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    15 Things to Remember When Planning Your Event Budget

    When planning events, event planners and event professionals know the importance of generating ROI. However, whether it’s calculating the return of investment based on how much the event’s plates cost, or understanding the ROI of the mobile event app – there should never be any question as to what value your expenses bring back.

    1. Event A/V

    Whether you work for an event agency that plans events year-round with an in-house event audio/visual system, or you are putting together a small business event that is going to hire a third party–calculating the cost of renting vs. hiring equipment (as well as host/DJ)–is something that needs to be taken into account. Often times, small businesses and small business events think they can save money by purchasing their own audio/visual equipment and having an untrained facilitator host their event with lesser quality tools. Yet every event planner needs to consider the expectations of the event audience. Are you expected to showcase lights, music, and a custom event soundtrack, or are you just looking for microphone setup and PowerPoint display?

    2. Printing

    Do you plan to print agendas and schedules for the day of your event? Will sponsors and exhibitors of your event be required to print their own resources, or will printing be included in their event vendor fee?  Will you need to print mailers, handouts, or registration materials? Often times the most basic of printing materials, from additional sponsor materials to contact information, are forgotten in event planner’s budgets.

    3. Other Signage

    Whether you’re planning to promote your event in a traditional manner before your event through newspapers, flyers, or brochures, or you’re merely thinking about what on-site signage you may need at your event, the list can seem never ending. It’s especially important to remember that not every venue has signage to supplement announcing or showcasing your event. Additionally, remembering that signage includes wayfinding signs throughout your event (from showcasing the hotel’s or conference center’s location in relationship to your event’s meeting rooms to merely locating the bathroom) is important.


    4.  Digital Awareness

    In addition to print and on-site signage, digital awareness of the event is crucial. Vendors and exhibitors can share information through web copy or social media copy to help showcase their presence at your event (hello, delighting your event sponsors!), or you can gain event traffic and attendance by promoting your event across the internet through paid advertising on sites like Google or Bing. Event planners often forget the importance of pre-event engagement and awareness and the cost that these components add to their event budget.

    5. Catering

    Catering isn’t just about the food at your next event. Catering costs, in addition to food, need to include the cost of staff to serve, prepare, set up, and clean up your food. Additionally, most often event planners forget to consider the cost of beverages at their events. Whether your beverages will be provided “on the house” or you will have a cash bar, event planners need to take into account the cost of the beverages themselves and the cost of the servers or tenders creating and providing the beverages.

    6. Seating & Tables

    Often times when planning events, event professionals forget the necessity of tables and table layouts. Event venues do not always provide tables and chairs, and that is an additional expense all event planners need to take into account when planning their event budget. Additionally, when planning your event, the layout and diagram of how you seat your event’s attendees is more important than most event planners realize until it’s too late. Need help figuring out exactly how to situate your next event’s attendees’ seating arrangements? Check out the social tables event seating software.


    Whether you intend to do a pre-event registration or an exclusive on-site registration at your next event, do not forget how important the process of event registration truly is. MeetingPlay’s event registration platform helps expedite this process, making a typically daunting and time-consuming task seamless and event-friendly.

    8. Nametags & More

    In addition to your signage and other printing costs previously discussed, also consider the cost of event attendees’ nametags, badges, place cards, table numbers, etc. Event planners often forget to ask if their event’s registration software includes the cost of these printed materials.

    9.Venue/Location Costs

    Whether you’re a small business intending to host your event in a local pub or airport hangar, or you’re a large conference intending to host your event on-site or in a large conference center, remembering the cost of the actual venue (and what that does and does not include) is a specific (and often most important) component of any event planner’s budget.

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    10. Venue/Location insurance

    Event venues don’t always come with insurance, and there’s no denying that, as an event professional, you need to guarantee the safety of your event's attendees while also protecting your company or business. Whether you go with a large event venue or a small private business venue, your event needs event insurance.

    11. Event Photography/Videography/Media

    Will your event be large enough to attract media professionals who will desire event professional passes? Or will your event need to hire external and outsourced event photographers, videographers, and media providers? This consideration is often a missed event budget expense that is scraped up last minute when the realization hits that the need is great.

    12. Speaker Fees/Honoraria

    Whether your event intends to provide a speaker honorarium (a payment or showing of gratitude for services that are typically rendered pro bono), or you are hiring specific speakers that come with an expense, it’s important not to forget this cost in planning your next event. Typical honorariums for small or mid-sized events can range from three to five thousand dollars, while attractive and well- known speakers can cost more than $20k.

    13. WiFi

    Will your event venue provide WiFi, or will you need to contract an external 46 WiFi internet for your next event or conference?  A common mistake is assuming that your event’s location will provide internet. Be sure to check with the venue first, or you could have an issue on your hands that is too late to fix. Whether you have to rent external or temporary event WiFi or it comes with your event venue fee, this is a specific part of your event planning budget you absolutely do not want to forget.

    14. Mobile Event App

    Event technology is no longer just “cool and hip;” it is expected and assumed to be available at events--including mobile event apps. MeetingPlay’s mobile event app is a leader in the industry, helping event professionals engage their event attendees before, during, and after their events, as well as providing industry-leading real-time reporting, live polling, social networking, and more. Learn how MeetingPlay’s mobile event app can help you drive event engagement and more here.

    how to monetize mobile event app

    15. Décor, Lighting, Flowers, Staging

    Last, but perhaps most typically forgotten, is the physical appearance and atmosphere of your event. Performances, audio/visual equipment, photographer, event venue, and more have all been taken care of – but have you thought about presentation? From lighting to centerpieces, this oft-forgotten expense is one of the most important aspects of any event planner’s budget.

    In Conclusion:

    There are numerous details to consider when planning your next event budget, from your event app to table set-up. Hello Endless provides a great event budget template for Microsoft Excel or Google Docs. Regardless of the size of your event, knowing the goals of your event and the expectations of the attendees  helps best prepare your event budget.

    Wanting to learn how to drive engagement - before, during, and after your event? Download the MeetingPlay free eBook - 'Ultimate Guide to Improving Attendee Engagement'


    Ultimate Guide to event attendee engagement

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