One of the hardest parts of planning any event – including hybrid and virtual events – is staying on budget. After all, if your budget was unlimited, you could bring in all of the features, event lighting, AV rentals, and production elements you could possibly want without a care in the world. The issue is, a blank check isn’t usually part of the equation.
Does that mean you can’t have a fantastic hybrid or virtual event? Of course not. You simply need to plan properly, ensuring you can get the most bang for your buck based on your budget.
If you want to make sure you don’t break the bank when planning for your next meeting, convention, or celebration, here’s everything you need to know about budgeting for virtual and hybrid events.
Budgeting for Virtual Events
One of the benefits of holding a virtual event is that it usually costs less than in-person alternatives. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep a grip on your virtual event budget. That way, you cover all of the necessities without overlooking a critical element.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are the most common virtual event budget line items you need to include.
Virtual Event Platform
Without a virtual event online platform, there isn’t an event. While you might think that you can bargain shop here, that isn’t ideal. If the platform is lackluster, plagued by connection issues, or lacks crucial features, your event won’t be well-received.
In many cases, unless your event is tiny, you want to bypass simple web conferencing platforms like Zoom. While they offer excellent video calling options, they don’t have the ability to support a large number of attendees and may not have the ideal feature set for higher production value.
Often, it’s best to focus on virtual event technology leaders, as they can typically offer enough capacity to support massive audiences. Additionally, it can be wise to spring for full customization, ensuring you can have the right features for both behind-the-scenes operations and attendees.
While you won’t need to rent a massive conference space for virtual events, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to secure a space. At a minimum, you’ll want a room where presenters can give their keynotes or presentations. In some cases, you may require a recording studio, allowing you to use prerecorded segments over a fully live production.
When you choose a space, you need to make sure it covers all of your AV and event lighting needs. This can include built-in technologies or enough room to install your AV rental equipment.
On the technical end, virtual events can require quite a bit. While you could make the argument that a webcam with a built-in microphone is enough, that usually won’t give you the desired production value.
Instead, choose event technologies that elevate the experience. Having high-quality HD video cameras and separate noise-canceling microphones ups the production value immensely. You may also need audio systems, allowing you to mix audio during live sessions.
For recorded elements, video-editing software and tools are essential. This allows you to control the look, sound, and feel of the presentation.
Finally, if you’re supporting an on-demand video library, you may need a substantial amount of storage space. In some cases, your virtual event platform may be able to provide it. However, you may need to handle your own media hosting if that service isn’t part of the package, so keep that in mind.
If you don’t have an internal graphic design team, you may need to secure services from graphic designers for your event. That way, you can have the right logos, transition slides, website branding, and similar features that you’ll usually find in a high-quality production.
Beyond what’s listed above, you may have some additional budget line items for your virtual event. This can include:
- Music Licensing
- Attendee Participation Features
- Virtual Networking Activities
- And More
Precisely what you’ll need to account for varies depending on your event. However, it’s important to factor in the additions early, allowing you to budget properly.
Budgeting for Hybrid Events
With a hybrid event, you’ll usually need to cover all of the line items you find with virtual event budgets. However, their size may differ.
For example, your AV rental and technology needs will change. Similarly, instead of a smaller space for recording sessions, you’ll need a full-size venue. Remember, you aren’t just preparing a small presentation room for recordings; you’ll have in-person attendees.
In many cases, you’ll also have some additions, including those listed below.
With many venues, additional features cost extra. This can include venue-provided refreshments, Wi-Fi access for presenters, vendors, guests, and event hosts, bandwidth upcharges, and more.
You need to consider everything you need in a venue. That way, you can identify potential fees you could encounter in advance.
Unless all event-related personnel happens to live near the venue, you may have travel costs to shoulder. This can include transportation, accommodations, per-diem, and other similar expenses.
If you don’t have all of the production support personnel – either through your company or the venue – you need, you may incur extra costs. Hiring separate AV or tech crews comes with a price tag, and it can be significant.
Make sure you consider how many on-site professionals you’ll require, as well as where you can source them. That way, you can have all of the support your hybrid event needs, ensuring it’ll go off without a hitch.