How to: stretch your corporate event budgets and still impress

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2022 has already brought a mix of new opportunity and fresh business challenges. PAs are looking to plan exciting live events that unite, reward and inspire teams after an extended period working remotely. But this must now also be balanced with budgets that are starting to feel the pinch, as the cost of living and doing business is on the rise. So the big question is how to stretch your corporate event budgets without losing any impact you want to achieve with the event?

A firm believer that there is no replacement for the benefits of a well-planned live event, corporate event planner Liz Taylor is here to help you navigate this conundrum. She believes that the key this year is not to just cut the budget and plan the usual event.  But update the event completely to suit the new budget. Less cost cutting – more innovative spending. Here’s here advice:

TIME FOR CHANGE

An evening start time is often what is expected for things like a recognition event or awards dinner but if you’re looking to amplify your event budget then it might be about time to think about the time.

More frequently, post-Covid we’re being asked to organise business brunches. Holding an event in the morning means you can invest more in entertainment, such as a jazz duo or a contemporary classical quartet, and in offering innovative food. Pancake stations. Fresh fruit bento boxes. Miniature smoked salmon bagels. Delicious brunch options that guests will lap up. And you also won’t have to spend as much on alcohol. A brunch cocktail such as a Bucks Fizz is always popular, but also look at offering a barista station or tea sommelier to blend the perfect cup.

Or what about a Friday afternoon event? Have a festival style celebration with food trucks or BBQ, outdoor games, and music. And remember that it’s acceptable to give guests an end time to an event on your invite. This keeps you in control of timings and costs.

A FAMILY AFFAIR

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Thinking ahead to the festive party…. ditch the usual boozy Christmas and celebrate family values instead. Why not host an afternoon event for employees and their children? Hire an entertainer, have party games and a Santa’s grotto, along with some Christmas market style food stations serving waffles, bratwurst and glühwein. It will cost a fraction of a gala party, but importantly will be something completely different that people will remember for the right reasons.  No hangover included!

PARTY OFF-PEAK

Choose days or seasons where there’s a dip in demand and you could secure a spectacular venue for a fraction of the price.

Obviously, avoiding December and Friday and Saturday nights can reap rewards and help you stretch you corporate event budgets that much further.

You could opt for a January party, but rather than replacing the Christmas party, reimagine it – an apres-ski get together or wellbeing event are just some options.

For me, February is a great month for a get together. It’s past the tough month where most are trying to stay on the wagon, save money and eat healthily. And it’s also time when people are over the Christmas indulgence and ready to party.

VENUE VARIETY
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Don’t always head to the obvious choice when it comes to corporate event venues. Work with an event planner to look for alternatives. Those quirky and unique spaces that don’t usually hire out. They could be glad of the extra revenue and prove a to be a glamorous but cost-efficient change from the usual spaces. There’s a rise in ‘party houses’ now for instance, people with multiple properties who hire out an entire house for a day/evening. Country pubs, vintage theatres, museums, and galleries. Heritage village halls, railway arches, parks, and country estates. All can make great venues when infused with a little imagination.

Space at the office? A tipi tent in the grounds or car park, a giant cinema screen, picnics, jazz, and croquet on the lawns – the perfect summer gathering without any venue fees.

Or transform an unused warehouse. Industrial backdrops are very on trend and can offer huge scope to create a unique nightclub party.

COMPANY’S GOT TALENT

Larger companies (and indeed small) could be sitting on a gold mine of talent without realising it. If you have a team of talented singers, drummers, bakers, artists, or magicians then it’s time for them to showcase their talent. They get free publicity, and you get free catering, entertainment etc. It’s a win, win situation.

DETAILS REIMAGINED

Remember that not everything has to be done in the same way we’ve always done it. Try to think of each element of the day and how you can switch things up to provide something more contemporary, whilst stretching your budget further.

For entertainment, hire a band that can play all evening and not just a short set. Or for a daytime event, lose the music and offer a class in circus skills, mixology, or have a paint along art lesson – cocktails and culture combined.

For catering, switch out a sit-down meal with afternoon tea, substantial canapes, or food stations. Swap wine for jugs of Pimm’s or chilled sangria at a summer event. More cost-effective but bringing your guests summer in a glass.

Decorate with over-sized pom poms, feathers, or an array of different candles. If you opt for floristry, go with the seasons, and combine with natural materials such as bark or foliage to reduce costs but also add a natural eco-feel.

Liz Taylor is founder and CEO of the event planners, The Taylor Lynn Corporation, and has been at the forefront of the UK event scene for over thirty years. Reach out to her with questions about how to stretch your corporate event budgets and still deliver an event with an impact you want.

www.tlc-ltd.co.uk │ Twitter: @taylorlynncorp │ Instagram: @taylorlynncorp │ Facebook: @taylorlynncorporation

 

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    Marja Toseland

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