Event Management

How to reduce event costs by optimizing your virtual event budget: 11 top tips

Kathryn Humphries

November 22, 2022

8 min read

Virtual event budget

It’s no secret that times are tough and everyone is looking for ways to cut costs.

Organizing hybrid and virtual events instead of in-person events is a great way to reduce your event budget.

So, to help you understand how to get more for less out of your events and how to optimize your hybrid/virtual event budget, read on.

In this article, we’re sharing 11 things we currently see our enterprise customers from leading Fortune 500 companies do to maximize their hybrid/virtual event budget.

We’re creating the most up-to-date event budget template for enterprises based on insights from our top enterprise customers. Request it now.

#1 Leverage remote production

With regard to optimizing your hybrid/virtual event budget, one of the best things you can do is leverage remote production. What does that mean? Basically, it means using technology to produce your event remotely, instead of having people physically present.

You can do 4070% of your hybrid/virtual production work remotely. There’s no need to fly in an entire crew to produce, live stream, and manage your event content.

There are a few key benefits to this approach:

  1. You save money on travel and accommodation.
  2. It makes it easier to have expert production team members from all over the world.
  3. It cuts down on the amount of time and energy you need to spend on planning and logistics.

So how do you go about setting up remote production to get the most out of your hybrid/virtual event budget? Here are 4 tips:

  1. Choose the right platform. There are a number of different platforms that allow for remote production, so do your research and find one that’s right for your event.
  2. Set up a dedicated team. Make sure you have a team in place who is responsible for handling all the technical aspects of the event. There are many hybrid and virtual event production companies that offer these services.
  3. Test, test, test. Make sure you test all the technology ahead of time so that there are no surprises on the day of the event.
  4. Have backup plans in place. Things always go wrong sometimes, so make sure you have a plan B ready to go in case of technical difficulties.

To learn more about remote production for events, check out our post about events production for hybrid events.

#2 Avoid costly keynote speakers

You don’t need to break the bank to get a great keynote speaker for your hybrid/virtual event. Here are 4 tips for finding someone within your hybrid/virtual event budget:

  1. Check with professional organizations in your industry. Many of them have speakers who are happy to share their expertise at a fraction of the cost of hiring a celebrity keynote.
  2. Ask local universities if they have any professors or lecturers who would be interested in speaking at your event.
  3. Connect with professional speakers’ bureaus. They usually have a wide range of speakers to choose from at various price points.
  4. Highlight champion customers and star employees. There are many talented professionals out there who are happy to speak for free or for a reduced fee.
Optimize your virtual event budget by choosing keynote speakers carefully

#3 Use automation and bots

When it comes to cutting costs on your event budget, you can use a lot of the same techniques as you would for a live event. For example, try using automation and bots to handle some of the tasks that people would normally do.

There are all kinds of things that you can automate. From registration and check-in to the agenda. And there are some great bots out there that can help with things like social media engagement or even providing customer support.

Think about ways that you can cut down on labor costs and use technology to take care of some of the grunt work. You’ll be surprised at how much you can optimize your hybrid/virtual event budget in this way.

#4 Go paperless with apps

Going paperless is a great way to make the most of your hybrid/virtual event budget. 

You can use conference and mobile event apps that allow participants to join in from anywhere in the world. As a result, you can extend your event reach and boost engagement.

Not only does using an app save you on printing costs, but it also ensures that all your attendees are on the same page, so to speak, and eliminates the need for last-minute print jobs.

And it’s a great way to run sustainable events, which is becoming more and more important today. How many times have you come away from an in-person event with piles of business cards and sheets of paper that you’ve then just thrown away?

You’ll reduce waste as well as your event spending by using a mobile event app.

Use event apps to help optimize your virtual event budget

#5 Don’t splash out on throw-away swag

When planning your event, don’t forget the little things that can add up and make you go over your hybrid/virtual event budget.

Sending/Giving participants branded swag is an effective way to promote your brand. It’s also a great way to show your participants you appreciate their involvement. But, you don’t need to go overboard.

Stick to low-cost items that participants can actually use or wear like a tote bag or a T-shirt.

