Top 5 Money-Saving Tips to Maximise Your Event Venue Budget

Sourcing a venue for an event seems straightforward enough, but how can you make sure you get the best deals and maximise your budget?  Below are 5 top money saving tips to help you get more for your money.

1) Select cheaper days of the week

Typically Tuesday to Thursday are the busiest days for venues so if you are flexible on dates then look at Mondays and Fridays. Availability will be better and venues will be more willing to negotiate on the price on these days.

2) Space-saving layouts will save money

Selecting the right room set up for your event can have a significant impact on the venues available to you and their price as layout determines the size of the room you require. Space saving set ups like theatre style can use up to half the space of a room set up cabaret style.  Your requirements may mean you are fixed to a specific set up, but if you do have flexibility then go for a space saving layout.

3) Be realistic on numbers

Being realistic on the number of people attending your event can save you a lot of money. All too often people book their venue for the highest possible denominator only to have much fewer people on the day. Typical attendance figures are 10% lower than the highest possible turnouts so think about booking your venue for this number. What if more people turn up? Plan this with the venue. Tell them what you are doing and ask what impact more people will have, how they will accommodate them and how much extra you will pay for them. Venues may charge extra costs for additional people on the day but in most cases it will pay dividends.

4) Compare venue proposals

Make sure you get enough venue proposals to make an informed decision. Three proposals is quite often seen as enough but we would always encourage people to get at least five. Comparisons can be more easily drawn from this amount and you can use the information from the unsuccessful proposals during negotiation.

5) Think about more than just discounts

When negotiating, don’t just think about getting money off the fees, but consider what extras the venue can throw in. If a venue will not budge on price, ask them to include things like an upgraded lunch and refreshments, AV equipment and even event management support.

You could also consider using an event management company to run your event – they would already have relationships with venues and a strong stance to negotiate on your behalf.

How To Use Social Media To Advertise Your Event

Social media is an important tool in 2017. Instead of reaching for the Yellow Pages, people reach for their laptops or smartphones and “Google” whatever they want to find out. Usually, this leads them to website pages and on these pages are social media icons – the bird for Twitter, the F for Facebook, the camera lens for Instagram, the L for LinkedIn and the P for Pinterest.  This social media obsession has meant that people have forged careers from these platforms and have become millionaires with the click of a “follow” or “retweet” or “like.”

Therefore, you can’t have an event without social media. It is everywhere.

How does McCullough Moore use social media?

Our events are B2B – so professionals in the working world can network in a professional setting.  They include conferences, award evenings and exhibitions in specific sectors such as ‘food’, ‘care’, and ‘catering education’.

The ways in which we use social media are varied but mainly we use the platforms Twitter and Instagram to market our events.

Instagram is used for one of our more quirky events – Universal Cookery and Food Festival. Unlike the majority of our other events which are in hotels and conference or exhibition centres; UCFF is out and about – in fields and farms all over the country – and this year will be in Padstow, Cornwall. We use Instagram to show off the fun of the different venues – from the initial site visit to the actual event, it gives audience a different type of event view than what you can expect from B2B events.

For Twitter, I will take the event Energy Now Expo (a UK event has been running for several years now and Energy Now Ireland has been launched for November 2017).  This is a massive event in terms of the use of social media. We use the tool “Hootsuite” to schedule and manage our tweets that go out.

Current affairs not just blowing our events’ trumpet

We ensure that our event social media platforms are not just advertising each of our events, but also giving relevant information and news from the specific sectors that they relate to. This means that audiences do not switch off and become bored and hit that “unfollow” button.

Content driven feeds

What works well with our events is that we use content from our speakers and exhibitors to fuel our tweets. We tag exhibitors so they can retweet and we can then reach a wider audience following. For speakers, we have done “mini profiles” with their biography and images and tried to attract where possible to encourage followers and delegates.

By engaging exhibitors, speakers, sponsors etc, it shows that we as a company are giving something extra to them – exposing them to audiences that they likely want to attract to view their products/services. This is due to our events being specific to certain industry areas.

