How things have changed! Growing up in the 60s it was considered impolite or crass to ask how much a person made for a living or how much their home or car cost. Nowadays we must provide full disclosure and be transparent in the corporate and political world. We all know how much the Prime Minister, CEOs of the major banks and high government officials earn. Little is hidden. Little is secret.

Your Corporate Event Budget

Where is this going you might ask? Being in the Toronto Corporate Event Industry for many years it boggles my mind why clients are so reluctant to divulge their budget to their event planner. We all know that the majority of customers are shopping for the best price. However, you will not win any brownie points if you come in under budget. In most cases, a budget is set by management and I always encourage my clients to go to the max. This will ensure that the next year’s event budget at least remains the same or even more.

An event executed properly and professionally is extremely valuable but done wrong it can turn out to be a very expensive party with no substance or creativity. Be fair to your supplier. Provide them with a reasonable and practical budget. I once had a client who asked for a complete BBQ menu including entertainment for 400 people with a budget of $2000.00. Now I must reiterate my heading…Let’s Get Real.

How an Event Proposal Begins

Let me provide a scenario for you. A client requests a quote from a Toronto Event Planner usually online. A professional event planner will promptly reach out to the customer by phone to confirm details. Usually, this will happen within 10 minutes of receiving the request. They will be asked what type of event they have secured a venue for or do they need to hire a venue. Will they need catering, how many people will be attending, the date and time of the event and will entertainment be required etc.

Now we come to the “B” word…Budget. Folks, this is crucial information that we require. Your planner will now take all of this information and confirm the availability of all entertainment, venue, rentals etc. This can take several hours and sometimes longer. Once all is confirmed a professional quote is sent out to the client. It is quite typical for several revisions to be made.

By this time many man-hours have been spent producing this proposal. Please be mindful, fair and respectful of your supplier’s time and efforts. Remember that this quote is confidential and it is the intellectual property of the Event Planner.

How to be a Loyal and Fair Client

Loyalty to a supplier with whom you have worked in the past is always a good choice. Quite often the client will receive another quote from a competitor that comes in considerably lower. Be wary and ask questions. I would want to know the background of the Event Company and references. One of my favourite quotes is “if it ain’t broken why to fix it.”

Almost every company is dependent on suppliers. Once you get a good Event Planner treat them like gold. They are essential to your company’s growth and good corporate health. The quality of their work increases your customer and employee satisfaction.

What you need to look for in an Event Planner are quality, timeliness and innovative ideas. A good Event Planner should be aware of your industry needs and be able to tweak your new ideas. Your proposal should not be a cookie-cutter event. A great Corporate Event Planner will make sure that your event will be innovative and custom designed just for you.

By all means, be demanding but be fair. Communicate your needs, budget, standards and timing. An onsite visit to your planner’s office is a great way to build your relationship and introductions to the entire event staff will provide you with a sense of comfort. On the other hand, a personal invitation to your next strategy meeting will give the Event Planner a greater sense of what you are all about.

To sum this up, it is more than ok to be demanding. But be loyal, be fair in your demands and pay on time. Once this criterion is met you will have a supplier who is loyal to you in return. It’s that simple!

The Value of a Corporate Event

Why would a corporation be willing to spend thousands of dollars on an event? An event is a classic way to connect and engage with employees or customers. It can build staff or customer loyalty. Employee morale and productivity will be increased. Everyone loves a party and the cost of producing one should never enter the equation. I personally guarantee that this is money well spent.

A professional Event Planner has had many years of experience and will be well connected with all aspects of planning an event. They will handle venue selection, negotiations, entertainment, decor etc. in a quarter of the time that someone on your staff would take. Thus, a planner will save countless hours and allow your staff to focus on their own job.

Pinpoint the Objective

To execute a successful event, one must pinpoint the objective first. There are many kinds of events, all at varying price points. Firstly, determine if this will be for employees or customers. What are you hoping to achieve? Some examples of different corporate events and pricing are provided below.

