20 Ways to Save Money While Planning Events

by Jul 15, 2019

Planners often are challenged with planning more with less money. Clients and organizations pressing planners to leverage cost savings for meetings and events. Take a review of these 20 ways to save money while planning events. Whether it is through negotiation, or simply by doing some aspects of planning yourself, all of these tips can serve your meeting by having cost savings. I may have not captured all of them here, but at least there are several here to get you going.


  1. Sleeping Room Rates

If you have an event that is going use a hotel for its event, then you might want to consider leveraging your event for a break in sleeping room rates. Consider talking to your hotel representative about the aspects of your event. Hotels can give you discounts based on how many rooms you are planning to commit to, as well as if you will offer a lucrative commitment in extensive food and beverage.

  1. Room Rental

Hotel and venues typically charge a room rental charge if you would like to rent a room. However if you are combining your rental of the room with a food and beverage commitment, you may find your room rental be discounted or waived entirely. Additionally, consider negotiating room rental if you need sleeping rooms for a group of 10 or more.

  1. Chef’s Selection

If you aren’t too caught up in what your group eats for dinner, you may find that allowing the chef to pick their own selections for you is a good deal. This can come at a lower cost to you by giving the chef the flexibility to pick items that might be more in season or less expensive. You might even find a pleasant surprise by giving the chef some creative ability too.

  1. Shop Local

Localism is the new black. Meaning that for several years buying local and having your events experience local flavors, gifts, and trends might be very appealing. Not only will your attendees have an amazing local experience, however, you may find that bringing in local elements to your events, or having your attendees get out and experience a unique venue for an off-site event, might be cheaper than staying at your hotel. So if you are in doubt on what to do for an evening of your event, try to get out. You might find that you save more.

  1. Piggy-back Menus

It might sound funny, but piggy-backing on menus can help your budget in the long run. Many times, you can leverage a menu discount by simply asking your contact if you chose the same meal that another group has selected on the same night (or week). After liaising with the chef, you may find that they can apply the volume in savings towards your event and sometimes the other event as well. This is a situation where everyone could save!

  1. Small Plates / Small Bites

This is a classic way to save for receptions. Instead of offering full-size plates at a reception, try a smaller or medium size plate. It will encourage attendees to use a smaller plate for eating. Typically you. May find people have two plates, but not too much more. In the end, it could help save money, especially if you are paying for your reception food by the item.

  1. Dates Matter

If you are very flexible on the dates that your events occur, you might find considerable savings, or benefits. Typically weekends are popular during certain seasons for weddings. However, during the week, can be a prime target for meetings. If you can work with your contact to find out perhaps a timeframe where the hotel is completely open, they would be open to giving you a bargain for your business on that day. Try days after holidays, Sunday, or during a slow period of the hotel.

  1. Venue type

When people plan events, they typically do think about hotels to start.  However, there are so many other places to have events to consider at much lower commitment and costs. Places like libraries, banquet halls, corporate offices, creative spaces, and unique venues to start can offer a different location at a more pleasurable price to your budget.

  1. Think Centralized

Our world is collaborating on more of a global level. This means we could have attendees coming to our events from different parts of the globe or region. When considering a location, you might want to think of a central location to host everyone in cases like this. Central locations can save immensely on airfare, if airfare costs are a concern for your attendee or budget.

  1. Enforce Deadlines and Advance Booking

It’s easy to plan, but sometimes harder to keep your clients or even you within the timelines. Saving money to your budget can highly depend on you keeping deadlines and advance booking. Ensuring your attendees are booking their airfare in advance enough to take advantage of lower costs can be important, especially if you are hosting their air. Additionally, hotels have dates where you have to drop rooms if needed, so making sure you drop rooms before you get into an attrition situation is huge too.

  1. Go Paperless

Not only is going paperless good for the environment, it also is good for your bottom line. Agendas, surveys, and welcome letters can all now be digitized by either using a mobile app, or a website dedicated to an event. Doing this can help you save on printing and shipping costs, and also help you get changes out in a quicker way.

  1. Use CVB’s

Many times the offerings of a Convention Visitors Bureaus (CVB’s) can go unnoticed. CVB’s can offer your event support on so many levels that translate into cost savings for you. For example they have access to staff that can help you with any directional purposes that you may need. They also can help you source hotel properties, And can help with right negotiations as well.

  1. Reuse Décor

Did you know that hotels have decor that you could use for your event buffet, and centerpieces? You might want to check in to the options at your hotel or venue before you spend money on decoration. Also you might want to check with your florist And ask if you return centerpieces if you get a price discount on your floral.

  1. Creative Use of Speakers

Speakers generally will help you if you ask them. Especially if they are already going to be at your event. You may find that a keynote speaker is able to stay and participate in a breakout session as well, or help you promote the event by doing a promo video. (Check my podcast episode with Lindsey Anvik for more on how to use speakers creatively)

  1. DIY It

Do you have some DIY skills? Perhaps you break them out to save some of those extra pennies on your budgets. You can DIY for décor in the room, invitations, and websites. Of course only go with what you feel comfortable in doing, but doing some things yourself can help you shaving some costs.

  1. Go Seasonal

Seasons can offer different options for your groups. Remember to use what is in season for food and floral. Also, take advantage of local events and happenings to compliment them with your event. Need to offer activities? Use the natural seasons and the activities that come with for a unique way for your attendees to engage.

  1. Check Your Concessions

Sometimes value-adds can be a cost savings on your events. Ask your venue provider what concessions are available for your group. Sometimes complimentary upgrades or amenities can help you provide some special touches to your event at little or no cost.

  1. Say No

It can be hard to say “no” to a client. However, at times we are responsible for managing a budget that can get quickly out of hand due to client’s elaborate ideas. Knowing how to encourage the client to make budget conscious decisions matters. Helping the client see the budget as you do can get you overall savings to your event.

  1. Use your Carry-On

Perhaps a common way to save if you are a frequent traveler for your events. Using your carry-on can save you some money, especially with shipping to international destinations. Sometimes supplies, valuables, printables, are good items to bring in another roller-bag and check it to your final destination. You will not only save money in shipping, but possible additional monies obtaining your items if they are stuck in customs.

  1. Create Contingency Plans

Having a plan B, C, and D can help you prevent any unlikely costs in the event of an emergency. Make sure to not only have a contingency plan, but budget for contingencies so that you can reduce your worries should any unfortunate event happen. Your budget and your event will be prepared.


This is only 20 of many possible ways to save money on your events. I hope that they have helped you and you can find many of them useful. Do you have any other tips for saving money on events. Keep the conversation going in the comments below.


P.S. I did a post at Social Tables about ensuring you have everything you need in your budget. Check it out here, it may be helpful for you as you are planning your event.



  1. Richard Larson

    Great post, Naomi. Dates and venue definitely make a difference. Reusing decor and other items is very smart, as well. Your tips make sense, but maybe we don’t think of all these things.

  2. 15 Plug

    These are some really good tips on planning an event. Surely , with all those suggestions this will also save time, effort and cost of expenses which can be a big factor in getting a high ROI. Anyways, Thanks for sharing this post, I hope you can do more of like this.


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