The importance of #hashtags

By using our own event hashtags – i.e. #EnergyNowExpo #PACE2017 #CARECHEF2017 – it creates a brand around each individual event. This allows us to build trust with our audience through the brand of our events. They will be more likely to book if they believe the event is credible and has value.

Conclusion

To conclude, using social media is vital for the events industry and will continue to be so in the years to come.  Whether you are creating a small meeting for 10 in London to a massive exhibition in Nottingham, if you don’t have social media, you miss out on a large percentage of your audience.

Top 5 Tips To Organising A Successful Charity Event

So you have been given the task of organising a fundraising charity event.  Not sure where to start? Struggling to decide on a theme/idea or struggling to attract your target market?

Here are McCullough Moore’s top 5 tips to help you organise a successful charity event.

  1. Research similar successful events

Look at charity events that occur in your local area and which of those have been successful. You may notice a gap in the event calendar – for example there may be no charity events in the months of June – August.  Some charities may be interested in developing specific events in certain areas but need local volunteers to run it! Look for those charities that are present in the community and which of those are lacking in fundraising events, they will be grateful for your help.

  1. Form an organising committee

Organising a charity event is too big a job for one person so why not source some people to help?  Get some help from an event management company or colleagues. Once a committee is arranged, it may help to divide up the work load by the different areas e.g. logistics, catering, entertainment etc.  Make sure you also organise regular committee meetings so you can catch each other up on your progress!

  1. Decide On A Theme

Look back at your research of other charity events – are there any gaps in the types of event?  For example are there several sponsored walks but no family fun days?  Once you have identified missing events, bullet point ideas with your committee on what you feel could be successful in the area and what you feel you can all arrange together with relative ease.  Once you have your amazing idea you can begin organising!

  1. Sourcing Gifts In Kind

Finding those companies that are willing to help you with your event for little or no cost can be tricky.  Ensure that you make the company aware what you can offer them in return for example, you could publish their company logo in your programme which has the opportunity to be seen by all of your attendees.  Also liaise with the charity itself as many charities have specific companies which support them and will be more than willing to help! Event management companies may also offer reduced rates for charitable event support. It’s worth asking!

  1. Successful Marketing

It is important that your target market know that your event exists and why they should come.  Contact your local newspapers or radio stations as they are often looking for charity events to promote and cover.  Don’t forget that social media will be one of the most powerful marketing tools! Ensure that all marketing options are covered so that everyone possible is aware of your event and how amazing it is – and don’t forget to ask everyone involved to use their marketing channels too!

How To Successfully Market An Event

Have you been given the task of organising a low profile event that has little press interest?  Wondering how to market an event so that you attract the right audience in the best way?

Read on for McCullough Moore’s top tips on how to market your event!

 

  1. Consumers follow a set decision–making process: they decide whether attending an event will satisfy a certain need, search for information about a similar experience in different media and evaluate alternatives by comparing the need to attend the event against a list of attributes. You therefore need to provide the consumer with as much information as possible about the event, in the most appropriate format, so that the chances of them deciding to attend increase.  Be aware that various needs can affect a consumer’s final decision including family influences, personality and reference groups – try to appease these needs in the information that you provide.

 

  1. Is the event venue appropriate in relation to the image and message you are trying to give? Do not just go for the cheapest option because you think it will save money – choose a location that will attract delegates and exhibitors to your event instead of putting them off.

 

  1. It is important to set the right price to charge exhibitors to display their products and services and delegates to attend the event. Set a price too low and the message that might come across to your target market is that your client is not creditable. On the other hand, if you set a price too high, the chances of people attending the event will drop dramatically.

 

  1. Make sure that you use as many avenues of promotion as possible. If you can only dedicate a small budget towards advertising and publicity, think about what forms of promotion will be the most useful and which will be seen by the most people.  If you have the resources available, try to create as many promotional aids in house as you can so the clients budget can used for other things.

