Tips For Planning Events on A Budget
Event budget, rising costs and delivering on client expectations without breaking the bank are all key challenges that event planners face in 2015. This week, VenueBook had the pleasure of sitting down with Q&A guests, Kelsey Silver and Amanda Drewek, Co-Founders of Eventurously to learn more about smart planning with smaller event budgets. These two fun and ambitious women made their way from the mid-west to NYC to offer their event planning and marketing services to startups in the NYC community. Their slogan? “We Plan, You Party.” They've shared with us their tips for planning events on a budget.
"Event space is the most sought after necessity for an event —it can make or break your event experience."
VenueBook: Are today's (client) budgets failing to keep pace with the demands placed on event planners?
EV: Eventurously was established in November 2013, so fortunately/unfortunately we have only been around post-2008 financial crisis. Although most people remember the affect this crisis had on their personal lives, the events industry was hit hard. We’ve heard stories about the event budgets and types of events that were thrown prior to 2008 (think Great Gatsby), but we were never involved. Since our establishment, we’ve been pressed hard to stay within budgets. Although the price per person seems to be growing with every event we do (same clients, same event, bigger budgets the second time around), so is the price of products and services we need to hire for events. The recent technology and entrepreneurial boom has lead to the creation of amazing and groundbreaking products to showcase at events, and our clients are always looking to push the envelope. But with new products comes higher prices. So, although the client’s budgets are increasing year after year, so are the overall prices of events.
VenueBook: What are your clients most shocked by when it comes to high costs?
EV: Venues. Venues. Venues. The price per square foot in NYC is astonishing, and our clients based outside of NYC are blown away with the prices we present to them. Event space is the most sought after necessity for an event —it can make or break your event experience. And because it is the most important aspect of an event, it is easy for spaces with great views, outdoor space, and large capacities to charge what they believe their space is worth. And trust us, someone will pay their asking price.
VenueBook: Can you share your best tips for working with clients with lower event budgets?
1. Get Sponsorships! The best way to pack a lot into a small event budget is to find a sponsor (in-kind, financial, media, etc). This not only allows you to have more budget for the remaining event needs, but also legitimizes your overall event.
2. Build Relationships With Vendors! If you find one photographer, one caterer, one photobooth, (etc.) who you continue to use for multiple events, they will be more likely to give you a discount knowing that they have your loyalty. Find a good one, and keep them!
3. Charge Ticket Sales! Even if you set the ticket price at $5, this not only offsets the event budget (even if it’s just a little), but also encourages people who have RSVPed (and paid) to actually show up. If you’re throwing a free event, the drop off rate for people who have RSVPed is around 50% (they have nothing invested in the event). If you charge ticket sales, you’re likely to have 75% of RSVPers actually show up.
VenueBook: Do you have a low-budget success story?
EV: When founding our company, we decided that we wanted to focus our efforts on working with startups in the NYC community. They’re passionate about what they do and really feel like they can change the world through their product or service, and we wanted to be a part of that movement. What comes along with this industry is a lack of budget. Startups are lean money machines— they only spend money on what is vital and necessary for their existence and success, which is smart when starting your own company. So part or our job is to sell an event idea to these companies (think ROI).
One time we had a client who wanted us to do a “trial run” by giving us $1,000 for a 75 person party. Just to put that into perspective, that’s $13.33/person for food and drink for 3 hours! We chose a space in their office to clear out the existing furniture, and set up make-shift high tops, a bar, and a catering station. We then found a catering company that was willing to negotiate with us for cheese and fruit platters — we discussed building a partnership over multiple events with them, giving them a reason to lower their price with us. And then came the hard part... getting liquor. The two of us had no extra budget to hire people to deliver our event needs, so the two of us went around to different liquor and convenience stores picking up handles of liquor, bags of ice, and carrying them through Times Square. By the time we got back to the office we had to still set up the room and bar, handle all of the deliveries and physically work (bartend) the event. At the end of the night, we still had leftover liquor, food, and everyone had a smile on their face. We call this a great success and a lot of hard work! :)
Thank you Kelsey and Amanda! Keep up the great work.
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Topics: Event Planning