Accountancy is often described as an art, not a science, as reports can be “manipulated”. There is no denying the black and white numbers in a budget, however. We know that our clients demand real value for money. At the same time, they want memorable events that produce great business returns. They expect corporate hospitality events to give them a competitive edge. Even with incentive travel, which is seen by many as the ultimate performance reward, clients anticipate that every experience will be the best yet!
Everyone seeks value for money. You don’t have to look further than the growth of the low cost supermarkets and how they are performing in the space against the established big players. Even within businesses these days, it’s all about shaving costs here and there, making sure procurement can account for every 1p of spend.
The most for your money
All too often we are given a brief which includes the statement “I want to run memorable events or travel incentives which delivers impact and the wow factor without breaking my budget”. Luckily, memorable doesn’t have to mean expensive. What it does mean is thinking outside of the box. There are many ways to inject originality and creativity into an event that will leave the participants with anecdotes to share with family and friends. It is all about creating positive lasting memories and happy associations with the event hosts.
In an article in Psychology Today, Professor Daniel Kahneman lays out his conclusions in reference to memories and experiences. Professor Kahneman made the following distinction about how experience and memory affect our future behaviour:
“We actually don’t choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences. And even when we think about the future, we don’t think of our future normally as experiences. We think of our future as anticipated memories.”
This emphasises that live events of all types are experiences, but that the highlights of the experience – good or bad – are what we remember. So, creating memories is not as simple as it may seem. There are a lot of factors to take into account in the event planning process. Managing an event is primarily about attending to every detail and monitoring every activity closely. The best event management companies will be anticipating the memories that they could create and making every effort to mitigate for the unexpected problem.
Back to the budget
Regardless of the nuances of a successful event, the question at the planning stage is always “What will it cost and what will we get for our money?”. Achieving the perfect balance between input and output – in this case measured in financial terms – is not a matter of alchemy, more of knowledge and practical event management ability. Working closely with suppliers, including destinations, venues, catering and transportation experts, we can work the magic to make memorable events for all the right reasons.
It is also worth mentioning that a degree of realism is necessary too. It is the responsibility of the event management agency to be honest and clear about what the client can do with the available budget. The components of a successful event are all included to contribute to the overall impression and impact that the client wishes to make. Cutting corners or reducing quality are going to erode confidence and satisfaction for both supplier and buyer. If the budget is not sufficient to produce the event that the client envisages, then a different approach must be found.
There is a direct correlation between expenditure and results, in event management as in any other enterprise. The client is entitled to expect a satisfactory (ideally an outstanding) return on investment (ROI) but it will be proportionate, not miraculous.
The element of surprise costs no more than the predictable and we have seen many examples of the small touches in an event making a big difference for the guests. It takes thought, imagination, research and negotiation to deliver those novel and delightful experiences. They sometimes reinforce the character or history of the place but always leave the guests and the client with a treasure chest of unique memories.