The DUNAJ AGENCY on-site staff at an event

Event Budgeting Guide: Tips For 2021

When you’re planning a company event, your entire strategy is bound by your budget. Creating a realistic, thorough event budget is crucial when it comes to giving your attendees a memorable experience. First, let’s look at the most common components that make up an event’s budget:

Related: How to Create an Unforgettable Event Concept

How to Create an Event Budget

Creating a budget for your event can be overwhelming, but by breaking it down into three different stages, you can simplify your budget! Here’s how:

  1. Determine Your Event Strategy

The first step is laying out your event’s foundation.

  • Determine your overall budget. The first thing you should do is know the limits of your budget — you should organize the event around your available resources.
  • Evaluate your past events. Have you held a company event in the past? If so, look at things like how much you spent on food, swag, the venue, etc.Do you have more people attending this year that would cause the budget to increase from previous years? Do you have a technology piece this year to cater to virtual attendees that you haven’t had before?
  • Do some research. Look at companies in your industry that have held events and compare the rates of the vendors they used.
  • Create a plan. Outline the basic logistics and your event goals — you can start by listing out must-haves, like the venue and catering services.
  1. Estimate Your Event Costs

Start with what you know your event will need.

  • Look at your expected expenses. Using the list above, you can start forming a rough estimate about what you want at the event and how much those items will cost.
  • Reach out to vendors. It’s time to start getting quotes from different vendors so that you can get a more accurate picture of the event’s expenses.

It’s best to work through your vendor list well before the event date rather than doing it all right before your budget is due. This also gives you time to get quotes from different vendors to ensure that you are getting the best bang for your buck!

  1. Finalize Your Event Budget

Now that you have a good idea of how much you’re going to spend with various vendors, it’s time to actualize your budget.

  • Calculate your actual spending. As you finalize contracts with your vendors, start tracking how much you’re actually spending compared to your projections. Pretty soon, you’ll have complete visibility regarding how your items are adding up against the budget.
  • Be ready for unpredictable circumstances. Budget changes and vendor price adjustments can happen at any stage of your event planning — it’s important to be ready for anything. It’s also crucial to have your stakeholders’ sign off on this contingency fund so that they are prepared and aware if you have to dip into it.

The Event’s Budget

Getting ready for an event with the DUNAJ AGENCY

Here are some important items to keep track of in your budget that can often go overlooked: 

  • Room rates Make sure that room rates are final and won’t come with any additional fees. Some contracts increase rates after a certain date, so make sure you plan ahead.
  • Taxes – Don’t forget to calculate taxes while you are making arrangements. The venue will be able to help you with this. Gratuities are taxable in some locations as well, but keep in mind that taxes will be different depending on the state you’re operating in.
  • Resort fees Make sure to calculate any resort fees and service charges so you don’t get hit with a pile of fees after all of your guests check out. 
  • Meeting space rental Ensure all aspects of the meeting space are accounted for, such as audio/visual equipment rental, rigging, Wi-Fi, and other tech or production items.
  • Food and beverage F&B fees can quickly add up and can become a large percentage of the overall bill. Pro tip: sometimes these fees get taxed differently than room rates — make sure to budget accordingly.
  • Transportation – Calculate all rental vehicles, airport transportation, and any other travel expenses ahead of time
  • Incidentals Be sure to leave a margin of error for any incidentals and attempt to calculate a rough estimate well in advance. 

Promotional Expenses

Your strategy to market the event can take up a significant part of your budget, but it’s a crucial aspect for hosting a successful one. These expenses include things like:

  • Personalized apps for your attendees
  • Social media ads
  • Email and direct mail marketing
  • Photography and digital design


Staffing for your event comes with a cost, but it is definitely well worth the price point! On-site event staff that manages your registration for you, greets attendees upon arrival and helps them check in, directs them to their rooms, gives an overview of the event as a whole, and are able to answer any question that is thrown their way or adapt and make changes on the fly are an important part of the event experience. Keep them happy, and they’ll keep your attendees happy, too.


Speakers are another crucial part of your event, and they can take up a significant part of your event’s budget. Your attendees will be expecting a strong speaking panel; they’ll be the face of your event, and their personal brand will help elevate your own and relay your messaging.

Signage and Branding

To create a memorable event experience, you have to bring your brand to life. Make sure that you set aside sufficient funds so that you can give your attendees an amazing experience with visual elements that will keep your brand at the front of everyone’s minds.

The Venue

One of the venues used by the DUNAJ AGENCY

The larger your event, the more significant the expenses for the venue will be. Because of how much you will be spending on the venue, it’s important to carry out all of the budgeting best practices for the process. Make sure to choose a venue with ample space and natural flowing walkways so that your attendees can easily interact with each other!

Need help figuring out the best venue for your next event? The DUNAJ AGENCY offers free sourcing to help match you with your perfect venue based on your specific needs and requests. Reach out to us today to start your free sourcing proposal.

Emergency Fund

Emergency funds are a necessity for any event; you never know what will happen. Event organizing can be an unpredictable journey, and there will likely be situations where you need to tap into this fund. We generally recommend roughly a 20% contingency budget so that you can cover any last-minute costs.

Gifts for Attendees

No matter what kind of event you’re hosting, attendees love swag. Swag bags are also an expected part of the event experience; ensure that you make room in your budget to provide gifts for your attendees. You might also think about mailing out swag prior to the event — don’t forget about shipping costs!

Related: 30 Best Ideas for Swag Bags

Meeting Materials

While most meeting materials, like notepads, pens, name badges, etc., are relatively inexpensive on their own, all of those small costs add up quickly. Want to make your meetings even more memorable? Branded pens and notebooks don’t break the budget too much, and they give each attendee something else to remember the event by.

Don’t want to deal with the hassles of creating a memorable event? The DUNAJ AGENCY is your one-stop shop for everything from budget and event management to on-site services and attendee swag bags!

Leave a Comment

Holding an incentive or sales meeting?

Contact the DUNAJ AGENCY to get Complimentary Hotel Sourcing fit for your needs