Ten top tips for running events on a budget

Marissa Irons of Experian and Victoria Archbald of Hearst Magazines spoke today at C&IT's Corporate Forum, giving their tips for planning events on a budget.

Hearst's Victoria Archbald talks to delegates at the C&IT Corporate Forum
Hearst's Victoria Archbald talks to delegates at the C&IT Corporate Forum

The "Busting the Budget Barrier" session at the C&IT Corporate Forum, taking place at Chewton Glen, saw a number of creative ideas for saving money in events offered up by Irons, Archbald, and delegates in the audience.

Key tips suggested were:

  • Build a strong relationship with the sales team

"Make sure you build a strong relationship with the sales directors," said Irons. "If you don’t have a relationship with them then you can’t get the best rates. If you go through an agency you’ll get their rates, which won’t always be as good. Also, if the team know you they will go out their way for you, if not then they probably won’t."

  • Really get to know the venues

"Get in there and see everything," said Irons. "I always do an overnight stay. If you stay there you can experience the service and see if there’s anything that makes you feel annoyed that you can point out to hotel. I always go in jeans and trainers to see if I’m treated differently from if I was wearing a suit."

  • Have an events plan in place beforehand

Irons said: "If you don’t have an events plan in place then you probably can’t even get started to barter with the venue."

  • Use local companies

The audience agreed with the speakers that using local companies for activities can save money, as can bringing in "local talent" for entertainment rather than having people travel in from big cities.

  • Network, face-to-face and online

"Bounce your ideas off other people in the industry to make sure that they’re good and get inspiration and advice," said Irons. "I also use forums on sites such as LinkedIn."

  • Think about the ‘talkability’ factor

"If you have no marketing budget, it’s important to think about what the attendees are going to talk about after," said Archbald. "We try and focus on the small details and the element of surprise, attendees will talk about that afterwards and post about it on social media."

  • Make things multifunctional

Archbald described a Hearst event where the food doubled as entertainment and the desserts were in the shape of different types of make-up.

  • Think mobile first

Archbald said: "We think about ‘mobile ‘ first, what people are going to put out on social media. People take photos throughout the night, and if you’ve been clever with the details, that’s creates content for you."

  • Get the staff involved

For internal events, looking for people in the company who can play instruments or have other talents can save money on the entertainment, and people love to see their colleagues on stage.

  • Do charity activities

Debbie New from Centrica Energy explained how she turned a Christmas event into a "campaign for giving back" when budgets were cut. Attendees paid to enter a Christmas quiz, and extra cash was given to charity. Other audience members mentioned teambuilding activities such as painting a children’s playground, which costs nothing and helps others at the same time.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
Oman to welcome IGRC in 2020

Oman to welcome IGRC in 2020

Sultanate to host the International Gas Union's 16th International Gas Research Conference at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Events company faces legal action from makers of video game Fortnite

Events company faces legal action from makers of video game Fortnite

Epic Games issues claim against Exciting Events after widely criticised event in Norwich.

Diary of a delegate: Beautiful Bergen

Diary of a delegate: Beautiful Bergen

A three-day account of the C&IT A-List FAM trip, in partnership with Visit Norway.

Case study: Space to Breathe wellness event

Case study: Space to Breathe wellness event

Center Parcs hosted a wellness event for clients including MIA, Experian and the University of Nottingham.

The future of event feedback

The future of event feedback

A look at how new technology is changing the nature of feedback for event planners.

SevenEvents hires new project manager

SevenEvents hires new project manager

Jade Davies joins from Touch Associates and her new role will include developing client relationships.

Cievents VP talks US market trends, challenges and opportunities

Cievents VP talks US market trends, challenges and opportunities

Alison Howlett, vice president of live events, talks about creating business opportunities, US trends and popular destinations.

Case study: PPA Festival at Tobacco Dock

Case study: PPA Festival at Tobacco Dock

The Professional Publishers Association held an education festival in May 2018 with guest speakers including politicians and actors.

New director and event coordinator for Pure

New director and event coordinator for Pure

Agency promotes client services director and hires event coordinator to strengthen the team.

Loganair to take over cancelled Flybmi routes

Loganair to take over cancelled Flybmi routes

Glasgow-based company Loganair has stepped in start flying five of Flybmi's routes from next month.

LATEST JOBS