There are a lot of ways you can save money when planning a corporate event. This is a topic of conversation that will be beneficial for both the event planner and host client investing money in a corporate event. There's no doubt about it, planning a Vancouver event is no small commitment, in terms of both time and money. However, I am a true believer in first compartmentalising the costs in 3 different categories to better know where and why certain expenses are a must.
Ask yourself what is most important to you: A glamorous venue, hi-tech decor and live music? Or, to have a huge two-day event, inviting as many people as possible? How much time do you have to plan and what is the deadline? Those three factors come with their own specific expenses.
Whatever it is that you decide matters the most, honour it and you will be better focused when managing expenses.
1) Go to Events and Case Study
In my opinion, the best way to learn is to see and get a feel for it all in action. There are so many free events in Vancouver; attend and observe. Look around and pay attention to details.
- Where are attendees gathering the most?
- What's the vibe?
- How is the layout organised?
- What are the food and entertainment options?
- What’s the registration process?
- How does the event make you feel?
- Where do you see could use some improvement?
- What did you find was unique and brilliant?
Don't be shy about making connections and introductions with service providers. Going to a corporate event is a smart way to learn, get inspired and shake hands with potential future business partners who can save you money.
Once you get a feel for events, they will become easier and quicker for you to plan, saving time and money.
2) Choose and Know Your Venue
Vancouver event planners know the venue is usually the most expensive part. It's important to know the ins and out of them and how far your money will go.
When choosing your venue, ask for a few things first and if you can go and see it for yourself, book a tour. Ask for a floor plan as well as a list of alternate options, about the loading bay, and the parking situation to better assist your guests.
What is included and what is available for rent? Usually, for an extra charge, venues have chairs, tables, lights options/settings, stage, podium, mics, sink and storage. It is sometimes easier and more reliable to use on-site facilities than renting them out from another source. This also saves you hassle and money as delivery and pickup fees can add up.
Something fun to consider is locations that are not being used at the time of the day or date of your event. For instance, local coffee shops that close at 6 pm and on Sundays. They can be a great place to host your next corporate event at a low cost. Maybe even collaborate with them and showcase their baking goods and coffee as your catering.
Gorgeous art galleries and studios are also an excellent option! Do a cross-promo with the artist, leave some artwork on display in exchange for their place to host, it's a win-win and also such a cool way to brand a local artist.
3) Team Up With Preferred Partners
This is a smart tactic: not only do you benefit financially when teaming up with service companies, but you also create business bonds that keep on giving. Those companies you want to work with, they are reliable and bring the consistent results you want. You are stronger together! For example, using the same audio/visual company every event makes it easier for planning as you know how to work together. Establishing these relationships could also lead to discounts on return business.
4) Value and Select Sponsors
Ok! This part can be viewed in two different ways. Who is helping whom? The answer is both. I often see corporate event planners begging for brands to sponsor their event, whether it be with a monetary or product donation in exchange for visibility. Here is the thing, corporate events are a powerful marketing platform and it should feel like you are helping one another. Show them the value of being present at your event with all those eyes and ears in real-time that you are providing them with.
This is an opportunity for brands to target and grasp the attention of their ideal audience. See it as an alliance that favours both sides. If you plan events in Vancouver, you have the luxury of choice. Be selective, don’t forget your company's values, and make sure they fit in line with attendees' mindset for the connection to make sense.
5) Diversify Your Promotional Channels
Yes, planning is important, but it's not an event if no one shows up! Advertisement doesn't have to cost you a fortune. Go online and start a Facebook event: simple, free. Some elaborated and well-known events will solely use social media as their promotional channel. One thing, make sure you have the ability and time to respond to all requests and questions this attracts. Other giant channels would be Twitter, Instagram and Google+. Have fun with it and create that buzz!
Another way which saves you so much time and money is email content marketing. Automation is a workload saver, so take advantage of it and send out those emails. There are ways to personalise them, making each receiver feel special and that's what you want. Create that bond and traffic to your website will follow.
Word of mouth remains the best channel of all. People are better convinced by individuals that have had a great experience and don't want their money. Spread the word!
6) Utilize Survey Intel
This is a must; post-event surveys are a prime way to know exactly what guests have to say. Send out surveys with well thought out questions about the entertainment, food, location but also more niche aspects like the diversity of interaction, the lighting and what they would change and what they loved the most.
How does this save you money? Well, this precious collection of information is gold. It sets you on the right course for your next corporate event. You may find out you spent a lot of money in one area, but no one noticed. Cross it out and invest in what they wish to see or would like more of. Perfect it and tailor your approach.
7) The Art of Negotiation
Event planners also have to play diplomat, networker and expert negotiator. This might seem cheap, but it depends on how you view it. Personally, I believe that if you don't ask you don't get. People in Vancouver are very open, thankfully. After all, when you negotiate, the worst thing they can say is no. It's all in the way you formulate your request. This is more of an "establishing relationship" kind of thing. This takes off the pressure, right? Be open and authentic as honesty is an essential part of negotiating. Mutual respect builds trust and this is key to a successful arrangement.
People can sense when the intentions are manipulative, so lacking integrity won't get you very far. Instead, focus on a win-win. What does the other party desire in order to be happy? Get creative with proposals!
Essentially, everyone should feel like they are gaining. Be mature as some will become sensitive, so help them to focus on the big picture. Don't argue. Also, don't push and don't rush a negotiation. Be flexible and give them the time to reflect on what was discussed. Lastly, cultivate a long-term relationship. Knowing who you're working with can save you a lot of money when the next corporate event rolls around.