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12 Tips for Planning a Cost-Effective Convention

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Convention events are a great way to widen your network within a specific industry. But as much as conventions are exciting, this large-scale event proves to be a challenge to plan, much so on a humble budget.
If you’re an event planner tasked to pull off a convention program, you’re at the right post. Here, we listed down some tips from our AV specialists to help plan your event as seamlessly as possible. Read on, and let’s make your convention planning more cost-efficient!

What is a convention?

12 Tips for Planning a Cost-Effective Convention
In general, conventions are massive gatherings, usually done annually. It typically lasts for a few days, and there’s some form of membership involved.
Take note that conventions are different from conferences, although these terms are often used interchangeably.
The main difference is that conventions are more focused on experiences for various interests or fandoms. Some convention examples include gatherings for gaming, technology, comic books, and so on.
Meanwhile, conferences are focused on sharing knowledge and ideas. It’s a more formal corporate event with resource speakers, presentations, and educational sessions, among other similar activities.
Despite their differences, both conventions and conferences are challenging to plan. Also, there are many types of conventions, with each one requiring a specific approach.

How to plan a convention event efficiently

12 Tips for Planning a Cost-Effective Convention
Do you need help on how to set up a convention effectively? Here are some of the 12 tips we always give clients to make their planning process much easier:

1.  Determine your budget

Your event budget will dictate the scope of your convention. So, how much does it cost to host a convention? Make sure you factor in every expense, including the cost of AV rentals, crowd size, venue, swag bags, honorariums, and so on.
It’s important to have a complete breakdown of the cost to avoid ‘scope creep’. This happens when you lose control of the event’s scope to the point that it has already gone beyond your working budget. 
So, before you start calling vendors, make sure you already have a set range of what you can afford. This way, you can easily narrow down your options.

2.  Start planning as early as possible

Planning a convention early will let you catch exclusive promos and low prices. This is especially true if your convention is slated to happen during the peak season of events. Aside from that, you’ll have more vendor options instead of being forced to hire an expensive provider at the last minute.
Also, starting the planning early will prevent you from making costly mistakes due to cramming.

3.  Create an event schedule

Conventions are large events, and it definitely takes a lot of time to plan. So, to make your event planning productive, you need to come up with a realistic schedule.
This includes the timeline of your priorities, such as when to book vendors, when you’ll accept registrants, and so on. You can always use calendars and digital planners to make sure that everything is right on track.

4.  Choose the right venue

Do your daughter and her friends love to sing? If so, you’ll never go wrong with a karaoke party. You can host it at home or your daughter’s venue of ch
When choosing a convention venue, you should pick an ideal location to minimize the guests’ travel costs. At the same time, you should try to avoid booking peak days, usually weekends, that cost more.
You should also book a venue that matches the number of guests you’re expecting. This way, you won’t book a large and expensive venue for a small crowd.
oice to give her the best celebration.
If you’re planning a DIY karaoke party, then you should get the best karaoke machine rental. At Rent For Event, we have a modern karaoke setup with over 34,000 famous and studio-quality songs. We also paired it with concert-quality Shure wireless microphones and a 3-in-1 karaoke system with a built-in iPad.
Your daughter and her friends will surely have a great time belting out their favorite songs all day – or night – long.

5.  Book your AV rentals early

If you want to save a large chunk of your event budget, you should consider renting instead of buying AV equipment. This is especially true if you’re not going to use the equipment regularly at your next events.
However, if you need equipment for every event, it might be a good investment to purchase it. For example, you can buy LED wall since it’s a staple for most kinds of events, be it a convention or something else.
But if you’re planning to rent, here are the essential AV equipment we provide to our clients whenever they are hosting conventions:
  • LED video wall rental. An LED wall rental is often used to show dynamic and engaging visuals to capture the attendees’ attention.
  • Audio equipment rental. This is indispensable for announcements, playing media, and communicating with guests during the convention.
  • Light rentals. To set the ambiance of your venue, you can also get a custom lighting setup.
  • Projector and screen rental. You can boost the attendee engagement by installing multiple screens on the venue. We can also do a full projection mapping to transform bare walls into a work of art.
  • Stage rental. A stage will make the focal point of your convention stand out, be it main installations, event hosts, branding, etc.
Here’s a sneak peek of our AV equipment at the ACURA Grand Prix Convention:

Do you want a similar setup for your daughter’s upcoming birthday? Call us today, and let’s make it happen!

