When planning an event, one of the main challenges planners face is staying within the event budget. You want to create a spectacular event, but you need to ensure the event scope is realistic. Working within budget constraints can be tricky, but by applying a little more creativity and thinking outside the box you might just find you end up with a better event!

Here are our tips on how to get the most bang for your event buck:

Use an event app

The latest trend in events is to have an event app. Printing is expensive and burdensome. An event app eliminates the need to print event information by allowing sharing of up-to-date information from within the app. Event apps also promote greater conference engagement, potentially leading to a higher ROI.

Select a great value venue

Most venues have an array of options when it comes to spaces available, and being flexible can allow you to achieve great results without the high costs. Using an event space in low season, for example, should be cheaper than high season.

Make smart food and beverage choices

Make savvy choices about food and drinks so you don’t overspend. For example: don’t stress about serving expensive wine brands; most people won’t even notice if you opt for the house brands. Think about the type of event you’re holding and the kind of food to be served. Dinner doesn’t always need to be a sit-down affair; a cocktail function can prove to be a more cost effective and relaxed option.

Use lighting to theme your event

Great lighting can be a cost-effective and impactful way to theme your event. Some themes sound great in theory but can be very difficult to incorporate into an event without spending large amounts of money. Lighting can add vibrancy and colour, creating a unique and impressive event experience.

Leverage social media

Social media is an effective way to promote your event, build anticipation, keep attendees engaged and get feedback – without drastically increasing your budget.

Ultimately, when planning events to a strict budget, it’s important to be flexible. Keep in mind that if you overspend in one area, you will need to underspend in another. Allowing some wiggle room within the budget and keeping costs down when you can will help you make the most of your budget.

Lighting is integral to creating the wow factor at your event. Creative use of the many available lighting technologies can transform the look and feel of an event by enhancing the space, creating a desired ambience in the room and supporting event themes. There are so many ways in which lighting can be used to make any event feel extraordinary!

Room effects and architectural lighting

The use of colour changing lights added with what we call “intelligent moving head fixtures” will dramatically alter the look and feel of any Ballroom or function space. Completely controllable via a lighting console, the lighting designer will usually program a number of different “looks” or “states” that they will then use at appropriate times throughout the event. This may include looks for walk-in/arrival, formalities, meal service, awards, party time, etc.

Band, entertainment and dance floor lighting

Intelligent moving head lighting is what is typically used to light most bands and dance floors these days. They have the ability to change colour, pattern, intensity, angle and direction. Again, these lights are controlled via a lighting console and a good lighting operator will alter the lights in tune with the beat of the music.

Performer lighting

Trapeze artists, stand-up comedians, magicians – whatever the artist – a follow-spot is typically the ideal light to ensure the performer is always lit, regardless of where they are on stage. A follow-spot is a manually operated light whereby the follow-spot operator simply points the light in the direction of the performer.

It sounds simple enough, however a good follow-spot operator will know when and how to fade the spot in and out at the appropriate time and speed. They’ll keep the spot steady and not bounce it around causing distraction to the audience and they will also control the actual size of the spotlight to ensure the artist is adequately lit (head to toe) during their performance. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Stage lighting

Lighting technicians and designers prefer to use specifically manufactured lights to “spotlight” or “wash” areas, objects or people on the stage. Usually, profile spotlights are used to light a presenter behind a lectern or spot a banner hanging on a wall. These can be focused down to a very sharp edge if necessary. Fresnels (pronounced frennels) are used to wash an area of the stage. Some presenters prefer to walk the stage from side to side, engaging with their audience, rather than be stuck behind a lectern so in this instance, wash lighting of the whole stage area is a necessity.

Prop and theme lighting

Using the right lights to highlight props or styling elements within the room is imperative to ensuring the guests feel that wow factor throughout the evening. Coloured LED parcans are in most cases a suitable light to use in this instance. A quad colour will usually give the lighting designer enough colour mixing scope to light the item effectively and help bring the theme to life in the process.

Projected lighting

Projecting your company or an event sponsor’s logo through a light and onto a surface is a great way of providing that company or sponsor with additional exposure throughout the event. It’s an alternative to simply projecting their logo up on the screens via PowerPoint from a laptop to an LCD projector. When projecting these images through a light, we have the company logo turned into what we call a “gobo”. This is then installed into the lighting fixture and projected onto the surface or function space desired.

Pinspot lighting

Table pinspot lighting is a fantastic and impactful way of transforming your function space using lighting. Many premium venues around Australia will have intelligent pinspot lights installed in their Ballrooms which are then used to pinspot the guests tables within the rooms. The lighting operator will focus and program all pinspots prior the show time, giving them the ability to alter the table colours throughout the evening. This feature really does provide a huge wow factor for the guests in the room.

