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6 Cost-Cutting Measures to Stretch Your Event Budget



6 Cost-Cutting Measures to Stretch Your Event Budget

Discover six handy tips to reign in spending when planning your next event.

Whether you’re organising a small community market or a large-scale music festival, keeping within budget is the key to driving profit and reducing stress levels. Yet for many event organisers, the rising costs of goods and services poses a significant problem. In an industry where margins are already slim, the climbing costs of everything from venue fees and catering costs to wages and marketing is making it more difficult than ever to grow a sustainable events business. 

Fortunately, there are ways and means of saving money on your next event. Here are six tips to help cut costs and ensure you don’t blow your budget.

Find an affordable venue

The venue itself is likely going to be one of your biggest costs — venue fees account for 47% of event costs, on average. If you can find a more affordable alternative, you’re already making sizable savings. 

Have a think about your ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ when it comes to an event facility, as well as your headcount and required spaces. 

It’s also worth considering the equipment you need, such as a strong Wi-Fi connection and V/A system, and which venues include them as part of the standard event package. Ensuring those minor details don’t need to be sourced later can save you big bucks in the long run, and simplify everything from staff communication to taking payment from customers.

From here, you should be able to arrive at a short list of venues that deliver on the things you need. Don’t be afraid to contact them directly to enquire about discounts and the potential for negotiation.

Be flexible with the event date

You’ll no doubt have your heart set on a particular date, but going into the planning phase with an element of flexibility can be an effective way to save cash on your next event. Venues often have rates for peak and off-peak times, days or even seasons. Choosing an off-peak period for your pop-up store, stall or event can be a simple cost-saving move. While it can seem less than ideal to stray from the prime time slot or date you had in mind, in doing so you could in fact open your business up to a brand new market.

One thing to be wary of is that your new date or time doesn’t clash with any competing events, or else you could risk losing valuable foot traffic.

Go cashless

Choosing to run a cash-only event can dramatically impact the customer experience by causing lines, long wait times and aborted purchases — all costly consequences.

To ensure you’re saving (and making) the most money possible, abandon cash payments and paper receipts in favour of an EFTPOS terminal that can process payments quickly, accept every payment from every customer, and send receipts via SMS or email. Zeller Terminal is also cordless, which means you can rove around your event, stall or pop-up processing transactions at lighting speed. Hire Zeller Terminal for your next event and try it yourself, before you purchase new hardware outright.


Maximise volunteer opportunities

If you’re looking for cost-saving opportunities, consider the people who will plan, organise, run, host and facilitate your next event. On average, you can expect 33% of your costs to be directed to wages. 

Could these roles be outsourced to volunteers looking for valuable work experience or the opportunity to give back to your industry? Perhaps even friends or loved ones who would relish the opportunity to support your business?

While many volunteers will help out for the sheer love, passion or experience of it, it’s always worth thanking them for their time. Consider free entry into the event, food or drink vouchers, or gift cards. These small gestures are a nice way to reward people for their contribution.

Get creative with sponsorships

If preliminary budgeting is looking daunting, consider offering strategic partnerships or sponsorship packages for your event. 

Instead of resorting to run-of-the-mill options that may not be accessible for many local businesses, get creative. Say you sell homewares from a market stall, you could offer a sponsorship package for a ‘first choice florist’ to share the space with you, selling flowers to accompany your vases. 

Don’t be afraid to venture outside of traditional sponsorship and partnership options. Getting creative could open you up to a plethora of valuable opportunities that benefit both your bottom line, and the local businesses you choose to partner with.

Get the word out

When it comes to advertising your event, there are countless ways to take advantage of free exposure — from storefront posters and email marketing to on-street signage and social media. However, one of the most powerful forms of advertising also happens to be free: word of mouth. People trust the opinions of others more than any other form of advertising; it’s the best endorsement your event can get.

Encourage your staff, volunteers and supporters to help you get the word out. Whether that’s having a conversation with their loved ones, sharing one of your posts on social media, or bringing friends along to your next event, creating an organic buzz around your event is a surefire way to grow attendees.

Ultimately, the success of your event will come down to how much your attendees enjoyed it, but also how much profit was made. Making more than you spent puts you in a position to scale up your event next time, building momentum, awareness and sales. 

Now that you know how to minimise the costs of your next event, keep up with the latest Zeller updates and announcements by subscribing to the Zeller Business Blog newsletter below.