Corporate events may be organized for various reasons: to inform, convey, induce trial, sell, express, and have fun. Planning is the key to the success of your corporate event or even any hospitality event. Staying within your event budget is always important to any business venture. Some tips that will not only help you meet your event budget, but also bring you well under your budget include carefully planning: “Budgeting” Event planning “budgeting” is the most essential component of event planning. Remember to take into account all the components that are going into your event before settling on a specific event budget. Remember to increase older expenses because unforeseen events such as inclement weather, additional postage and mailings, entertainment substitutes, can occur when you least expect them. Review expenses daily to catch any errors early. Communicate budget restrictions with your venue and contractors, also let venues know your budget and they will work with you. Be flexible with your event date, as this can even reduce rates! The Location Choosing the right location is an important part of the success of any event. You can find the best possible venue at a decent price by doing research on some venues that meet your corporate event requirements. Researching venues online will also save you time. Contacting your local Chamber of Commerce or Convention and Visitors Bureau about possible venue options will save you and your staff from making tons of phone calls. By using local destinations, your costs will be considerably less rather than if you decided to take everyone into a distant major city. Contract Guidelines Remember to always look at all the options. Communicate the value of your business and prepare a detailed request for proposal for all aspects of your event. Ask for everything you want at the very beginning. Include all pricing in the contract and review every item in your contract with your staff, vendor, and venue to ensure there are no surprises. Food/Beverage Choices Discuss your menu directly with the chef, while communicating event ideas and budget concerns. The chef will know what is in season, and what can be purchased locally for less. When offering coffee or tea purchase at a large quantity if possible rather than paying a “per-cup” fee. Discuss with the chef over whether or not reducing portion size is a way of reducing the menu costs. Review the different service options to find out which would be most cost-effective, but still maintain the feel of the event. Seek sponsors for the event, such as wineries or microbreweries, who can supply the liquor, as this may significantly reduce your liquor costs. In addition, reduce the time for the cocktail hour by fifteen minutes to a half hour. Entertainment/Speakers When looking for a keynote speaker or guest speaker, look into industry experts in your area so you can save on travel expenditures. The earlier you book your entertainment or speakers, the better. When selecting entertainment go with a group that has some versatility instead of booking multiple groups. Always see the speaker, DJ, or group in action before hiring them—always check references! Audio/Visual Requirements Schedule a meeting with your AV provider to discuss the program for the event and what equipment is essential. Bring your own extension cords and surge protectors so you are prepared just in case you need them rather than running out to purchase them. When ordering screens, don’t order draping, and always reconfirm the audio/visual needs for your speakers or entertainment several times before the event.