Lighting techniques

There are numerous techniques available to lighting designers for them to achieve a desired look. From up lighting and down lighting to spot lighting and back lighting. The technique used does make a difference to how the guests in the room see things so the designer will take this into consideration when first designing the show.

Lighting design makes all the difference at an event and there are endless possibilities to give your guests a unique experience. With such a wide range of lighting options and emerging technologies, there are always amazing new designs and sequences to wow guests.

Speak to your AV partner to discuss how to leverage lighting for an impactful event.

Does event styling make a difference? Good styling can.

Event styling begins with your message. You’ll achieve the wow factor when the audiovisual elements, the centrepieces, props, furniture and the lighting all work seamlessly to engage your attendees with that message.

On any budget, event styling can set the scene, add drama and turn spectators into ambassadors for your idea, brand or identity.

But that sort of engagement is a tall order when dealing with a busy and somewhat distracted audience who may also suffer from a bit of event-fatigue.

How can you be sure that your event will have the desired impact?

Begin with the idea

Whether it’s a wedding or conference, there is always an exciting reason to gather people together. Remember that the event styling is not the star. The styling is part of the medium conveying the message.

Go beyond words

Think about the power of light, sound, tactile sensation and social connection to support your message.

Keep it fresh

An approach that combines digital styling involving projection, digital backdrops, banners and sets, with traditional styling elements, such as centrepieces, coloured linen or furniture, can drive the message home in new ways.

The event message, delivered in new, visceral ways through digital and traditional styling, will motivate and engage your audience – and set your event apart from the rest.

Talk to us today to get styling ideas for your next event!

There is enough to keep you busy when organising an event. Understanding aspect ratios can help clarify some of your AV decisions and tick them off your seemingly never-ending ‘to do’ list.

So, what is aspect ratio? Simply put, it is the proportion of width to height of an image, presentation or screen.

Since the 1940s, the 4:3 aspect ratio has traditionally been used in television. For every four inches of width of an image, there are three inches of height.

The 16:9 aspect ratio evolved from the film industry as a way to make movies bigger and better and provide a point of difference for viewers from what they could view at home on their television. Transitioning into 16:9, provided filmmakers with more space around the subject and greater flexibility to compose better images.

Both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios are commonly used today. We typically recommend 16:9 to leverage modern screens.

Most modern-day HDTV screens, otherwise known as ‘widescreen TVs’, are designed for 16:9 images. Only older TVs are built to accommodate the 4:3 aspect ratio. 4:3 images or presentations viewed on 16:9 screens will have black bars down the right and left hand sides of the screen.

For any event, it’s important to maximise the visual impact of presentations or images on-screen. Talk to your AV professional for advice on which option will best suit your event.

This article originally appeared at Business Events News.

The last few years have seen many marketers take events, conferences and seminars off the marketing plan and instead focus more of their resources on digital according to Ryan Taylor, Partner at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, AVPartners.

The main reason for this is cost. Events are seen as more costly than seemly inexpensive, and sometimes free, digital channels. However, digital activities cannot replace the powerful human element that events can deliver.

In fact, it shouldn’t be one or the other. Marketers should be using a combination of both offline and online marketing tactics to achieve cut through.

While digital marketing can reach tech savvy audiences with bite size information to elicit an action, it requires a large effort and volume of content to get a response; hence the conversion rate can be quite low. But with events, you hold an audience’s attention much more effectively and are able to use the human element combined with great AV and staging techniques to create a lasting positive impression that results in a much higher conversion rate.

Before marketers make the decision to strike events off the marketing plan, they should consider that events have the ability to:

Directly and physically influence an audience

In an increasingly digital world where many interactions occur online, events provide a human and physical element which can be powerful and influential, leading to higher conversion rates and hence an increased ROI

Share content in a truly immersive and engaging manner

With increasing focus on the impact of effective content on customer behaviour, events remain one of the best ways to deliver content in a way that is immersive, erasing ambiguity and creating engagement because of person-to-person interaction.

Convert customers while they are in a state of interest and excitement

In a world where marketers are fighting to gain attention from increasingly distracted audiences, events provide the opportunity to focus the attention on a single proposition, person or idea. They can also create excitement and leave audiences in a state of anticipation, the perfect opportunity where you are more likely to be effective in achieving sales conversions.

Create a meaningful and memorable experience for your customers that correlates to a positive brand experience

The importance of positive branding and consumer sentiment cannot be underestimated. Events can allow you to leave a positive imprint on your audience by creating an in-the-flesh, in-the-moment wow factor that has a lasting effect and can stimulate positive word of mouth.

Engage your audience to become your marketers to amplify your message beyond your event via social media

The combination of physical and digital can be powerful. People attending and posting to social media about an event can quickly amplify to become trending topics. Savvy event organisers that use social media hashtags, handles and pages can take the brand beyond the physical event.

This article originally appeared at B&T.