The cost of a catered corporate event depends on many different factors. How many people are attending, whether you need entertainment, keynote speakers, presentations, and more, all contribute to how much you’ll pay for your event. Every detail impacts your budget, from the venue to the food and the extras like floral arrangements to prizes. Here we look at the major cost contributors to help create a better picture of how expensive it can be to host a catered corporate event.
You have to choose a venue that will suit the purpose of your corporate event. Is it a trade show or an awards night? A conference or a learning opportunity? Is it for the staff or vendors and suppliers?
All of these questions help define the type of space you need. It’s the difference between a restaurant or a banquet hall and a conference center or a meeting room. Venues range from $500-$3,000 for a smaller spot and from $5,000 to over $20,000 for larger spaces. You also have to consider the location, as you will pay more for a downtown venue than you would for something out of the way. Last but not least, you’ll also pay more for a special venue such as an art gallery or museum than you would for a general banquet hall.
Of course, the food and drink you serve will have a huge impact on price. For example, a morning meeting event will be cheaper than an evening event with a sit-down dinner. Food and drink are usually based on a cost per person. You need to consider different options, such as whether alcohol will be served. For example, if you are looking at something such as a cocktail party with drinks and appetizers, costs might range from $60-70/guest + tax/tip while an event that includes three meals for the entire day you are looking at $125-$150/person + $10/drink. You’ll usually find you’ll pay less by using the caterers at the venue, but this isn’t always the case. You also want to make sure you taste the food to make sure you understand the quality of the food served before making a decision.
In most cases, at the least, you will have some sort of signage or backdrops to help identify the event. The fancier the event, the more décor details you’ll want to include, such as:
- Centrepieces for tables
- Floral arrangements throughout the venue
- Custom-built items relevant to the event
- Specialty furniture rentals
- Table linens
These are just some of the typical décor items used to create a certain ambiance for corporate events. If you choose the right venue, the interior of the building might help add character to reduce your spending on decorating. But for events that are branded, you’ll have to invest in custom signage, branding, and a long list of items to suit the needs of the event. This is far too hard to call price-wise because there are just too many factors involved.
Not all events require entertainment or will vary in the type of entertainment needed. For example, if it is an evening affair with dancing, you are looking at about $1,500 to $3,000 for a DJ, while a band can be upwards of $5,500. Keynote speakers for conferences can be quite expensive, averaging about $15,000, and this isn’t even for well-known industry experts. If you want a high-profile band or entertainer, you are looking at astronomical fees that are likely out of reach for most low-key corporate events.
Event Videography or Photography
Higher profile corporate events should consider hiring a professional photographer or videographer. This can range from $250 to $500 per hour. Just be sure the person you hire has the proper equipment to provide professional-grade video and digital images. You want files easily uploaded on the internet as well as to print for images.
Corporate events are notorious for low-budget “swag” such as pens or coffee mugs. If you want to provide free giveaways, be prepared to pay from $0.50 to $150 per person, depending on the quality and type of the gift. Popular items include your basic branded t-shirts, bags and pens that come in at the lower end of the price range. Your budget will dictate how crazy you can go on your giveaways. To save money, don’t be afraid to reach out to possible sponsors, such as attending vendors or suppliers who might have some items they’d be willing to share for a little recognition.
If you can’t plan this on your own, event management must be factored into the costs. They can help with a long list of tasks, including:
- Creative support
- Securing quotes
- Managing logistics
- Finding a venue
- Onsite support at the event
- Event Staffing
- Hiring entertainment
- Design set up and rentals
Each planner will vary in its costs, and you’ll have to provide a clear outline of what tasks you’ll need them to take on before you get an accurate quote. Most will add an agency fee that is a percentage of your overall costs to cover account management. It is easier and more affordable to work with a venue that also can assist with event planning. They’ll have the sources they work with all the time and can often get you better deals than an event planner.
Of course, the number of attendees will have a major impact on the overall costs of a catered affair. Everything is based on numbers.