Corporate Children’s Holiday Parties

Often the most popular and important event for a corporation, union or social club is the Children’s Christmas/Holiday Party. This is where most companies go all out and where the budget is usually stretched to the limit. This can be an extremely elaborate event with entertainment such as face painters, the dance party, strolling magicians, a professional Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as craft stations. One of the most popular crafts is “Stuff n’ Animal Kit “starting at $12.00 per child. A Cookie Decorating craft station is very well received at $8.50 per child. If you are on a strict budget but still want a craft station, consider the Ornament Spin Station at $3.50 per child.

And don’t forget about the presents! When choosing the gifts for the children an event planner will assist members of the social club personally or the event planner can choose the gifts for the client. All gifts will be “party ready.” Gifts can range anywhere from $7.99 up to $50.00+. Pricing for this event is difficult to assess due to so many variables. This is where you must divulge a realistic budget to your Corporate Event Planner and let them run with it.

Spring and Summer Events

What I have been finding lately is that some companies have an ageing workforce or a very young workforce and therefore very few children attend the Christmas Party. However, they still want to have some sort of event for staff. In this case, an ideal solution is a Picnic where the entire family can attend and participate. This event promotes interaction between all staff regardless of position.

One of the most popular activities is the Dunk Tank where the president or CEO of the company volunteers to be the “dunkee.” It is great fun.

A budget for this event can be done reasonably. An entry-level BBQ can be done for as low $9.99 pp. Add some races and entertainment such as strolling entertainment for more fun. Summer craft stations which start as low as $3.00 per child are also a great add-on. If your budget will allow considering the addition of Carnival Games starting at $150.00 per game. Other popular activities are a Glitter Tattoo station at $405 for 3 hours or a face painter at $375 for 3 hours. The list goes on and on.

Team Building

Team Building has become very popular and it is a wonderful way to relieve stress and promote productivity, particularly for a sales team. This program can be done quite reasonably. Just to give you an idea of the cost of an outdoor Team Day Package for participants up to 100 the cost would be $1400.00. For packages with over 200 participants, custom pricing is required. For either indoors or outdoors enjoy our latest team-building Pylon Speed Challenge starting at $599. Bring your next Corporate Event Team Building day to the next level with our Interactive Game Shows starting at $1500.

Micro Events

Staff or client appreciation is another event that can be very cost-effective. Consider renting an onsite ice cream cart, or a freshly baked cookie station. Budget approximately $4.25 and up per person. This is a small amount but gives you a big bang for your buck.

Allow the child in you to come out. Consider Arcade Style Games at $195.00 per game. Non-Electric Party Games start at $125.00. Let your guests ham it up with a Photo Booth complete with silly props starting at $1199.00.

Other Events

Other events worth considering are customer loyalty programs or launching a new product. A professional events specialist can design an amazing and creative program tailored to your requirements. But please approach with a reasonable budget. A well-executed Corporate Event is priceless.

DIY? Think Twice

In recent years when the economy was much stronger, a company would have no qualms in spending huge sums for their company parties, conferences and other such events. However, in today’s economic crunch many companies are cutting back significantly.

There is a general misconception that by using a planner the cost of the event will be considerably higher and thus many Corporate Clients are trying the DIY route. This does not necessarily save money.

I have made some very valid points below with reasons that a DIY event is not always the most cost-effective way to go.

  • A Corporate Event Planner will hire only the most professional entertainers and will take full responsibility for their reliability.
  • Countless hours are spent on research, phone calls, negotiations etc. This takes precious time away from staff on doing their own job.
  • Using an Event Planner means dealing with one source, one phone call.
  • The more business you are putting through the Event Planner the larger the discounts and bonuses you will receive.
  • Lastly, you will receive one complete invoice which will reduce many hours of your staff’s time.

We appreciate any comments or questions you may have. Contact us about Corporate Events and we will be happy to assist you.


Have an “Eventful Day.”
Elayne Isenberg