It’s no secret that, over the past year, the events and hospitality sector has been hit hard by the pandemic. As we return to a “new normal”, things are looking up for the industry – we’re not opening Zoom as frequently; delegates can look forward to meeting in-person again, and live events are starting to return – but even so, budgets might be a little tighter this year.
Whilst this might conjure images of plastic cups, clingfilm buffets, and printed paper handouts, we’re here to tell you that budget-savvy doesn’t need to mean low-quality! At W12 Conferences, we’ve hosted hundreds of meetings and business functions, so we know a thing or two about what it takes to plan one. When it comes to corporate events, we understand that venue choice is probably the first – and most expensive – decision you’ll make. Since the biggest savings are often made on the largest expenses, it holds that your choice of space could help cut down on costs: you’ve just got to know where to look, and what to look for.
So, we’ve asked around the industry to come up with a quick-fire guide on how to get the most out of your venue for your budget. For budget-conscious planners, these are our top tips for throwing a cost-effective event without compromising on quality.
If there’s any silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s that virtual events have increased in sophistication, adaptability, and variety. The surge in demand has seen a rise in some fantastic virtual solutions and platforms designed to maximise audience engagement, with venues investing in the AV tech required to support them. As in-person functions resume, the hybrid event offers businesses the best of both worlds: all the buzz of a live occasion with all the perks of the virtual.
By picking a venue with the capacity to host hybrid events, you can cut down on the number of in-person attendees, reducing energy bills and catering costs off the bat. What’s more, hybrid functions transcend borders (literally); international delegates or guest speakers won’t need to be flown over, and, by extension, you won’t need to cover accommodation and subsistence expenses.
Be mindful about how much space you really need for your event, particularly if you’re planning a hybrid function (as your in-person numbers will be lower than your total guest count). It can be useful to look for a venue with a variety of room sizes available. For example, at W12 Conferences, we offer five flexible spaces to choose from, with capacity to accommodate attendee numbers from 10 to 150. This range is important; you’ll want to carefully tailor the space to the occasion, to prevent splashing out unnecessarily on a room that’ll only ever be half full!
Moreover, for traditionally large-scale events like conferences, it’s typical to hire out a big space for the main content in addition to smaller breakout or networking rooms. However, if you’re watching your expenses – and willing to think outside of the box – it can be worth opting for one space, rather than several, for your conference or meeting. Take networking: you could look to schedule a break within the programme itself, to give delegates the opportunity to mingle with others and recharge mid-event (without the need for a separate room).
Nowadays, most venues offer packages for corporate events. DDRs and other bundles combine the core elements (and sometimes a few bonus additions) required of a successful function in an all-inclusive deal, saving you from sourcing and co-ordinating separate suppliers. Whilst the details vary, usually, venue packages will include things like room hire, AV equipment, event management and catering. Booking separate services and equipment can add up fast (and be the source of some serious organisational headaches); opting for a package, on the other hand, will likely prove cheaper – and less painful! – leaving you free to focus on the details.
It can pay to do a little research beforehand, to make sure you’re getting the best value for the best rates. We know that keeping costs down is a priority for many. That’s why we offer our DDR packages, starting from just £29(+VAT). Make no mistake, though: while you’d be hard-pressed to find a more affordable price for a West London venue, we refuse to settle on second-rate service. Our dedicated events team, premium in-house catering and powerful AV facilities stand as testament to that!
On the subject of AV facilities, make sure your chosen space is well-equipped – especially if you’re looking to save money in the long-run. AV is part and parcel of almost every event, and outsourcing it can be incredibly expensive; not only will you be paying for the tech itself, you’ll also likely need to hire qualified technicians to set up and manage it on the day.
Conversely, choosing a venue with powerful AV facilities included in the room hire can shave a substantial chunk off your outgoings. At W12, we’ve made sure that every one of our spaces comes fully equipped with state-of-the-art AV: LED flatscreens, HD projectors, screen-sharing systems – just to name a few!
When you’re planning the logistics of your event, consider booking an off-peak time to keep costs low. Picking a midweek date usually means greater flexibility; some venues will even offer discounted rates to encourage booking during these times. It can also be cheaper to host an event during daytime hours – before 4 pm – rather than an evening occasion.
Events at W12 Conferences
Our West London venue offers a variety of contemporary, flexible spaces for corporate events – along with high-tech AV facilities and exceptional in-house catering – for unbeatable rates.
We believe that providing value for money shouldn’t be at the expense of delegate experience: starting from just £29 (+VAT), our Meeting package includes room hire, access to a Wi-Fi projector, PA system and flipchart, in addition to a working lunch and three coffee breaks. Upgrade to our £39.50 DDR package, and enjoy a two-course hot lunch, plus conference stationary, an LCD projector and PC. To find out more, our events team would be happy to help! Get in touch here, or give us a call on 020 3313 1606.