And when you’re choosing your swag, make sure you comparison shop for the best-priced products. Ask for quotes from a few different vendors. You may be able to really optimize your event hybrid/virtual event budget just by doing your research well.

You could even avoid buying any swag at all and simply use virtual event apps for gamification and point redemption for digital gifts and donations.

#6 Reduce on-demand production costs

Repurposing your event content when your event is over is a fantastic way to extend your reach worldwide and keep engagement high.

But you don’t have to factor a huge amount into your hybrid/virtual event budget. 

If you record your event sessions, you can use an on-demand content hub that links to your hybrid/virtual event platform. And with just a few clicks, you can create a Netflix-style life-like experience for those who weren’t able to attend your event.

No need to spend your hybrid/virtual event budget on pricey video editors who spend hours perfecting your content. Simply use the raw session recordings at a smaller cost.

#7 Mix remote & in-person speakers

You could choose to have in-person speakers at your hybrid/virtual event. But that means having to pay for their travel and perhaps accommodation costs. And it could even result in higher venue costs if you have to use extra equipment.

This will eat up a huge chunk of your hybrid/virtual event budget.

So why not have a mix of virtual and in-person speakers? Or just have virtual speakers?

You can also do this with panel discussions. Have some of the panelists join remotely, and then have a moderator onsite who can ask questions and keep the discussion flowing.

#8 Make in-person elements more exclusive

If you ask any large enterprise, they’ll tell you they waste most of their hybrid/virtual event budget on the in-person elements. Mainly the venue, travel, and accommodation costs.

So, to reduce expenses, run hybrid events with a smaller, more selective in-person audience that you invite through invitation only. That way you’ll know how big a venue space to book and how many people to cater for. 

And by making the in-person part of your event exclusive, you’ll waste no money on food, drinks, and other services because you’ll know precisely who’s attending in person. 

Of course, if you decide to run an event entirely online, you instantly avoid any high in-person costs and can extend your reach even further.

This is an easy way to optimize your hybrid/virtual event budget.

#9 Scope onsite to mission-critical only

Every event has its must-haves and nice-to-haves. When you’re putting together your hybrid/virtual event budget, it’s important to be realistic about what can actually be done virtually and what still needs to be done onsite.

Start by evaluating your scope and identifying which in-person activities are mission-critical and which can be handled remotely. 

Mission-critical activities that can only take place in person might include:

  • Peer-to-peer interactions
  • Networking
  • Breakouts

Other activities can take place online. Such as:

By cutting down on onsite days, you can instantly reduce venue, travel, and accommodation costs. And as a result, you save on your entire hybrid/virtual event budget.

It is possible to host an online networking event. Check out our 20 tips on how to host a virtual networking event.

Reduce event budget by organizing only mission-critical in-person aspects

#10 Leverage field hybrid

Another top tip for making the most of your hybrid/virtual event budget: leverage field hybrid. What does that mean? Basically, it means using the resources you have for the virtual part of your event.

Find the right balance between high-end and two times the cost of production gigs and the poor experience of Zooming in remote participants.

The best way to do this is by choosing the right hybrid studio software that helps you stay within your hybrid/virtual event budget.

Looking for the right event platform for 2023? Download our event management RFP template and find the vendor that will help you reach your goals.

#11 Use the right event platform for your needs

It’s worth investing part of your hybrid/virtual event budget in an event platform to give your audience the best possible experience. But, there’s no point in spending money on an event solution if it doesn’t help you meet your goals.

If you’re an enterprise looking for an event platform to build engaging events audiences love, SpotMe might be the solution for you.

Trusted by 12,000+ marketers and Fortune 500 business leaders, SpotMe has many integrations for you to track and analyze important data for your business: Marketo, Salesforce, Veeva, Rainfocus, and more. And its enterprise-grade security ensures your events are compliant.

It has a highly customizable platform and mobile event app to help you make your brand stand out. And you’ll be sure to keep your audiences engaged before, during, and after events with SpotMe’s countless engagement features.

Request a free demo with SpotMe today.

Would you like a free event budget template to help you plan for 2023?

