Budgeting for events is always a tricky task, but budgeting for a new event model is even more challenging. As we begin to see event organizers strategizing hybrid events, there are many questions about what they might look like and what new line items to expect.
So, how important is budgeting in setting you up for event success? 66% of event organizers anticipate budget cuts for their Hybrid and virtual events in 2021, so more important than ever that you know how to work with what you have.
Here’s some information about how hybrid events will affect your budget, best practices to cut costs, and why you should invest anyway.
How Hybrid Will Change Event Budgeting
Here is a fact: Hybrid events will likely cost you more —or even double, in the case of tech — and your revenue to shrink. But, event practitioners see this year as a stop-gap before a return to the lofty budgets two years ago, and a way to solidify your place in the market in the meantime.
In order to create events that are safe and compliant with the stipulated safety measures, here are some aspects you’ll likely need to consider when creating a hybrid event budget.
Hybrid events require professional streaming quality and interaction between a live and virtual audience, which means that tech costs will increase. Additionally, if you have in-person speakers, you will likely want multiple sets of microphones, unless you have someone sanitising mics between each use.
The good thing is the amount invested in your tech equipment will be evident to your global audience. The more seamless you can make the transition from in-person to hybrid for your attendees, the more likely you’ll see them return to your in-person events in the future.
Health and Safety
Depending on your venue, this might already be bundled into your budget, but ensure health and safety precautions are strictly adhered to for the hybrid events. Have someone supervise and enforce safe distancing and the wearing of masks.
Attendees and sponsors will notice the care you’re taking to ensure their safety, which will make them feel more comfortable and boost your reputation among the attendees.
This may seem like a small item, but it’s a perfect example of how every little aspect of a budget is affected during the pandemic, and how you as the organizer need to plan ahead and think creatively. Build the need for personal space into your budget so you can assure your attendees, speakers, and partners that you’re taking their safety seriously.
There are many creative ways you can use your furniture and seating design to guide your attendees on-site and promote safety. Placing furniture six feet apart and seating fewer chairs per table are just a few examples of how you can leverage on-site design to create a safe space at your hybrid event.
Best Practices to Cut Hybrid Event Costs
Despite the obvious challenges of spending more with less budget, hybrid events present a unique opportunity to change the way we plan to suit both our audience’s needs and our monetary constraints. Here are some creative ways to save.
Look for New, Unique Spaces
While hotels made sense for larger events in the past, most come with the aforementioned minimum spend, and many are tied to catering with a minimum spend of its own. Hotels are also notorious for added costs, especially from rentals like chairs, booths, draping, and lighting. While there was an ease of organizing with this model, the inability to shave down costs in a hotel space might lead you to seek out different spaces.
Since in-person attendance is limited anyway, you might seek out a fun warehouse space, or a location specifically in line with a sponsor’s messaging. This way, you can negotiate on a per-contract basis for each spend and save overall.
Seek Out Partnerships
If you’re an agency, for example, it’s likely you have customers who have some of your needs already purchased and in place. If you can find a partner with space and some of the tech, it’s much easier to trade some of the branding control of the event for reduced costs on big-ticket items.
Why You Should Invest in Hybrid Anyway
Hybrid events will certainly come with additional costs and logistical challenges. But here’s the thing: hybrid events are the inevitable future of the industry, and they come with so many more exciting opportunities to drive value for our businesses, our audiences, and our partners. Expert predictions on hybrid overwhelmingly point to hybrid as the way forward for the near future.
While it might be tempting to take a back seat for a while and watch hybrid events play out, choosing not to play the game could cost you much more than you’d spend on a hybrid event.
And if you put your energy in the right place, hybrid events could ultimately work for you as a source of revenue once more.