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May 8, 2006

Making Your Money Go Further

Although you should avoid cutting corners when organising an event, there are key areas where you can make potential savings without affecting quality.

Initially, knowing when you're going to have to part with your hard-earned cash can be very useful as you'll be able to gauge when you're going to hit your bottom line.

At the very least you are likely to have to pay a deposit for the venue, if not 100% up front, according to Frances Gaffney of Elysium Event Managers. "Set design and production would normally require around 50% deposit as a minimum," she continues, "caterers usually want up to 75% up front, while most entertainers are happy to be paid after the event. However, if you use an event manager, the whole event is likely to be paid in advance, but you may save money by using their large-scale buying power."

Moving on to money-saving techniques, block-booking more than one event gives you more negotiating clout. Gaffney also recommends consolidating. "Instead of having two or three small events," she explains, "where appropriate, have one large one, as this gets round the multiple booking of entertainments and other facilities." However, care must be taken that, by combining events, you are not reducing their individual impact too much or you will be making a false economy.

You may also be able to negotiate a discount for setting up your event overnight, as it will not then deprive the venue of daytime business. And it's also worth finding out if you can get money off for paying in advance. Gaffney warns against places that want you to pay a delegate rate as well as a room hire fee: she feels this is unacceptable.

Furthermore, she advises choosing one audio-visual (AV) company as a preferred supplier to take advantage of volume discounts. She also recommends putting all sessions that require the use of AV equipment in the same rooms to avoid paying for twice the amount of equipment and suggests that using local suppliers can be cheaper as it helps to cut down on transportation costs.

Believe it or not, there are ways not only of reducing spend, but also of turning an event into a money-making proposition. You can do this by looking into the possibilities of securing sponsorship. "Ask yourself if there are any businesses that would like to reach the target audience of the event that you are organising and would they pay to put information in the delegate packs or to set up a stand outside the meeting room?" says Gaffney. "Equally, can you think of a company that might benefit from sponsoring your coffee breaks or evening networking sessions?"

Of course, when looking for a sponsor it's also very important to make sure that their activity is not going to annoy the delegates or detract from the impact of the event.

Quick check list

Five ways to cut your event costs:
1. Block-booking
2. Consolidating a number of events into one
3. Setting up overnight
4. Paying in advance
5. Choosing a preferred supplier of AV equipment

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