will eat into your event budget. Small events make some social media marketing methods more doable, and they're a wonderful way to accomplish things like competitions and raffles that you might not be able to scale. Why not hold a crowdsourcing game on Facebook or Twitter where people may contribute photos that you can use as part of a digital wall on the day of your event?
The more focused talks at smaller events are also an excellent way to figure out which platforms your target demographic prefers (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, but also smaller niche groups and forums).
Participate as a partner with the local media
Contact local media outlets that cover your sector or a certain issue and give them coverage at your event in exchange for advertising it through their channels. If they don't want to become too involved, a gentler way may be to encourage them to conduct a contest for their readers to win seats.
Invite them to the event as journalists or guests, or include them in event activities such as asking them to judge the contest, meet with the winners, and interview them.
Participate in the marketing by inviting lecturers or performers
The performers you select are crucial to the success of your event. Include cross-promotion on their usual distribution channels (social media feeds, for example) in their contracts, and offer them co-branded marketing opportunities that are relevant to their audience (webinars, podcasts, interviews, written publications, etc.) to put your event right in front of their eyes.
2. Look for alternative sources of speakers and talent.
Organize an open call for speakers ahead of time
There may be speakers or presenters who are eager to get visibility, discuss new ideas, or establish themselves as industry thought leaders. Holding an open call ahead of time allows you to locate the top presenters who are ready to talk for free.
Look for folks who want to sell anything
Find people who work in comparable sectors or provide complimentary services, and give them a trial or sample in return for presenting at your event. If you provide their product favorable exposure in exchange, they could be willing to give you a discount on their speaking costs, especially if your audience is highly qualified.
Try out some of the local talent
There are two advantages to having local artists at your event. To begin with, you will save money on travel and hotel. Second, seeing specialists or entertainers from their own neighborhood will stimulate the local audience.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau of your location can provide you with a list of local talents and specialists that can lend a distinct cultural perspective to your event while staying within your event budget. The best part about it? They do it for no cost!
VIP sessions with the speaker/expert are available
Why not offer private VIP sessions for an extra fee if one of your professionals is ready to do so? The earnings from these additional sessions may be used to offset the expert's cost.
Consider multidisciplinary or peripheral experts
Depending on the nature of your event, there may be fresh speakers or influencers in related sectors that you wouldn't ordinarily employ to draw a huge crowd to your main event, but who may provide an intriguing take or viewpoint at a smaller gathering.
3. Look for boutique venues that are less expensive
Make use of a supply network
Meeting and event planners may access over 255,000 venues globally through the Cvent Supplier NetworkTM. Planners may use it to send a single eRFP to numerous locations at once, providing them visibility into their meeting and event spending and allowing them to negotiate the best pricing.
Make the most of your event's tiny size
Aside from the fact that smaller places are frequently less expensive, the size of your event may provide you with additional possibilities, such as new or unusual venues, which may increase interest in your event.
Receive a discount
Highlighting the venue's exposure and visibility (smaller venues may not be as fully booked as larger venues) may help you negotiate lower pricing for your event.
Try contacting the venue as soon as possible, as they may be more ready to provide a deal.
Booking several events enables both bigger and smaller venues long-term exposure, which boosts your CLV and overall value as a business partner.
Look into one-stop shops
Some venues now provide packages that include AV, tables and linens, food, and other services. That may be less expensive than hiring several providers, and it will save you the time and effort of dealing with various contracts and vendors (only one point-of-contact to deal with, less back and forth, etc.).
Collaboration with DMOs
Destination management companies can help you find and evaluate venues and suppliers for free, which may save you a lot of time.
They are well-connected in the neighborhood and can thus recommend local culture, themes, and skills to add a special touch to your event. They also have stronger ties to local venues and suppliers, allowing them to obtain favorable prices without having to haggle for days.
4. Become an expert negotiator
Make every effort to have complete sight over all of your possibilities
The Cvent Supplier Network is a portfolio of prospects that allows you to clearly compare and contrast your alternatives and their respective pricing so you can negotiate the best rates. It links you with thousands of eligible venues globally and substantially simplifies the RFP process.
For all events, consistency among vendors and providers is essential
Partnerships might help you save money on your event budget. Working more closely with vendors and suppliers and forming connections that are closer to partnerships might be useful if you are hosting a lot more events. You may receive better discounts by leveraging the continuous and more regular business you represent. You could also be able to get business deals, which are usually more cost-effective.
