Can you create a distinctive event on a smaller budget?
As the demand for immersive, out-of-the-box experiences continues to influence meetings and corporate events, the opportunities for creativity and innovation are exciting. Yet there’s also an ever-present need to keep an eye on the practical side: namely, the budget. If you find yourself wedged between cost constraints and elaborate event plans, take a deep breath. You’re not alone. And if you focus on quality and strategic impact, you’ll likely find you can host a memorable, engaging event within whatever budget constraints are the current situation.
Findings in the American Express 2017 Global Meetings and Events Forecast show that tighter budgets are, in fact, influencing meeting frequency and size.
“With property and other related meeting costs rising, many organizations appear to be adjusting the number and size of their meetings to stay within their budget constraints,” according to the report. “Holding fewer meetings with more attendees or a more targeted attendee list is one option, as is using multiple local meetings to replace a larger meeting that requires significant travel.”
Part of the general challenge of meeting and corporate event planning isn’t just staying on budget while delivering an optimal experience. It’s also discovering that magical combination of the number of meetings—and the size of those meetings—that delivers the most value to your company.
But as the saying goes, quality matters more than quantity. If you have a limited number of meetings to reach your objectives, and who doesn’t, the focus should be on the quality of the event. Is it interesting and entertaining? Are attendees engaged and informed? Does the content align with company goals, messaging and branding?
If you find yourself struggling with your meeting or event budget, consider these additional tips that can help you prioritize quality in the face of less quantity.
Consider meeting length
This is among the simpler solutions. Can you create shorter, more impactful meeting segments that gain flexibility without losing results? Before you make this sort of decision, review your strategic event plan, which provides the critical framework that not only guides your event, but also ensures it’s connected to (and drives results toward) your company’s business goals. Is there a way you can adjust the content and agenda to allow for a more creative format? With our ever-shortening attention spans purposeful, short content is necessary. This keeps an audience from becoming fatigued or even tuning out. It can also adapt to your budget while also ensuring attendees stay engaged from start to finish.
Review your attendee list
In some ways, corporate meetings and events aren’t much different from weddings: it’s tempting to invite any and everyone. Instead, this is an ideal time to review your attendee list in conjunction with your strategic event plan. Would the messaging and experience resonate more with a targeted audience? Who are the essential people that you most want in attendance? You’ll likely find names on your list that don’t necessarily make sense for a particular meeting or event; better to remove them and look for other, more relevant involvement opportunities. Consider perhaps a separate, more targeted event for that audience as well. Getting more targeted towards a specific audience has many positive results including better natural engagement.
Don’t skimp on creativity
Staying within budget doesn’t mean you need to eliminate fun and creativity from your corporate event or meeting. With quality firmly in mind, creativity is actually more important—you want to ensure attendees are not just informed, but also excited about what’s happening. Try an unexpected venue or evening entertainment, for example. Or look for ways to mix things up in regard to content: an out-of-the-box keynote speaker, or a different way to offer information aside from a standard presentation. You could even take a page out of Google’s book and experiment with the meeting format. They turned their I/O developers conference into a festival-like gathering, which makes for a more entertaining and immersive experience.
Working within a tight budget is a challenge, especially with large-scale corporate meetings and events. Yet it might also be the push you need to closely examine your company’s events and how you can shake things up in a way that benefits all involved. And if you find yourself stuck on how to best move forward, we’re ready to be your sounding board.