 

Once your event has taken place, you should start to consider how you could improve on it for next year (if it is an annual event).  Contacting individuals who attended the event and asking for their feedback shows that you take their opinion into account and is a clever marketing tactic for getting them to come back next year.

The Secret Weapons To Winning Event Sponsors

By Billie Moore, Director, McCullough Moore

 

Sponsorship is a two way street, and both parties need to get the most from the opportunities presented to them. It’s so easy to include sponsorship revenue in your event plan, but how easy is it to get companies to sign up???

In this day and age and the current climate, budgets are tighter and companies large and small are cutting back on marketing spend.

McCullough Moore has an experienced sales team who are skilled facilitators. We bring buyers and sellers together in a professional environment and so here are our top 5 secret weapons for gaining sponsorship:

  1. Get the right fit – Identify key sponsors in the event/publication field. Does the sponsor meet your event or publication objectives? Can you offer the sponsor something in return?
  2. What are the benefits? – Put yourself in the sponsors shoes – what do they want to get out of the sponsorship, what are the benefits to their business? Make sure you tailor the sponsor’s package to the individual customer. Be flexible!
  3. Know your facts & figures – Familiarise yourself with all the facts and figures for your event and publication, how many people attend, who will the information be sent to, who are the members etc. Your sponsor will want all the information before making any final decision. Have all the relevant details in a brochure style format to be able to send to potential sponsors quickly and easily. Make this information simple to read and to the point.
  4. Keep your promise and always say thank you– If you make an agreement with a sponsor, don’t go back on your word. Telephone conversations and email should always be clear and concise. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Always, always, always ensure you thank sponsors and potential sponsors for their time – this is a symbiotic relationship and you need to work together to create benefits for you both.
  5. Give yourself plenty of time – set up your marketing and sponsorship plan 6-12 months before you want to go live. This allows you plenty of time to work out all of the above and start promoting your sponsorship packages. It also means you can offer the sponsor more publicity with pre-event/publications mailers, PR and marketing opportunities as well as getting their logo included in all your promotional material.

McCullough Moore can help with your next project……click here to book a free event consultation with us or here to give us a call!

 

Why Social Media Must Not Be Ignored By Event Managers

In the event industry, people have always been social by nature – whether establishing personal connections at live events, understanding a client’s meeting objectives, or negotiating business deals with vendors. It’s an innate part of what we do and our attendees follow this process too.

Here are our 10 key reasons we believe event planners should not ignore social media!

1.  Social media is the perfect medium for people who like to attend events and conferences because it allows networking opportunities and provides educational content.

2.  Most attendees are using social media sites today such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  Attendees will probably be talking about the event in advance, during the event, and after the event on these social sites, whether you know it or not.

3.   Promotion on social media drives attendance. With the ability to share, and such a huge reach, it’s an essential part of attendee growth.

4.   You can easily create event advocates – attendees can share your event with thousands of contacts at the click of a button.

5.  One of the most beneficial aspects of social media for event planning is that users self-select what topics they are interested in and what they care about. Understanding and identifying this information is a great way for planners to target the ideal attendees based on their interests rather than just traditional criteria like job titles.

6.  Online forums such as LinkedIn groups and Facebook allow attendees to communicate and collaborate before and after the event.  This can change the dynamic of the event in a positive way, as more meaningful dialogue and participation can occur if attendees have a higher common knowledge point at the start of the event.

7.   Reach those who do not or cannot attend – all the people on the web who weren’t able to attend the event in person can now follow the live updates and engage via social media and hashtags.

8.   Speakers will be better prepared to tailor their message to the audience and deliver a great presentation if feedback about their presentation is being posted on the Internet in real time via Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

9.  Easy feedback! When they are armed with social networks that act as a global online publishing platform, attendees can easily publish their feedback for the world to see.

10.  Events and conferences are largely successful over time because of their good reputation with sponsors and attendees.  In that regard social media represents a huge opportunity to improve your reputation and success.  That can be as simple as hearing feedback from attendees and making changes based on that feedback.