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8 Ways to Cut Event Costs

Budgets are increasingly tight for event planners. It’s something we are all struggling with. Rather than feeling pressured into cutting costs across the board, we believe that you can reduce your spend in some areas while maintaining it where it matters most. In this article, we share eight ways you can cut event costs without impacting the success of your event.

1. The Venue

Finding an affordable venue that meets all your requirements can be a challenge. It is however totally worth it. Venue hire costs can leave the biggest dent in your event budget, so shop around to ensure you are getting the best deals.

You should make lots of enquiries but make sure you are fully prepared first. What’s your headcount? What space do you need? What facilities are essential? You then need to strike a balance between the money you will save and location, transport links and facilities.

Go directly to event venues and speak to the team. This allows you to find out their low-season and off peak dates and unlock discounted rates.


2. Equipment & Facilities

When you are looking at venues, you need to consider if they have all the facilities you require and that these are included in the cost of hire. Some venues will have everything you need: from A/V equipment to robust wi-fi, lecterns to cinema screens.

You want to avoid hiring extra equipment and technicians. You may find, like 20 Bedford Way, a dedicated technician is included free of charge as part of the package.


3. Multiple Quotes & Negotiating

Like any other purchase, you want to ensure that you are getting the best possible value for money. Spend some time shopping around and getting several quotes from venues and suppliers. You can then compare their offerings.

Don’t feel you need to stick to one supplier or venue just because you have a history of working together. We’re all for mutually beneficial and long-standing relationships with suppliers but not if its burdening you with higher costs. Break out of the cycle and shake things up if there are savings to be had

Once you are aware of the different offerings and exactly what’s included, you can then negotiate to drive down the price. As Kate Thompson states in her post on negotiating, “Understanding why and when a venue will come down in price should help you to get the best discount.” Remember that if you have chosen your dates correctly, the venue will be keen to fill it. When negotiating, be confident, polite and firm. And never compromise on your essential requirements.

For negotiation tips, 39 of them to be precise, check out these negotiation strategies for event venues from Jeff Kear.


4. Flexibility on dates

Flexibility is one of your greatest assets when it comes to cutting event costs. If you can be flexible on dates, then you will be able to negotiate with venues and unlock lower rates. Have a few different dates in mind and be prepared to move things around if the right deal presents itself.

You can ask venues directly when their low season is and if they have off-peak rates. A word of warning though – you should quadruple check through all available sources that there are no other big conferences and events around the dates you are looking at.

5. Extra Costs

Effective budgeting and the careful tracking of ALL in-comings and outgoings is vitally important for event planning. A love of spreadsheets and an eagle-eyed attention to detail are pretty much essential in our jobs.

One way you can reduce the cost of your event is to cut out any additional spending on unnecessary items. Review the list of all your known outgoings and question each item, asking yourself: Is this really necessary? Many costs can be slashed in this way

Some common additional expenses include:

– Marketing Materials – Go paperless! Printing out marketing materials and programmes is expensive. Sending them to attendees via the post is even more expensive. Make use of email marketing and social media as an alternative. Consider an event app or make things easily available online.

– Catering – There are always cheaper alternatives. Whether you are opting for in-house caterers or your own contracted caterers, speak with them directly about devising a menu that works. Hungry attendees aren’t happy attendees but don’t over deliver. Forget free bars too – they are a sure fire way to see costs rocket.

– Travel costs of speakers – It can be extremely expensive to cover the costs of travel for speakers at your event. Carefully consider if and when this is truly necessary.

– Swag bags – Freebies may seem like a good idea but in reality they often contribute to a cycle of waste. They are also costly, so we recommend ditching the swag bag. Maybe offer access to some exclusive Digital Content instead.

woman calculating an event budget

Woman with calculator via Nasa on The Commons. No known copyright.


6. Use Social media

Social media is a powerful marketing weapon and a cost effective one. It allows you direct access to your target audiences. Use it strategically and you can engage with attendees throughout the lifecycle of your event.

There are also paid social options within many of the platforms that can be effective at extending your reach. When compared with more traditional marketing efforts, paid social media advertising has the potential to offer a much healthier ROI.

Read our article on Using LinkedIn for Event Marketing or how to use Social Media for Networking. You can also engage them at the event with Live Tweeting, adding more value.


7. Volunteers

Good volunteers are worth their weight in gold. With good management and clearly defined roles, they can help you to deliver a high quality event without needing to hire additional staff.

We’ve all been there – embarking on a career and desperate for that hands-on job-ready experience. Volunteering for a professional event can be a launchpad for a career in events, but remember to make it worth their while. If you manage volunteers effectively, it is a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Read our Guide to Managing Event Volunteers


8. Event sponsorship

Working with a sponsor can help you deliver some core elements of your event or add those extra elements by providing additional funding. The support they provide doesn’t need to be confined to financial support alone.

Finding the right sponsorship partner can enhance your event and improve the experience of attendees. Remember though that corporate sponsors will be looking for a clear return on their investment whether this is increasing brand awareness or direct sales.

EventBirdie has a good post on How to Secure Sponsorship for your event.


Affordable Bloomsbury Events Venue

20 Bedford Way is located in the heart of Bloomsbury in Central London. It is within walking distance of Kings Cross and Euston stations as well as a couple of minutes from Russell Square tube. Our purpose built theatre Logan Hall is a fantastic conference and event venue for up to 910 people. We also have a range of smaller ‘blank space’ rooms for hire that provide excellent facilities as well as flexibility. Email us today venuehire@ioe.ac.uk and one of our event team will be in touch.


Header image adapted from Rod & Gun (1898) via Internet Archive Book Images Flickr – no known copyright restrictions.



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