Let’s be honest – who doesn’t love saving money? However, keeping within a budget is probably one of the top stressors for most event planners. You have a lot to consider: Venue, entertainment, transportation, food and drink, etc. So, how do you save where you can?

Don’t worry! We’ve outlined four guidelines to follow when planning your next event to help you organize your thoughts on where you can and can’t save.

1. Do Your Research

Before you can even begin thinking about saving money, you have to have some reference points for comparison. With access to the internet, you should be able to collect an unlimited amount of information to get you started. The real goal of this stage is to determine all of your vendor options, so start by looking up basic information like:

  • What does the price range look?
  • Are there industry discounts or off season discounts?
  • Are there different levels of quality for this service?
  • Does the operator of this service have good reviews?

2. Figure Out Your Priorities

Next up, you’ll want to clear your head and ask yourself (and any associated planning parties) what are your top priorities for this event. While we all want the best quality for the lowest price, is that going to be realistic? This stage has to do with evaluating the goals of your event as well as determining the ultimate appeal for your attendees, so try to looking at:

  • What are your wants vs. your needs?
  • What are you willing to spend in each category?
  • Which category is worth a bigger investment?
  • Can you cut out a category to increase another budget?

3. Consult Your Professional Network

After you’ve collected your thoughts, it’s time to reach out to your professional network and ask for trusted opinions about vendors from colleagues. While you might assume this means you can skip your research, we urge you to only reach out to your network once you have a basic understanding of the space and know the right questions to ask. In this stage, consider the following topics:

  • What vendor do they recommend and why?
  • Did any surprise costs arise?
  • Where there any hiccups that you would be good to know in advance?
  • Does your contact know of other vendors similar to suggest?

4. Practice Negotiating

In this final stage, you’ve finally selected a few vendor options that you can really start digging into when it comes to price. Whether it’s a direct referral or not, we recommend asking if they are running any event specials or willing to negotiate. You never know until you ask! When it comes to negotiating, it’s all about meeting in the middle, so start thinking about questions like:

  • Would this be a better conversation to have in person?
  • How much am I willing to spend for this service?
  • Is this worth the money or can I walk away?
  • Do I want to work with this person?

When this process is all said and done, it’s key to always get your negotiation agreements in writing. The last thing you’ll want to do amidst your planning is bickering with your vendors about the final cost. Our final note: Getting the lowest price isn’t always the best deal in terms of service, so make sure you are clear about what you really want out of your vendor partnership.

Have you started looking into using an online registration system and found you’re running into dozens of different systems that all sound the same? If so, you’re not alone! Check out our guide below to find out the five questions you need to ask to land on the perfect online registration system for your next event!