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The Hidden Costs of DIY Event Planning & Management

In a corporate world mesmerized by productivity gains, efficiency enhancers and cost-cutting, it might seem appropriate for in-house event teams to “go it alone” when it comes to corporate event planning and management. After all, we all know that the fewer folks involved, the faster decisions are made and we have all been taught the rules of the road when it comes to sticking to a budget. But what we all might not know is that sometimes, this could be a recipe for actually spending more and delivering a less than optimal outcome.

So what are the potential mine fields associated with “do it yourself” corporate event planning?

Green is good – but not always great

Many corporate event team members don’t start out as event planners. Some of them come from marketing or public relations roles. Some come from operations. Some are just starting out in their careers as administrative assistants. They are smart and talented but not necessarily experienced with lots of know-how when it comes to planning, budgeting and orchestrating large-scale meetings and company gatherings. And they might not have the vendor networks, negotiating clout and event management skills that are so critical to saving time, money and headaches when you are planning and executing complex events. Lack of knowledge and experience can just become problematic when you are working with so many moving parts and multiple suppliers on demanding timelines.

Lack of benchmarks – operating from an uninformed perspective

DIY event planning can also suffer from a lack of perspective, an experiential “database” if you will, of what things should cost (benchmarks) based on typical competitive bids for different event elements and contract inclusions/exclusions. If a videographer tells you that they need to charge you extra for extra equipment rentals, should you fight these up-charges? What about negotiating for volume discounts on room blocks? What protections do you build into a hotel food and beverage contract? Working with a professional event planner gives you access to competitive supplier networks and to a seasoned perspective of what these suppliers will charge in a particular market. They know the going rates in the market for various event-associated services and the strategies for fairly negotiating with vendors for a win-win solution tying performance to payout.

Unclear leverage in contract negotiations

DIY event planning can also become a victim of the “one-off” nature of event schedules. Many corporations simply don’t have the frequency of events to command much leverage in supplier negotiations. Consequently, while they may be able to argue successfully for initial vendor discounts, money could be left on the table. This has the compounded effect of increasing their event budgets in subsequent years rather than allowing them to find efficiencies and execute future events at an improved ROI. Good professional event planners are also connected. They network and they listen well. And they have the benefit of volume purchasing to reap increased benefits across multiple client programs.

Mistakes can sometimes be costly

Last but not always least, there is the possibility that a DIY approach will result in a costly mistake. It really is easy to make mistakes when you are working with so many internally who affect how an event rolls up and so many externally who are critical to effective event roll out. Mistakes can be visibly embarrassing and difficult to quickly recover from if you don’t have an experienced event team. Even the low probability that something massive will get overlooked might be too high a price. Hiring a professional event planner to supervise “day of” activities can be viewed almost as an insurance policy minimizing risk and maximizing success with your audience and event sponsors.

Whether you choose Anna Marie Events or another professional event planner to help design and manage your corporate event, the investment should be well worth it, and if it is us that you choose, we guarantee it!