Making sure you keep the costs low when choosing your event venue, sounds easier said than done. With a few wise choices and early decisions, you’ll find yourself saving more than you realise.
We’ve put together a few pointers to help organise and keep realistic the expectations of your chosen venue. Above all, make sure that quality is not compromised. Anyone can spend less on an event, but its pointless if you don’t meet the desired need.
The early bird catches the venue, if you plan at least six months ahead you’ll reap the benefits with value for money. Knowing what you need way ahead of time, will save costly mistakes.
The best-laid plans of mice and congressmen can often lead you astray, including a flexible term of postponement and cancellation during uncertain times, may end up saving you more money than you realise.
Sifting through the most compatible venue before any commitments is always wise, what level is the digital infrastructure? Is there a high level of connectivity? Is it virtual and hybrid compatible? Also, if there is no technical support on site, you may be spending a pretty penny on outsourced tech assistance
Also remember venues in areas like London and Birmingham can book up very quickly, the larger event the earlier you’ll have to plan. If you’re planning a large conference in London and you drag your heels, expect the outgoings to feel the heat.
If you want a cost-effective conference, then you must start by creating your budget. This will influence your decisions and determine from the get-go your expectations of the event and the constraints that you must say within.
Some people see this as some form of restriction, far from it. A thoroughly researched budget, with well thought out outcomes, will pay dividends in the future. A budget also helps to reassure that the right direction is laid out.
To prepare the budget you must first realise what is most important to your guests, what venue will be able to accommodate all the guest speakers, seminar rooms and dining rooms you may require.
Then you must allocate your spending parameters, how much for the venue compared to accommodation, catering, and tech. This is where you must get as many quotes as possible, test the waters and see what is out there, you might find a bargain, also if you’re not careful you things could get costly.
For example, let's say you booked ExCeL London, with Prince Regent station on the DLR Just round the corner - not a bad connection. There are also a series of hotels like ibis and Novotel a short walk from the venue.
If you don’t keep these things in mind depending on what package is offered to delegates, a badly connected location can cause vast cost in transport and hotels, not to mention reliability for attendee numbers. You need to choose the location that fits the needs of the attendees, and what happens on the way in and way out of the event.
Now you could look at finding a location that houses a less conventional style of conference, say the RSA House in Central London. Founded in 1754, many moons ago this was once the epitome of a conventional meeting place.
With “its charming Georgian features” The RSA House balances history with progressive technology, boasting rooms packed with character. The Savoy is down the street and having Charing Cross minutes away means you can’t get more connected. You must ask yourself the question, will the cost be worth it? Does this venue really match my event? Balancing those questions could save you a lot of money.
There are often organisers who think, the more the better. It is vital you understand that the maximum number of attendees could determine a good event from a great one. Events often over stretch themselves for fear of a low turnout, a risky game that can easily backfire.
Start by making a preliminary estimate of the number of attendees you wish to have at the event and how many you’ll likely to attract. This can be tricky, but it will be a lot easier if you have a series of previous conferences to go by.
Once you have this number then you can choose a venue that will be more appropriate, thus being ahead of the game and booking early. When deciding upon the venue attendee capacity, as near to the preliminary estimate as possible is better. If your venue is too big then it’ll look like it was a low turnout, and you’ve wasted money, and too small is a disaster.
One of the biggest costs for any event can be the food and drinks, depending on the time of day, mood, or general motivation for the event - the bill for food and beverages can become slightly troublesome if you are looking to make sure the costs are low.
But there is a certain amount of expectancy with food and beverage facilities, and guests with an empty stomach, often aren't filled with boundless positivity towards the event. Most venues However will provide full on-site catering, or at least nibbles.
When thinking about drinks, it is wise to consider whether alcoholic beverages are needed at all. If not, then your venue costs will shoot down, however if you are choosing a venue with a sidebar, it can help reduce cost.
As with any event, you must make sure your expectations are managed early. Savings will always arise when you decide what you want early on. The best events, with lower costs always get quotes according to the need of the event.
There have been endless events that had great ideas and a tight budget, but no planning left the event a disappointment and an overspend. If you leave it too late, you might break records for spending for the wrong reasons.