Event planners are often in charge of their event’s finances — which can be overwhelming at first, especially for those who don’t have much experience with managing money!

That said, having a firm grasp on your event finances also gives you a lot of power and freedom. Managing your event’s budget and pricing can give you the flexibility to prioritize where you spend money (and where you don’t) and how you add value to attendees, giving you the ability to drive more registrations.

It all starts with your event budget and pricing. Here’s how to approach both:

Set a budget from the start so you have some guidelines.

When it comes to an event, there are a lot of moving pieces to budget for. You can overspend fast if you aren’t paying attention, so you’ll want to create your budget before you start spending any money.

Start by breaking your budget down into categories — food and beverage, the venue or virtual event platform (or both!), A/V, swag, etc. This will look different depending on the type of event and size, but using categories helps you be more flexible when you end up over- and under-spending in other categories.

Then, you’ll want to assign a budgeted amount to each line item and give a total to each category. You could simply estimate the amount you’ll need for everything — or, if you’re paying for event production with the event’s revenue, get a revenue estimate by multiplying what you’re charging attendees by the number of attendees you expect.

Either way, you’ll want to be conservative with those estimates and give yourself plenty of wiggle room.

Weigh your cost and attendee value when determining event price.

The event’s registration fee or ticket price has to in some way reflect the value that attendees will be getting out of the event. This goes both ways: you don’t want to overcharge and leave attendees feeling disgruntled when they don’t get what they expect, but you also don’t want to undercharge and give the impression that it’s not worth their time. (Because then, they may not register at all!)

If you aren’t planning to charge for the event, that’s ok too! But here’s a tip: if it’s an on-site event where you’ll be providing food and beverage, consider using a credit card capture on your registration form anyway so you can charge a no-show fee to those who register but don’t show up. It’s a technique we’ve seen that helps reduce no-show rates and recoup expenses. If you do this, however, be sure it’s explicitly stated somewhere on the registration form so no one is surprised!

From there, it’s all about monitoring your spending and registration revenue like a hawk, and adjusting your budget to reflect that activity.

Are you a first-time event planner looking for some more tips from the professionals? Or perhaps planning events is only a PART of your job? Download our free guide, Event Planning for Non-Event Professionals below!