Tips for creating a realistic event budget

5 November 2018

Creating a realistic budget, then keeping to it, are two fundamentals of running a successful event, says Mike Leeson, General manager Europe, ETM. Read on for his top seven tips.

  1. Fully understand the expectations and objectives of all stakeholders
  2. Clarify the essentials/non-negotiables vs. the ‘nice-to-haves’. No venue or supplier is going to tick every single box, so to save time and money, determine the key requirements before your start.
  3. Conduct some initial research into the preferred destination(s) and the event dates. Ask, ‘Are there any public holidays or major events taking place that may affect availability and cost?’ and, if delegates are travelling from international locations, is flight access good/cost effective?
  4. Try to define and account for as many of the requirements of the event in advance as possible, so things don’t keep getting added on. For example, have you made allowances for all transfers, including between venues if there are more than one; have you thought about extras such as room drops or welcome gifts?
  5. Ensure venue and supplier quotes are inclusive of all applicable taxes and service charges, so you don’t get stung later. In certain markets – the US, for example – there are always additional sales taxes, resort fees, service charges etc. that add a significant amount to the ‘net’ quoted rates.
  6. Plan regular event project meetings with key stakeholders throughout the planning process. Regular updates will make sure everything is on the right track and that you’re keeping an eye on the budget. These will also make key stakeholders aware of the budgetary impact of any decisions or additions that are made.
  7. Always include a contingency amount in the budget. However hard you try, there will always be changes or unexpected costs for which you may not have accounted. A contingency, even 5% of the expected total budget, will give you a bit of flexibility.