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The cost of attending events: Considering the impact on your attendees.

Image of a piggybank with stethoscope

We’re in an ever-changing, post-covid world, where the cost of living is now the highest it’s been in over 70 years, and it’s becoming increasingly harder to make a monthly salary last. At least 63% of adults in 2023 are reportedly spending less on non-essentials, so how can we reduce the impact this has on our events and their attendees?

As event planners, it’s now more important than ever to think about the personal costs involved for our attendees, those that may not be covered by the initial event budget or those where repayment varies with company expense policies. Incorporating the below into our standard consciousness can ensure we aren’t losing event attendees through being financially insensitive, particularly when we consider that after inflation, the average wage has fallen by 2.4%, and this can affect people in very different ways.

It's common when planning an event that we think about covering the costs of big-ticket items such as rail fare, air fare, accommodation, and food costs. However, there are far more costs involved for an individual that should be considered, things like:

  • Additional or out of hours childcare.

  • Fuel to and from a venue or station.

  • Parking charges.

  • Dress code requirements.

  • Food and drink costs on travel days.

When we look at an event as a whole, it can be hard to get an understanding of the per-delegate costs to include personal situations, and we may end up generalising that everyone is in the same financial situation. By doing this, not only can it affect our attendees’ decisions to attend an event, but it could also impact mental health and wellbeing, potentially leaving people feeling isolated and excluded if they miss the opportunity to be part of the team. or leaving them impacted financially by attending the event.

Often, event attendance can be tied to career performance, and so this pressure to perform against a burden of unaccounted-for expenses on a business trip may cause anxiety for individuals and their families.

So, what can we do to create financially inclusive events?

Plan worthwhile events

Firstly, consider the value of the event and how to maximise this. If a cost is involved, ensure it’s a worthwhile investment for the attendee.

Find the right scale and location

Consider the length and location of your event against your target audience. Are smaller, local, roadshow events a more inclusive option?

Engage with your attendees

Think about those you plan to invite and questions you could include at registration that would make all groups feel included. Questions such as ‘will you need to arrange care of a dependent to attend this event’ can be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Offer support

Consider how to offer support with the budget you have. We work with local Convention Bureaus who often provide travel subsidence or special deals for event attendees in their city.

Encourage and embrace feedback

Offer a safe space and open conversation for those who may need additional support. A simple message reading ‘contact your line manager if you have any concerns around attending this event’, could put someone at ease to speak-up.

Account for payday

Think about when your events are held in relation to payday. Holding your event just before payday could add financial pressure to delegates.

Give plenty of notice

Providing your attendees with enough notice of the event will allow them to consider and plan for personal cost implications.

Consider your expense process

Think about how long people may have to wait for reimbursements. Can you utilise pre-paid cards or work with a finance team to expedite repayments?

Utilise event management and travel agencies

With years of industry knowledge, experience, and wonderful industry relationships, we help to keep costs as low as possible for all.

We want the events we run to bring your teams together and be inclusive, rather than create stressful situations. By being increasingly economically consciousness, and continually developing how we plan inclusive events, we can make sure attendees can continue to afford participation and maintain the desire to connect, no matter what the world throws at us next.

Planning your next event and need some expert insights on how to make it a huge success? You’ve come to the right place. Let us know what you’re trying to achieve, and we’d love to work with you.


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