6.  Shop for estimates

Knowing how to host a convention includes making wise decisions about which vendor to partner with. Always get at least three estimates from different vendors before you sign the contract. You should do this on the biggest expenses you’ll have at your convention. This way, you can weigh your options and find the vendor that gives the best value for money.
Don’t hesitate to inquire about what AV solutions they offer and how much they will cost. This way, you can also assess the capacity of the vendor in meeting your convention’s requirements.

7.  Implement effective staff management

Remind your daughter that she doesn’t need booze to have a blast on her birthday. Since your daughter isn’t allowed to go to clubs yet, you can bring a nightclub
For effective convention management, you should delegate tasks to your staff. Make sure you assign a team leader for each department who will oversee some portions of the event planning. This way, you can free up your time for bigger event-planning tasks instead of trying to juggle everything on your own.
To save funds, you can also tap into volunteers. In return, you can give them exclusive access or special perks during the convention.
Overall, make sure all members of your event staff are well-oriented about their roles. This will prevent confusion and ensure that your convention will run without a hitch.
experience on her special day, but alcohol-free.
For the ‘mocktail’ party, you can rent a place or turn your home into a nightclub with some uplighting rental, a professional sound system, an LED screen, DJ equipment, and more. Our team at Rent For Event can set up everything, whichever venue you choose.
Aside from that, make sure you prepare some hearty drinks with different flavors. Some of the most popular ‘mocktail’ recipes are citrus fizz, virgin piña colada, Sangria mocktail, berry burlesque, and more.
On top of that, you can help your daughter prepare and send out fancy ‘mocktail’ invitations. You can also come up with a ‘mocktail’ menu and hire a bartender to complete the vibe.

8.  Seek sponsorships and partnerships

Another cost-efficient strategy you can explore is entering into partnerships or seeking sponsorships for your event. Some brands may pledge to cover the cost of specific rentals or services you need.
Meanwhile, other companies may offer in-kind sponsorships in exchange for exposure during your convention.
Through this, you can free up some of your budget and allocate it to other important aspects of your event. For example, the money you save can be used to book a better venue or high-end AV equipment. 

9.  Prepare a backup

Vendors may cancel on you at the last minute, venues may overbook, or sponsors may pull out. All these problems can happen when you’re hosting a convention. So, to avoid a compromising situation, you should always prepare a buffer for the unexpected.
This includes setting a contingency fund should you need to hire last-minute vendors or if you need to pay for an expense that a sponsor failed to fulfill.
Overall, having a Plan B in place will ensure that your convention will go on even if things don’t go as planned.

10. Use social media for marketing

When it comes to marketing your event, there are many free platforms you can maximize. For example, you can go heavy on promoting your convention on social media by running promos, online competitions, and awareness campaigns.
Also, you can set up an email marketing campaign to keep your guests posted on the latest updates. And if you have the extra budget, you can also build an event website where attendees can register. This way, you can avoid the expensive cost of printing brochures and other traditional marketing materials.

11. Negotiate on everything

A smart event planner knows how to negotiate with vendors and other stakeholders. It can sometimes feel uncomfortable but just know that other event planners are doing it, and they are saving a lot of money trying to negotiate vendor rates.
Of course, you should stay reasonable and professional. Any discount can go a long way, especially if you’re hosting many events a year.

12. Don’t settle for the lowest bidder

Lastly, never settle for the cheapest vendors. While it may seem cost-effective at first, you’ll soon realize that you got the lowest deal at a greater cost.
Many lowballing vendors often deliver substandard service. In the end, your convention will suffer, and your reputation will be on the line. As they say, you get what you pay for.
Overall, you should strike a balance between price and quality of service. Sometimes, spending a few more bucks can bring manifolds of ROI.

Looking for an event production company to bring your convention to life?

If you’re an event planner or project manager tasked to host a convention, Rent For Event would be the smart choice for an AV company.
Our elite team has made many conferences, conventions, and other big events possible. We have a large inventory of any audiovisual equipment you’ll need, inclusive of delivery, set up, operation, and tear down.
With us, you no longer have to worry about the audiovisual aspect of your event. Our event experts will handle everything to deliver the wow factor to your attendees. We’re tried and tested by big brands in the US, such as Netflix, BET TV, CBS, TikTok, and more!
But wait – don’t take our word for it. Just see what our happy client has to say about service.
Ready to get expert AV for your convention? Call us or choose your service today!

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