The most important thing in advance – those who start organising in good time are clearly at an advantage. So start planning as early as possible! Problems and errors that are only noticed at the last minute usually hit the budget hard.
The so-called “Fast/Good/Cheap” rule states that each project can only ever meet two of these three demands. You don’t believe that? Try it for yourself: https://fastgood.cheap (PS: this link is an excellent answer to the next utopian question from a colleague).
But all joking aside: if it’s going to be “fast” and “good”, it’s definitely not going to be cheap. And since this article is dedicated to cheap event organisation and you obviously want a good result (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this), it’s clear which claim to delete in this case.
Another big issue that regularly causes trouble is the organisation and communication of the tasks themselves. Not paying attention for a moment, the boss is standing at the hotel reception without a booking – and in Frankfurt an der Oder instead of on the Main.
That’s why you always do yourself and others a favour if you write down tasks and forward them to colleagues or service providers by email, for example. In this way, not only can all parties involved retrace what exactly needs to be done – in case of doubt, it can also be proven what was communicated and what was not. This is much more difficult with verbal agreements, especially when money is involved.
Also, make sure you always file all documents neatly – and in a way that you can find them quickly.
It’s best to create a separate folder for each project – analogue as well as digital – and file all papers related to it together. A to-do checklist serves as a practical cover sheet. After the project is finished, you can archive all the documents together in a folder.
Now that the basics are clear, let’s move on to the concrete tips:
Online conferences > meet on site
Consider whether the event urgently needs to be held on site or whether a video conference will suffice. In the latter case, after all, virtually all costs are eliminated, and since the pandemic at the latest, most people have become accustomed to online events. Many even appreciate being able to do without long journeys and overnight stays away from home. The environment is grateful too, by the way. Those who want to preserve the event character despite the screen rendezvous can send a goodie box home to the participants in advance to match the event. For example, with a few snacks and not-quite-serious mirror-inverted name tags. Even a joint dinner can be organised online by sending each participant a Hello Fresh box with the same recipe in advance and introducing the event with a joint cooking session.
If the event is to take place in the presence of guests, it is often necessary to organise overnight accommodation for them. Sites like booking.com are a quick way to check the availability of hotels in your area, and those who book frequently through this site can enjoy discounts. But what if your event takes place at the time of the trade fair and even the small rooms in 3* hotels cost several hundred euros? In this case, it may be cheaper to organise a large AirBnB with several bedrooms, for example, a fancy holiday flat, to accommodate your guests. Of course, each guest should have at least one room of their own (ideally also their own bathroom!) so that they have the opportunity to withdraw. However, a short-term shared apartment with holiday camp charm is an excellent team-building measure. It can be wonderfully complemented by joint leisure activities, whether yoga in the morning or a barbecue in the evening. With a bit of luck, the “hostel” even has a whirlpool!
Especially for short distances, the following applies: Railway > aircraft. For distances of less than 500km, a flight saves neither time nor nerves – because in addition to the flight time of 30 minutes, there is also the journey to and from the airport (which is usually located outside), the security check and boarding. It’s much more relaxing to board the ICE at a centrally located and well-connected station and pass the time reading or working. It’s also cheaper and more environmentally friendly – especially if you book early, you can get low fares here.
By the way – if your company itself is active in the travel or tourism industry, a Travel Industry Card is worthwhile. (https://www.drv-tic.de)) from the DRV for your employees! This allows them to access so-called PEP offers (PEP stands for “Product Experience Programme”) from many travel providers at any time at favourable rates. Also private!
For many, the only reason to attend corporate events at all when attendance is not compulsory: the catering! There are basically only three ways to save here:
- research carefully and compare offers. Ask your friends or use the swarm intelligence of social networks – personal recommendations are still the greatest guarantee of quality (and most online reviews are bought or written by mum anyway).
- negotiate skilfully: Always ask for special conditions. You’ll be surprised how often discounts are granted if you just ask! Or turn the tables and set your budget right at the beginning of the negotiation. Then the question is only about what you get for the price.
- do it yourself! Especially when it comes to small snacks for a few people and not a three-course meal for the entire company, it is often cheaper and less time-consuming to make the sandwiches yourself. To make sure the whole thing still looks like catering and doesn’t amount to a Mettigel, it’s worth checking out Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.de/dktrier/smørrebrød/. Simply order the groceries you need for the recipes via Flink, Getir or another delivery service to your office and spend the time you would otherwise have spent researching, ordering and receiving creatively in the kitchen. For special occasions, it can also be caviar – or at least look like it: https://www.posylka.de/de/stoerkaviar-stolnaja-imitation-230-g-08601526.html?gclid=CjwKCAjw3K2XBhAzEiwAmmgrAr5463Wti7rEpTaJWq6R-MkBYbKAYp1_pqXtyfDKFkscHtALgwX27BoCbwcQAvD_BwE. No one notices the difference anyway.
A big budget may make planning easier, but it doesn’t make a good event! With the right preparation and lovingly implemented creative solutions, you’ll get at least as far – without spending a fortune.