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Event orchestration | 12 February 2014

8 Tips to Minimize Your Conference Planning Costs

Stephanie Brenner
No matter how big or small your budget, conference planners are always trying to save some dough. There are simple ways to save a buck or two in every area of the planning process, without skimping on amazingness. Avoid breaking the bank at your next event with these eight tips to minimize your conference planning costs.

1. Have a plan!- Managing your money is equally as important as budgeting your time. Plan out exactly how you will pay for your event. Whether it be from ticket sales, an internal budget, or sponsors, knowing how you will foot the bill is the first step.

2. Early-Bird Specials- Selling advanced tickets is a great way to test the waters and make sure there is enough interest to be able to fund the event. Crowdsourcing, when attendees pledge for tickets, can ensure there is a minimum number of attendees and is a great way to make sure the event is a worthwhile investment. Lastly, creating VIP packages that offer exclusive networking events or specialized workshops is also a great way to increase revenue for little additional cost.

3. Utilize Sponsors- Your list of expenses may seem endless. Find ways to cover some of these costs by writing them into your sponsorship contracts. A sponsored lunch can cover a meal for the day. Charging for advertising space on a mobile app can be great way to cover the cost (and more) of your event app. The more you work as a team with sponsors, the more you can save- truly a win-win!

4. Research your speakers- Taking some time to do a little Twitter and Facebook research on potential speakers can pay off big time. Find speakers who’ve already been booked for appearances in the area around your date. This may make them more likely to speak for less, plus reduce travel and lodging costs.

5. All Inclusives- Planners should seek out hotels that can provide all-inclusive packages. Not only will this end up saving money in the long run, but it is also a foolproof way to budget properly. Conference planners can know exactly how much they will be shelling out up front, instead of waiting until the end of the event for a bill. There’s always a greedy or extraordinarily hungry attendee who takes twelve crab cakes.

6. Flexibility- Be a conference contortionist when is comes to booking and date selection. Having some flexibility can aid in your mission to save some cash. Take time considering the date, and consider holding the event during the off-season to allow for access to more availability and take advantage of lower rates. Being flexible and holding off booking during peak times, or waiting until right after the rates change will line your pockets with extra cushion.

7. Utilize social media- Promoting on social media is a great way to save money. Not only is it an excellent way to reach your target audience, but it’s also (almost) free! Also, save on printing costs for items like letters and flyers by using emails, Twitter, and Facebook to get the word out. Using testimonials, empowering attendees to promote the event, and custom share buttons on your website are easy ways to create free promotion.

8. Event Apps– Bizzabo  and other event apps provide a way to save on printing costs (and socialize and innovate your event along the way). Use event apps as a new revenue generator by selling advertising space to sponsors on the platform. Your sponsors, attendees and your co-organizers will love you for that. You can’t beat it!

After following these steps your piggy-bank will be filled to its snout! You can cut costs without cutting corners and plan a memorable event.

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