Furthermore, employing the same vendors and goods for several events lowers administrative expenses associated with reviewing contracts, completing internal onboarding, and so on. As a valued customer, your supplier may add you to a list of preferred clients who are given early access to new features in order to test them and assist the supplier in ironing out the problems.
Ensure that there is as much long-term visibility as feasible
The sooner you begin bargaining, the easier it will be to obtain favorable terms. If you provide suppliers and vendors long-term visibility, they are more likely to cut their rates than if you turn up the week before your event.
Look for low-cost calendar dates
If you don't have to stick to a strict schedule, having some flexibility in your calendar might help you save money on your event. Ask your vendors when they have more availability, or request estimates for a series of dates at various times throughout the year to get a feel of when they'll be less expensive. Off-season activities are often less expensive and have less competitors, however you should avoid booking around holidays and popular vacation months (unless your event is taking place in a popular vacation spot).
5. Create opportunities for sponsorship
Construct sponsorship packages.
Incorporate your smaller events' sponsorship packages into your larger event's sponsorship packages. Include more complex partnerships, such as sponsoring exclusivity in some areas of the broader event, such as on the app.
Make sure the sponsor's demands are aligned with the needs of your audience: allow your sponsors the freedom to choose the package that they think will be most useful to them while also providing them with insight into what the audience is searching for. That means doing away with the conventional silver/gold/platinum offerings in favor of more customized packages in which the sponsor may pick and choose the options that are most relevant to their target audience and goals.
It also entails coming up with fresh and innovative ways to communicate your sponsor's message. Why not have a sponsored chatbot that provides all of the pertinent information to your attendees? Or branded photo booths, which are usually a hit with guests and can provide the sponsor a lot of visibility when the photos are shared on social media?
Consider using Cvent's Sponsorship Package Generator if you need help building packages and pricing sheets for sponsors.
Make contact with local companies
Approach local companies and demonstrate to them what a fantastic chance for promotional exposure your event provides to local attendees. If tourism is an important element of the local economy or the event is recurrent, even a primarily visitor crowd might be an useful audience.
Expand the number of sponsorship possibilities
Smaller events provide more possibilities for your sponsors to connect with your brand, resulting in better and more consistent opportunities for them.
Smaller events have a lower revenue potential for many vendors, so they may be more willing to sponsor a service in-kind or at a deep discount – especially if it's part of a bigger sponsorship package that includes additional events.
Almost every aspect of your event may be sponsored, including separate event websites, an event app, sessions, the venue, and food. Don't be afraid to approach vendors about in-kind sponsorship options. These allow sponsors to claim the full retail value of their services (while also saving you money), yet they really cost sponsors a lot less.
6. Save on logistical and human resource costs by utilizing technology
Investigate the use of automation
Many chores in the event preparation process may be tiresome and taxing for your team (as anybody who has ever worked with registration data in an Excel spreadsheet knows).
Focus on technology that favors automation, such as event management, to lower your team's effort and save on human resource expenditures. Many of them not only make it easier to create registration webpages and gather data, but they also make it easier to integrate with other tools in your workflow, allowing data to flow smoothly from one to the other.
Instead of employing various tools for distinct event functionalities, choose an all-in-one solution. Cvent, for example, provides software solutions for online event registration, venue selection, event administration and marketing, onsite solutions, and attendee engagement to event planners and marketers.
As previously indicated, utilizing a single platform offers the extra benefit of making data connections easier. As a result, data input and tiresome setup are reduced from one stage of the event to the next – and even from one event to the next if your events are recurrent and the same individuals are likely to attend.
As the number of requests for events rises, event planners are feeling optimistic. However, there is fear that event budgets will not expand in lockstep with inflation.
Organizing smaller-scale events in between larger events is a technique that some event planners may want to consider.
Even though these smaller events must continue to fulfill the audience's expectations on a perhaps reduced budget, there are several inventive methods for an event planner to impress their audience while keeping expenses down. You may not be able to put on the largest or flashiest event money can buy, but you can still make an impression and give your attendees a memorable experience.
Many aspects of the event planning process may be aided by technology. Technology, if used effectively, may help you streamline logistics, minimize workload, and devote more time to the creative side of things.