We’re putting together the most up-to-date event budget template for enterprises based on insights from our top enterprise customers. Request it here.

author image

Kathryn Humphries

Head of Content Marketing

It’s no secret that times are tough and everyone is looking for ways to cut costs.

Organizing hybrid and virtual events instead of in-person events is a great way to reduce your event budget.

So, to help you understand how to get more for less out of your events and how to optimize your hybrid/virtual event budget, read on.

In this article, we’re sharing 11 things we currently see our enterprise customers from leading Fortune 500 companies do to maximize their hybrid/virtual event budget.

We’re creating the most up-to-date event budget template for enterprises based on insights from our top enterprise customers. Request it now.

#1 Leverage remote production

With regard to optimizing your hybrid/virtual event budget, one of the best things you can do is leverage remote production. What does that mean? Basically, it means using technology to produce your event remotely, instead of having people physically present.

You can do 4070% of your hybrid/virtual production work remotely. There’s no need to fly in an entire crew to produce, live stream, and manage your event content.

There are a few key benefits to this approach:

  1. You save money on travel and accommodation.
  2. It makes it easier to have expert production team members from all over the world.
  3. It cuts down on the amount of time and energy you need to spend on planning and logistics.

So how do you go about setting up remote production to get the most out of your hybrid/virtual event budget? Here are 4 tips:

  1. Choose the right platform. There are a number of different platforms that allow for remote production, so do your research and find one that’s right for your event.
  2. Set up a dedicated team. Make sure you have a team in place who is responsible for handling all the technical aspects of the event. There are many hybrid and virtual event production companies that offer these services.
  3. Test, test, test. Make sure you test all the technology ahead of time so that there are no surprises on the day of the event.
  4. Have backup plans in place. Things always go wrong sometimes, so make sure you have a plan B ready to go in case of technical difficulties.

To learn more about remote production for events, check out our post about events production for hybrid events.

#2 Avoid costly keynote speakers

You don’t need to break the bank to get a great keynote speaker for your hybrid/virtual event. Here are 4 tips for finding someone within your hybrid/virtual event budget:

  1. Check with professional organizations in your industry. Many of them have speakers who are happy to share their expertise at a fraction of the cost of hiring a celebrity keynote.
  2. Ask local universities if they have any professors or lecturers who would be interested in speaking at your event.
  3. Connect with professional speakers’ bureaus. They usually have a wide range of speakers to choose from at various price points.
  4. Highlight champion customers and star employees. There are many talented professionals out there who are happy to speak for free or for a reduced fee.
Optimize your virtual event budget by choosing keynote speakers carefully

#3 Use automation and bots

When it comes to cutting costs on your event budget, you can use a lot of the same techniques as you would for a live event. For example, try using automation and bots to handle some of the tasks that people would normally do.

There are all kinds of things that you can automate. From registration and check-in to the agenda. And there are some great bots out there that can help with things like social media engagement or even providing customer support.

Think about ways that you can cut down on labor costs and use technology to take care of some of the grunt work. You’ll be surprised at how much you can optimize your hybrid/virtual event budget in this way.

#4 Go paperless with apps

Going paperless is a great way to make the most of your hybrid/virtual event budget. 

You can use conference and mobile event apps that allow participants to join in from anywhere in the world. As a result, you can extend your event reach and boost engagement.

Not only does using an app save you on printing costs, but it also ensures that all your attendees are on the same page, so to speak, and eliminates the need for last-minute print jobs.

And it’s a great way to run sustainable events, which is becoming more and more important today. How many times have you come away from an in-person event with piles of business cards and sheets of paper that you’ve then just thrown away?

You’ll reduce waste as well as your event spending by using a mobile event app.

Use event apps to help optimize your virtual event budget

#5 Don’t splash out on throw-away swag

When planning your event, don’t forget the little things that can add up and make you go over your hybrid/virtual event budget.

Sending/Giving participants branded swag is an effective way to promote your brand. It’s also a great way to show your participants you appreciate their involvement. But, you don’t need to go overboard.

Stick to low-cost items that participants can actually use or wear like a tote bag or a T-shirt.

And when you’re choosing your swag, make sure you comparison shop for the best-priced products. Ask for quotes from a few different vendors. You may be able to really optimize your event hybrid/virtual event budget just by doing your research well.

