How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck: ILEA Quick Tips for Event Planners

How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck: ILEA Quick Tips for Event Planners

Booking early and with some flexibility could lead to money saved when crafting an event.

“I have an unlimited budget for my event!” said no one ever.

We all strive to have events that leave our attendees feeling, satisfied, impressed, wowed, invested, educated, etc. Whether it’s an educational forum, holiday celebration, gala, awards banquet, client/employee appreciation event or annual meeting, you want it to be successful. As it goes, you may find yourself re-examining all aspects of your event as you approach your allotted budget—especially when you still need to secure entertainment, lanyard name badges and those sweet swag bags. Below are a few tips that may help you save a little here and there:

Book vendors early

When reserving specific vendors you can sometimes save on expenses depending on the booking window. If you are looking at a quick turnaround (one to six months prior to event day) your vendors may be more inclined to offer a reduced rate on their services if they are still available. No vendors want to “sit dark” and most would rather have a short-term booking than no booking at all. However, if your event date is set in stone and falls on a popular date, planning ahead and securing those vendors well in advance is always recommended so you can ensure you get the date and vendors you want.

Hold your event outside of the peak event season

The day of the week and time of year your event is taking place can also play a factor in the rates you receive. Planning ahead and researching your potential vendors will help. Some vendors are busier during the week but have a need for more weekend business; other vendors experience the opposite. If your event day is flexible, take this into consideration when reaching out to various vendors. Instead of hosting your corporate holiday celebration on a Saturday at a venue that is known to have a great deal of weekend business, maybe consider booking a Thursday or Friday. And, why not have an all-day meeting on Monday instead of Wednesday or Thursday? At least attendees won’t have to worry about meal prepping for Monday on Sunday night.

When deciding which month to host your event, an “off-peak” season time may save you a little, as well. Everyone knows that the fall season is chaotic for all types of events (corporate, non-profit, weddings).  September, October and even November tend to the busiest time of year for many in the industry (aside from major events the city hosts, like the Super Bowl). If your event date is not flexible and takes place during a popular season, there will not be much flexibility from your vendors on their rate. However, if you are willing to consider hosting your event outside of the popular season (the fourth quarter is way busier than the first quarter of the year), you may reap some benefits on costs.

Ask for the nonprofit discount

If you are planning a nonprofit event it goes without saying that the initiative is to raise money, not spend all of it. Vendors do understand this and typically try to work with the client where they can. Ensure you are asking your vendors if they offer any nonprofit discounts. Again, if you are willing to host your event on an “off-peak” day or time of year, chances are more likely your savings will be greater. Also, you can discuss the possibility of a sponsorship with your vendors. Some vendors would love brand recognition of their business to your attendees if they fit within the vendor’s target market. In such a case, they may be willing to cut costs or offer specific concessions in trade for that recognition.

Lock in vendors for multiple events

If the event you are planning happens annually and you are open to utilizing the same vendors, you could potentially save by booking your vendors for multiple years. (Who doesn’t love repeat clients?) Many vendors like to get business on the books earlier, so if they have the opportunity to guarantee business for this year and next year, they may be a little flexible or offer a few concessions to secure the business. And wouldn’t it be nice to already have a head start on planning?

Likewise, if you have multiple events taking place within the year think about booking with those same vendors. Not only will this save you time in the planning process because your vendors will have already laid the groundwork from your previous event, but it may save you some dollars, too.

Try to catch vendors at the right time

If it happens to be the end of the month, quarter or year, some vendors may be more enticed to finalize the booking to be able to count that revenue towards their overall goal. Most companies have specific targets or goals that they strive to achieve weekly, monthly, quarterly and/or annually. To stay on target, they may cut you a favorable rate.

Ginna Wasmund is a sales manager at Aria Event Center, a luxury venue located in the historic Minneapolis North Loop.  She has been in the event industry for about nine years and cannot get enough of it! Ginna started as a banquet server, transitioned into hotel sales, catering and event management and now to venue sales. She has handled corporate, nonprofit, and social events. And, because she has a passion for event execution, she likes to fill up some of her weekends with her side hustle of wedding coordination. She loves attending the ILEA meetings and events held throughout the year.

The International Live Events Association (ILEA) represents and supports more than 5,000 members globally – event professionals who do business together, share knowledge, nurture talent and progress the live events industry. For more information on how an ILEA professional can help you with your event, please contact