Event Planning Budget: Tips to Save Money and Increase Revenue

You can’t talk about an in-person, hybrid, or virtual event without also talking about your budget. There are a huge variety of factors for which you need to account including the booth, the collateral, the swag, travel, and more. Thankfully, it’s possible to host events in a way that accomplishes your goals without using the majority of your marketing budget. You simply need to be proactive and keep a few key things in mind. 

What is an Event Budget?

An event budget is an estimation of how much money you need to spend to successfully host an event. To accurately build your budget, you need to understand three basic elements:

Cost-Saving and Revenue-Increasing Tactics

Go Virtual

One of the best ways to save money is to host an event virtually, using state-of-the-art virtual event products and 6Connex's very own open universe. Whereas a physical event comes with a laundry list of expenses: venue rental, staff, travel, food, hotels, and entertainment, a virtual event eliminates many of these line items. 

Furthermore, by saving money on venue and food and beverage costs, event planners can allocate more budget toward attracting high-profile speakers, workshop facilitators, and entertainment that make the event more appealing to their target markets - increasing event revenue.

Consider Hybrid

While hybrid events can incur an increase of 30-40% in technology equipment costs, there are ways to offset these increases. In addition to the reduced hotel and catering costs of a hybrid event, event organizers can also use the agenda to their advantage. For example, an event organizer can record all presentation content ahead of time, and then use the live event for networking and discussion only. This on-demand content can be reused for other purposes as well, increasing your ROI on your hybrid event.

If your event is internal, it’s also important to remember that a creative agenda can reduce the costs associated with removing employees from their day-to-day work. Consider, for example, an annual sales kick-off. By scheduling a couple of regional activities such as dinner and entertainment and then presenting the educational content virtually for half days over a couple of weeks, organizations avoid pulling their teams out of the office for several days at a time. Furthermore, the content is readily available on-demand for sales reps who join the organization after the kick-off has taken place, improving on-boarding and increasing the time-to-value of new employees. 

Use Sponsorships to your Advantage

Event sponsorships are an excellent way to defray event costs or generate revenue, and virtual and hybrid events give sponsors access to a larger audience, which makes them attractive to potential sponsors.  Also, they give sponsors more ways to engage.  For example, sponsors can host a booth.  Or they can display digital banner ads.  They can run video commercials.  Or they can send mobile push notifications.  

Sell sponsorship packages (e.g., Platinum, Gold, Silver) with varying investment levels. Allow sponsors to host an entire webcast session, brand a networking lounge, livestream a booth event, and/or sponsor a game or a prize giveaway. Once signed up, include your sponsors as part of your integrated event promotion—mentions and advertising in emails, e-newsletters, banner ads, and registration pages.

Savvy event organizers can attract significant sponsorship dollars by getting really inventive and building a robust menu of sponsorship opportunities for your event. For example, offer sponsors that purchase a physical booth free digital ads. You can actually start to increase the value of the sponsorship, and you might be able to sell more. Another added benefit to a virtual or hybrid event: there’s no limit to the number of virtual booths, which means event organizers can contract with 50 booth sponsors, not five, further increasing sponsorship revenue opportunities.

You can also create an incentive for your event sponsors to promote the event. For example, send your sponsors the event registration page with a tracking code embedded.  Those who generate the most registrants through their promotion efforts receive a discount on their sponsorship, more advertising opportunities throughout the event, or similar. By attracting more attendees, you increase event revenue.


Don’t Overlook the Long-Term Value of your Event

The truth is, event planners have long wanted to increase audience engagement beyond a two- or three-day event to accelerate marketing and sales pipelines.  Fortunately, event technology and a virtual event platform has always been a gateway to long-term content engagement, and post-pandemic, the format is now a standard tool in every event planner’s toolkit.

If you make the switch from live to on-demand content, remember the event will be in the public eye for as long as you wish. One benefit to this approach is of course the ability to monetize the content over the long-term.  In fact, many organizations have found their content can be an additional revenue stream, off-setting the cost of the events completely.

Price your Event Appropriately 

Event organizers are often flummoxed by how to price a virtual or hybrid event and worry virtual attendees expect their event to be free of charge. However, the value of any event is in the content and the learning the software, which means organizers shouldn’t hesitate to price a virtual or hybrid event accordingly. Furthermore, virtual and hybrid events provide access to content beyond the duration of the event, which is added value for the attendee. So whatever you do, don’t undersell your event. As a rule of thumb: once event organizers analyze their event costs and remove the in-person components such as infrastructure and catering, virtual attendance typically prices out at 60% of the cost of in-person attendance, further increasing your event ROI for the win. 

Use Low-Cost Promotions  

Even if you don’t have a large budget for paid media and advertising, you can beef up registration by promoting and marketing your event early and executing a low-cost, integrated campaign using email, social media, e-newsletters, and press releases.  

Prepare for Budget Adjustments

As the event gets closer, conditions will naturally change - which is why a certain amount of flexibility needs to be built into your budget so you don't make the event management mistake of being caught off guard. For the best results, build some variability into your budget so that you can accommodate any unexpected expenses. If an in-person, outdoor event is suddenly in the path of a major storm, for example, what will you do? What happens if you planned to have five employees on-hand for the event and you suddenly need eight? These are the types of questions you need to answer - and budget for - ahead of time to mitigate financial risk as much as possible. 

Pro tip: Find an event budget planning template to help gain clarity of what you need to include into your adjustments. Many are available online, and you can use them to build a "best case scenario" as well as a budget with contingencies, often labeled as “give backs” or "miscellaneous expenses.” Click the image below or download one here for free.

event budget template

Image source:https://www.smartsheet.com/free-event-budget-templates-simple-complex 

The 6Connex Approach

One of the best event planning tips that will save you money and increase event revenue comes down to making sure you have the right event tech integrations. 6Connex, for example, is one of the many virtual event solutions on the market designed to provide endless event possibilities. There are myriad customization options, resulting in an enjoyable and engaging user experience. 6Connex also offers always-available, on-demand customer service to make sure everything goes precisely the way you want - from the very beginning of the event planning process to the live day of your event and beyond.

For more information about how to plan your event budget, or if you just have additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact us today. You can also request a virtual event platform demo to see what virtual and hybrid events can do for your long-term marketing goals.

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