16 Budgeting Upfront budget advice Joanna Lunn, event sales manager for the Victory Services Club in London’s Marble Arch, discusses how to work with your venue to keep on budget Communication and transparency Be upfront and honest with your venue and tell them your budget. Be clear about your priorities and defi ne what’s important and what can be economised if necessary. Costs Does your venue off er a discounted rate for associations and non-profi t organisations – many do, so it’s worth asking. If you choose a day delegate rate (DDR) package, then it’s important that you understand what’s included and what’s not; not all DDRs are equal. Many of them include basic AV such as screens, a PA system and microphones, security and Wi-Fi – but many don’t and adding a few basic items soon adds up. Is VAT included in the DDR or will the 20% be added to your invoice? Th is could seriously impact on a non-VAT registered association. Flexibility Food and beverage is an area where many economies could be made - with the right team involved. Using a venue with in-house caterers will off er you more fl exibility in your menu planning. Meet the chef and discuss your budget and your audience; a great chef will listen and then create a menu tailored to your budget, your audience and event requirements. Values Consider the ethos and values of your association and fi nd a venue that matches them; would your members feel more at home in a not-for-profi t venue or a fi ve-star hotel? A shared ethos leads to a better working relationship, which in turn leads to the very best use of budget and an amazing event. September 2018 Getting under the skin Live Union's Jez Paxman offers some tips on how associations can make events more profi table and boost delegates Ensuring people want to buy into membership is crucial to any association's survival, and conferences play a huge part in demonstrating their connection with, and value to the audience. But how to attract them to an event and keep them coming back year after year can be tricky. Th e clue is in getting under the skin of delegates and understanding their expectations. Gone are the days of wanting, or needing to, sit through hour after hour of lecture-style presentations. Th ey have seen TED Talks, Apple KeyNotes and SXSW and are demanding more from the events they choose to spend their time at. At the heart of this understanding is recognising what delegates really value, how they engage with and retain ideas, and how they choose to make connections. Having created events for businesses such as VISA, Santander and Amazon, we see a trend towards experience-rich, brain-friendly conferences. Th ere’s an increasing desire for delegates to be able to tailor their own experiences, so associations need to explore new formats and ways of sharing ideas. Th ey need to ensure the event is creating an immersive, educational, and collaborative experience for delegates, providing them with a range of platforms to keep their interest – putting value on making connections over simply giving them more content to consume. Varying the pace, building in surprises, trying new event technologies and embracing active learning are all key to engaging today’s delegate.