Many people are under the impression that if they hire an event planning service company they will be spending more than their budget allows. While event planningare for-profit companies that doesn’t always translate into additional fees for your program’s budget. When used properly, event planning service companies can actually negotiate with suppliers on your behalf to help bring your costs down. This is especially true if you are planning an event in a city that you are not based in. They are the local experts and as such have long-standing relationships with many industry suppliers.
I’d like to cover a couple of common myths about event planning service companies. Two items that seem to be at the top of the list are; will an event planning service company cost me more, and will I lose control of my event if I subcontract to an event planning service company.
Will an event planning service company cost me more?
The simple straightforward answer is not necessarily. One of the first questions that usually gets asked by an event planning service company is “what is your budget?”. Having been that person asking that question on many occasions, I often found resistance from the client to answer it. It was as if they didn’t want me to know for fear that I wouldn’t go out and negotiate in good faith on their behalf. Obviously it’s important to establish trust. If you’re considering hiring an event planning service company you should always ask for references. And then call those references. Your ultimate goal by doing your due diligence here is that you need to establish trust. Once that trust is established, I for one believe that an open discussion regarding budgets is a crucial conversation to have. There’s nothing wrong with saying you have a budget of $100 per person but you would really like to try and come in at around $90 per person. This type of conversation gives the event planning service company lays the framework in which they will establish a negotiating pattern with suppliers.
There are even several areas where there would not be any additional costs to you by hiring an event planning service company. Hotel rooms is one of those areas. In this area the hotel would pay the event planning service company a commission included in the rates they quote. And quite often those rates would be the same or even lower than you would get by dealing direct – without a commission to you. The benefit of course is that you will save time and effort by having someone else source and negotiate hotels on your behalf.
As I mentioned earlier, many event planning service companies have established relationships with industry suppliers. Because of these relationships many suppliers offer event planning service companies wholesale rates. What this means for you is that the event planning service company will be able to add their fee to the supplier’s wholesale rates without you having to absorb the additional mark up. Many times the price to you may still be lower than what the price would have been by dealing direct with the supplier yourself.
Will I lose control of my event by hiring an event planning service company?
It is not the sole job of the event planning service company to take over an event and run with it. Rather, the event company would take their orders from you. A good event planning service company will make sure they have a clear understanding of how you want the event to unfold. It’s their job to provide options, and of course recommendations, for you to approve. They generally work in the background making sure that all of the suppliers are performing properly and that the event is unfolding as planned. Obviously having problem solving skills is definitely an asset for an event planning service company.
If you find you have the task of organizing your company’s or association’s next event you should consider hiring an event planning service company. Depending on how complex your event is will determine how much involvement you require. Your time is valuable so make sure you spend it wisely. An event planning service company can help take the frustration of dealing with suppliers while providing you with the best ideas for a successful event.
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