Even though your corporate spending might be low across the board, there’s no reason that you can’t plan a memorable holiday party. Pulling together an amazing corporate holiday party on a budget may seem like an oxymoron, but with an attention to detail and a few cost-cutting measures, you can turn out a party for your organization that will have people talking.
Use these tips to define your low-cost strategy and spend where it matters:
Keep Your Budget Under Control
Efficient budgeting is the first step in successful party planning in a budget.
- As a corporate event planner (or as the designated party organizer for your company), establishing your budget and keeping it under control are your two biggest responsibilities. A budget will help you understand what you can spend and how you can spend it.
- It can be helpful to look back over your previous years’ spending and see how you created your holiday party budget in the past. As you’re looking over those numbers, be sure to add at least 10% on top of older expenses and an additional 10% for contingency purposes. Even on the tightest budget, you may have some unexpected factors – like additional postage or cancellation insurance – that you need to account for.
- After reviewing what you have to spend, speak with your vendors about your budgetary restrictions. In this economy, vendors are well aware that companies have a limited amount of money to work with. Many put together special budget-friendly packages because they want to keep your business.
- In addition, you can ask if there’s a discount for paying in check rather than with corporate credit cards. When you pay with a credit card, vendors are charged a fee from their payment processor. Paying with a check can help them save money, and often the vendor can pass along the savings to you.
- After you set your budget, review your expenses on a daily basis so that you can catch any errors ahead of time. Make sure that there is a restricted list of people who can authorize purchases for the event. Do not accept any changes made by unauthorized members of your company. The more people who are making monetary decisions, the higher the costs will be.
Take a ‘Less is More’ Attitude
- As you’re going over your budget and making decisions about your corporate event, you’re likely going to have to cut some corners. It’s a given for corporate holiday parties on a budget – you won’t be able to offer everything that you want to.
- It’s time to look over the components of your plan and decide what can be reduced – or eliminated – while still making your event memorable and enjoyable for the attendees. If you take a less-is-more attitude toward planning, you can get really creative.
- Take food for example: If your organization is used to hosting a full sit-down dinner with china and silverware, it may be time to rethink that approach for your budget’s sake. Serving a buffet that is high on options and low on pricey meat dishes can help you trim your food costs. In the same vein, forget the open bar and consider giving guests drink tickets that they can redeem for a set number of alcoholic beverages.
Spend Where it Really Counts
- When you throw a corporate holiday party, what you’re really doing is thanking the employees and other invited guests for a great year and appreciating their contributions. Keep this in mind when you are planning and focus on making a memorable evening rather than having the very best (and most expensive!) of everything.
- While it’s important to trim your costs on your venue, food and drink, one area where you shouldn’t skimp is entertainment. With a speaker, comedian or live show at your event, you’ll be able to create lasting memories for the employees. Just like with other venues, corporate entertainment companies often have budget-friendly packages to help make your holiday (or any other) party special.
- Corporate gifts are another line item for holiday parties, and it may seem easy to reduce these costs by buying cheap items for employees. However, out of all of the components of a successful holiday party, this is the component that stays with attendees the longest. It physically goes home with them. It’s important to find something that is budget-friendly, but also memorable and meaningful for employees.
By keeping your budget under control, taking a less-is -more approach and spending money where it will count the most, you can plan a corporate holiday party on a budget that will work for everyone!