Five Cost-Cutting Tips for Events


Event Money Saving Tips1. Find at least 3 quotes for everything

We’ve all been given this advice right?  But how many times do we actually follow it in practice?  It’s often much easier to go with your usual supplier and quite often you do manage to get discounts through loyalty and bulk ordering.  But perhaps once in a while it’s worth reviewing your purchasing – maybe try a new decor supplier, investigate tech hire costs through new companies, use that introductory discount you have seen at the print supplier.  Using the same old companies through easiness and laziness can often cost you in the long run.

2. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!

Why do we negotiate for some items but not for others?  Good sales people will always be willing to cut deals with you, if they want to sell – so play your part; and if times are hard for you, then it makes sense that they’re also hard for other people.  You don’t get anything without asking for it in this life, so go in low, appreciate your power as a consumer and know your limits.  The most powerful action you can do when negotiating is ‘put your coat on’ and walk away – you might be surprised at how often they chase after you..

3. Use Social Media for Marketing

Let’s face it, social media is here to stay.  And the beauty of these channels is most of them are free to use.  Creating interesting stories by using photos and videos to advertise the event you are planning – is the most cost effective way of marketing, so do more of it!  Better yet, encourage your customers to do it for you!  Traditional print advertising – although still relevant – is being replaced by its newer, younger digital version, and we event managers need to harness it to maximise its potential.

4. Use Volunteers

I’m not suggesting you replace all your experienced staff with interns and volunteers.  However I am saying there is a wealth of bright and talented young people out there who need and want to gain experience by working on your events.  The trade off is that you will need to spend more time with them, to train and develop them – however the upside is they won’t be invoicing you over the odds at the end of the weekend.  For roles such as stewarding, manning a till, shadowing an event manager or providing meet & greet / information, volunteers can be extremely effective.  Just please make sure you pay their travel & lunch.

5. Question everything

Do you really need that extra plasma screen?  Do you really need 15 toilets or actually would 12 do?  Do you need to buy Grey Goose vodka for the band, or would a crate of beer suffice?  The worst phrase in the history of event management is “we’ve always done it this way” so get rid of your sense of tradition, question all your decisions, ask yourself difficult questions.  What can you change about your event to make more cost-effective without losing quality?  Don’t tie yourself to expensive items just because you have always had them, there is a brave new world out there – challenge yourself to be a part of it.



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Mark Norman
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Senior Lecturer in Events Management

I lead on the administration for the Event Management Hub website alongside teaching modules including; Festivals and Outdoor Events, Event Law and Risk Management and The Live Tourism Event