Meetings & Events

Quick, Digestible Event Budget Planning Tips to Set You Up For Success

event budget planning

Being the intermediary has never been an easy job, but it’s crucial – and that’s exactly the role event planners often take. Your company, or client, has tasked you with planning an event, and they’re counting on you to deliver.

Budget is often time the biggest challenge when it comes to event planning, and for good reason. The budget is the driving force behind the entire operation, it’s needed for every other detail – venue, cuisine, activities, etc. So if there’s one detail that is necessary to pin down at the very beginning of the planning stages, it’s the budget.

You can, and will, plan the event of your company’s or client’s dreams, especially if you utilize these key concepts.

Event Budget Planning Tips

Orchestrate The Event Around The Budget, Not Vice Versa

One doesn’t pick out a house and then worry about the financials later, right? Same goes for budget planning. The budget must be decided upon and then the planning and specifics can take place. Even if you understand this, be sure your client does too.

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event budget planningGather a List of All Possible Expenses Immediately

One reason budget planning can go awry is when unexpected expenses pop up. Sometimes unexpected expenses are just that – completely unexpected. But, many times the unexpected expenses were simply oversights, things missed because of poor initial planning. A bummer later on, but an easy fix at the get-go! Think thoroughly and critically about the event and try to factor in all possible expenses. It’s always a happy occasion when there’s money left over, but it’s a less happy occasion when more money is required later on!

Here’s a super helpful outline of event planning expenses.

Listen to Their Event Dreams And Bring Them Back to Reality

Since you’re the one doing the actual planning, you’re the one who has to think and act realistically. The client, on the other hand, might enjoy staying in dreamland with unrealistic expectations. In the first stages of planning be sure you hash out what is feasible and what isn’t. Try not to leave your client with stars in their eyes unless their event dreams line up with the budget.

Turn The Vision Into a Budget Outline

After you’ve gathered as many details as possible, it’s time to draft an initial budget outline. This is also the perfect time to explain to the client that the budget is a living, breathing, thing. Helping the client to understand that attendance fluctuations and other factors can alter the budget along the way, will help to manage expectations.

RELATED: 6 Crucial Considerations to Make When Selecting Your Meeting Event Hotel

If Applicable, Don’t Overlook Your Fee

event budget planningAlways, always, always be sure to include your fee into the budget. Whether your fee is a percentage or a straight fee, it’s an important part of the budget and shouldn’t be overlooked! Overlooking it will also send the wrong message if you don’t remember you need to get paid, why should the client? Be confident in your fee! You work hard, you deserve to be compensated!

A Few More Considerations…

Building a budget is no small feat, and you’re doing an excellent job! Here are a few more considerations that can get overlooked that are crucial to the budget and planning process:

  • Cost Trimming – Nearly all events reach a time in the planning when a cost or two must be trimmed. Rarely does an event feature an unlimited budget, wouldn’t that be nice? To save a headache later on, it’s good to chat with the client about where money can be saved, if necessary, without compromising the ambiance or feel of the event. Examples include – are ice sculptures really needed? Will a buffet style meal suffice, or is plated the only way to go? Can centerpieces be gotten elsewhere for less? Etc. etc.
  • Audio-Visual Options – AV spending can rival that of the venue or the cuisine if you’re not careful. For more in-depth tips on this, visit here.
  • Marketing Options – The catch 22 of many events is this – if we don’t budget in marketing, then no one will come, if no one comes, no money is made. Consider every single free or low-cost marketing avenue, of which in today’s society, there are many.

Don’t Be Shy Towards The Venue Team!

One of your biggest resources will be the meeting/event team at the venue. If your event is going to be held a hotel, for example, get to know your contact there and get a comprehensive understanding of what’s included at the hotel. It might be that certain AV features are already ready to go, requiring no extra spending. Or, based on the size and scope of your event, certain things may be complimentary at the hotel – i.e. meeting rooms, hotel rooms, a meal, etc. Who knows, it could be that the more you spend, the more you get for free.

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