Consider some creative budget swap opportunities that can deliver more value while saving money.

The economy is humming and the meetings and events industry is thriving, but smart planners understand the value of keeping a watchful eye on the budget, even in times of prosperity. In fact, while overall budgets throughout the industry are holding steady, if not increasing, expectations and costs are also rising.

A recent article caught our eye on budget considerations that can actually deliver more value while saving money. Posted by Event MB, an online resource for Trends, Technology, Innovation and Education for the event industry, the blog examines options to explore that go easy on the budget while still hitting the sweet spot of a high impact meeting or event. Here are a few of the interesting highlights.

Create Real VIP Experiences.

To really add a special touch for important guests at your event, don’t go down the red carpet route, which is seen so often it often does nothing to make your VIPs feel valued. Instead, think about how your event can really leave a lasting impression and get the most from the event.

That’s what we were thinking when we planned “The Italian Job,” an incentive program that included an exclusive performance at the Vatican and customized activities which made the trip the one to win…and talk about long after.

Dine Differently.

Don’t spend on a formal, three or five-course seated dinner, try something out of the ordinary to give a completely different feel to your event. Having a black-tie dinner with guests seated on round tables is often the preferred format for fundraising and corporate events, but where is the fun in doing things the same way you have always done things?

Creative Group has developed countless ideas to surprise and delight our clients’ meeting and event participants without breaking the bank. In fact, we’ve created intimate dinner parties without ever leaving the resort. Every resort property is unique, but most have spaces they can block off for your group, like poolside locations in the evening or verandas and patios. Hotel lobbies usually contain beautiful lounge areas that are barely used and would be perfect for a group gathering too. Think outside of the box (or the banquet room), and you’ll begin to realize a proper theme can help inspire the chef to come up with creative ideas. For example, “Fire & Ice” décor can be complemented by hot and cold foods and a “Green” theme can feature a clip-your-own-salad bar.

Turn Speaking Slots into Revenue Opportunities.

A common staple in meetings specifically is the keynote speaker. This person can range from an expert in the industry to a well-known celebrity. They usually share their story and somehow tie it to the purpose or theme of the meeting. Their speech or presentation is engaging, and usually well received by most. While the name of a keynote speaker might help with event promotion and getting the message across – it’s simply not enough anymore.

EventMB suggests it’s possible to turn speaking slots into revenue opportunities, although it’s not easy. Companies in many instances have great things to share that the average speaker does not offer, including case studies, data, hands-on experience, and tutorials. However, the urge to pitch is always there with many sponsors, and this can turn into a sad self-promotional display that turns the audience off unless you’re careful. The article goes on to suggest the right approach to sponsored talk budget swaps should include a precise set of guidelines, shared by the event team on how to correctly engage with attendees.

You need to be actively involved in curating the content and sharing best practices with your sponsored speakers.

While we agree that sponsored speakers is an intriguing idea, we tend to get greater bang for our buck tapping into the power of influencers, who will enable you to reach a larger, yet more niche and engaged, audience.

When it comes down to it, participants trust and are interested in what influencers have to say, and they want to emulate certain aspects of their lifestyles – that’s why they follow them. This dovetails extremely well with our industry, because meetings and events give influencers an opportunity to share their experiences and taking audiences along for the ride – ultimately benefiting the host brand.

Team Up with Experts.

A tight budget is no excuse for a lackluster meeting or event. At Creative Group, we focus on creating epic moments that matter, regardless of the size of your group or the limits of your spending capacity. From our perspective, it boils down to teaming up with professionals who know how and where to leverage budget-friendly options and with a proven track record for coming up with innovative, cost-saving program ideas. It’s important to remember the long-term value a professional team brings to creating impactful experiences rather than focusing solely on up-front costs. Ready to stretch your event budget and expand your ROI? We’re here for you!


Tight budget? Let’s talk about it.