One of the most important responsibilities of an event planner is the daunting task of staying within a budget for an event. For multiple day events, the responsibility is even more crucial as minor cost overages can quickly become compounded until the final bill bears little resemblance to the original cost estimates. Fortunately, several key practices and tools can be implemented to reel in spiraling event costs.
From the start, it's crucial to know as much about the event you're planning as possible. Although this may sound simplistic, fully understanding an event allows a planner to better estimate the needs and expectations of those attending. Thorough research into every aspect of the event will help event planners accurately determine budgets, and stay within them.
Equally important is having one person in charge of approving additional costs for an event. Although it places added responsibility on the shoulders of one person, it is by far the best practice. Allowing a single individual to green light additional expenses outside the budget greatly assists in avoiding unpleasant surprises when the final bill arrives.
It is important to remember that for most events, there will undoubtedly be unexpected expenses. When determining a set budget for an event, be sure to plan for these types of expenses. Knowing there is a small budget for unexpected expenses prevents the event budget from going out the window with the first unexpected incident.
It is important to avoid unnecessary costs at events. Know the difference between things that are "must haves" for attendees and things that are "nice if we have them." For example, bottled water is among the items that can be eliminated to shave off excess food and beverage expenses at venues. As the event planning process progresses, it is much easier to spot unnecessary expenses to eliminate.
At the conclusion of a high dollar event, it never hurts to inquire about a cash payment discount. Although those credit card frequent flyer miles might seem attractive, asking for and receiving a 5 to 10 percent discount for the entire event bill is guaranteed to please anyone involved. The end of the event is also the perfect time to inquire about the possibility of locking in future events at the venue's current menu price.
Staying within a predetermined budget can be difficult for even the best professional event planners. Event planning is a series of budgets, negotiations, and relationships. With practice, mastering these essential components and understanding their symbiotic relationship to event budgeting can be very instrumental in executing a successful event that arrives within budget.