Budget creation and management is likely among the least appealing aspects of our job. However, it is also likely among the most important. As you review the tips below, consider which of them you can implement to make your process smoother with each year.
START WITH STRATEGY
- Set an overall budget with your client well in advance. Check in often to ensure the budget has not changed since that initial decision.
- Solidify the objectives of your program. From there you can better understand what buckets to spend more in versus others.
- Check previous survey results from similar or same programs to gauge feedback on areas of opportunity. For example, if your ground transportation scores were lackluster, perhaps you need to budget higher in this area to afford an onsite transportation concierge.
- Obtain your team's budget template and begin to allocate funds in each area. If you don't have a budget template for your team, create one to ensure consistency across your organization.
HIDDEN FEES (AND HIDDEN SAVINGS!)
- Remember to include gratuities, taxes, service charges and resort fees.
- Incorporate site inspection room nights into the contract at a discount or no charge.
- Consider asking for discounts on in-house AV, hotel outlets, guest room Internet, group F&B functions, or box handling/storage.
- Small group? Ask about discounts or complimentary chef, bartender or set-up fees for fewer than 25 attendees.
- Consider options to receive complimentary rooms for every XX guest room nights utilized.
COLLABORATE FOR SUCCESS
- Ask a colleague to review your initial budget. Once you feel comfortable that you've allocated smartly, send to your client for review. Offer to discuss it in person or over the phone.
- After you've altered anything in the initial budget, gain approval from your client on same.
- Share the budget with your internal (and when appropriate external) event teams. This helps them gain ownership and stake in the area they're managing.
- Upload your budget to a shared library and/or your event management system.
- Consistently review the budget weekly, noting items that have been paid and determining if any allocations need to be altered and/or accrued. Check back in with your client if you suggest a change in a portion of the budget as appropriate.
- Retain a central repository of estimates and invoices.
- Build in a small slush fund for any last-minute expenditures, but try not to spend frivolously onsite.
SHOW YOUR VALUE
- Track the concessions received and negotiated during contracting.
- Add a negotiated column to budget documents so you can show the value that you were able to bring to the event.
- Pay all vendors on time to maintain positive relationships.
LEARN FOR THE FUTURE
- Reconcile the budget and review the final budget with your event team and client.
- Note any items to learn from for future programs. If under or at budget, note this as a success!
For more tips, check out this infographic and other available templates in TheNetwork. Happy budgeting!
Katie Senkowski, CMP
Manager, Meetings and Events, AIG
FICP Education Committee
Susan Wylie, CMP, CMM
Events & Conference Manager, Corporate Administration
MassMutual Financial Group
FICP Education Committee