You could even avoid buying any swag at all and simply use virtual event apps for gamification and point redemption for digital gifts and donations.

#6 Reduce on-demand production costs

Repurposing your event content when your event is over is a fantastic way to extend your reach worldwide and keep engagement high.

But you don’t have to factor a huge amount into your hybrid/virtual event budget. 

If you record your event sessions, you can use an on-demand content hub that links to your hybrid/virtual event platform. And with just a few clicks, you can create a Netflix-style life-like experience for those who weren’t able to attend your event.

No need to spend your hybrid/virtual event budget on pricey video editors who spend hours perfecting your content. Simply use the raw session recordings at a smaller cost.

#7 Mix remote & in-person speakers

You could choose to have in-person speakers at your hybrid/virtual event. But that means having to pay for their travel and perhaps accommodation costs. And it could even result in higher venue costs if you have to use extra equipment.

This will eat up a huge chunk of your hybrid/virtual event budget.

So why not have a mix of virtual and in-person speakers? Or just have virtual speakers?

You can also do this with panel discussions. Have some of the panelists join remotely, and then have a moderator onsite who can ask questions and keep the discussion flowing.

#8 Make in-person elements more exclusive

If you ask any large enterprise, they’ll tell you they waste most of their hybrid/virtual event budget on the in-person elements. Mainly the venue, travel, and accommodation costs.

So, to reduce expenses, run hybrid events with a smaller, more selective in-person audience that you invite through invitation only. That way you’ll know how big a venue space to book and how many people to cater for. 

And by making the in-person part of your event exclusive, you’ll waste no money on food, drinks, and other services because you’ll know precisely who’s attending in person. 

Of course, if you decide to run an event entirely online, you instantly avoid any high in-person costs and can extend your reach even further.

This is an easy way to optimize your hybrid/virtual event budget.

#9 Scope onsite to mission-critical only

Every event has its must-haves and nice-to-haves. When you’re putting together your hybrid/virtual event budget, it’s important to be realistic about what can actually be done virtually and what still needs to be done onsite.

Start by evaluating your scope and identifying which in-person activities are mission-critical and which can be handled remotely. 

Mission-critical activities that can only take place in person might include:

  • Peer-to-peer interactions
  • Networking
  • Breakouts

Other activities can take place online. Such as:

By cutting down on onsite days, you can instantly reduce venue, travel, and accommodation costs. And as a result, you save on your entire hybrid/virtual event budget.

It is possible to host an online networking event. Check out our 20 tips on how to host a virtual networking event.

Reduce event budget by organizing only mission-critical in-person aspects

#10 Leverage field hybrid

Another top tip for making the most of your hybrid/virtual event budget: leverage field hybrid. What does that mean? Basically, it means using the resources you have for the virtual part of your event.

Find the right balance between high-end and two times the cost of production gigs and the poor experience of Zooming in remote participants.

The best way to do this is by choosing the right hybrid studio software that helps you stay within your hybrid/virtual event budget.

Looking for the right event platform for 2023? Download our event management RFP template and find the vendor that will help you reach your goals.

#11 Use the right event platform for your needs

It’s worth investing part of your hybrid/virtual event budget in an event platform to give your audience the best possible experience. But, there’s no point in spending money on an event solution if it doesn’t help you meet your goals.

If you’re an enterprise looking for an event platform to build engaging events audiences love, SpotMe might be the solution for you.

Trusted by 12,000+ marketers and Fortune 500 business leaders, SpotMe has many integrations for you to track and analyze important data for your business: Marketo, Salesforce, Veeva, Rainfocus, and more. And its enterprise-grade security ensures your events are compliant.

It has a highly customizable platform and mobile event app to help you make your brand stand out. And you’ll be sure to keep your audiences engaged before, during, and after events with SpotMe’s countless engagement features.

Request a free demo with SpotMe today.

Would you like a free event budget template to help you plan for 2023?

We’re putting together the most up-to-date event budget template for enterprises based on insights from our top enterprise customers. Request it here.

author image

Kathryn Humphries

Head of Content Marketing

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