Boost Event Revenue with Products and Merchandise

Event products and merchandise are a symbol of shared experiences with the power to increase revenue and brand exposure. 

This upselling tool takes the form of t-shirts, tote bags, souvenirs, or event programs and is often used at events to commemorate experiences and foster community engagement. 

It’s a strategic and multifaceted approach that has benefits far beyond the event itself. So, how can event organizers make the most of their product and merchandise sales? And how can they  leverage Ticketbud’s products and merchandising tools to facilitate sales? Find out more below.

Drive Revenue and Boost Brand Exposure

Beyond the primary goals of the event, merchandise sales contribute to the overall financial and marketing success of an event. 

Attendees often view event merchandise as a lasting memento. This emotional connection enhances the perceived value of the merchandise, influencing sales and brand loyalty. Additional revenue generated from merchandise sales also increases overall event profits and can be reinvested in future events. This creates a sustainable cycle of engagement, financial growth, and brand promotion.

Additionally, products and merchandise are an invaluable marketing tool. One study by the Advertising Specialty Institute showed that promotional merchandise increases brand recall by 80%. Attendees who proudly wear or display event-branded merchandise become walking ambassadors, exposing the brand to a broader demographic outside of the event.

Hosting Pre-Sales on Event Merch with Ticketbud

Merchandise can also help with event promotion. For example, event organizers may excite audiences through promotional rollouts that unveil branded merch designs. They may also offer discounts on products if purchased before the event to influence sales and limit lines during the event. 

Ticketbud offers great tools to help with such efforts. With our Products/Merchandise tools, event organizers can add merchandise and products directly to their event website for attendees to purchase after selecting their tickets. 

The products will appear on the ticket confirmation page before attendees finalize their purchase. Each item can be offered as a unique inventory item with various sizes, colors, or styles.

The availability of specific products and merchandise can also be restricted to specific ticket purchasers. This feature allows event organizers to put together ticketing packages that include merchandise, such as VIP packages with exclusive memorabilia, while allowing other ticket buyers to opt into tangible add-ons. 

Attendees who purchased products or merchandise along with their tickets can redeem their purchase at the event through scannable vouchers. Event organizers also have the option to print off a list of products or to search by email in the Redeem Products section of the event dashboard. 

To start selling event products or merchandise on your event registration website, visit ticketbud.com. 

How to Increase Event Merchandise and Product Sales

To get the most buy-in on event merchandise sales, these products cannot be an afterthought. Instead, merchandise and products should tie directly to the overall event branding and promotional strategy and keep the target audience at the top of mind. 

For successful event merchandise and product sales, consider the following tips:

  1. Create a consistent theme for your designs
  2. Select products that are trendy and appeal to your audience
  3. Invest in quality products
  4. Include merchandise promotional campaigns for your event
  5. Use pre-sales to boost product sales ahead of the event

A Guide To Hosting an Unofficial SXSW Event

The South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is an integral part of Austin’s identity as a global center for innovation and creativity. The annual event attracts thousands of attendees from around the world, generating revenue, supporting job creation, and providing opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs to showcase their products or services.

This year’s festival will take place March 8-16, 2024 and feature hundreds of discussions, film screenings, music showcases, exhibitions, and networking opportunities.

Applications to participate in the official event close months ahead of festival dates, but there is still an opportunity for businesses to leverage the festival’s attraction in an unofficial capacity. 

What is an unofficial SXSW event?

Unofficial SXSW events and showcases are those that run concurrently with the festival dates and are hosted in or around downtown Austin. These events are not associated with or promoted under the SXSW banner but can attract a broader audience outside of SXSW attendees.

Much like SXSW events, unofficial SXSW events serve as a catalyst for inspiration, innovation, and collaboration. These events take advantage of an active audience of creatives, innovators, industry leaders, and enthusiasts, but also open their doors to other members of the public looking to immerse themselves in the excitement without buying a SXSW badge. 

How to plan an unofficial SXSW event

Hundreds of communities, businesses, and individuals participate in SXSW in an unofficial capacity. But planning an unofficial SXSW showcase has to start early in order to secure spaces and vendors before they’re booked by other SXSW-related commitments. Here are some quick tips to get started:

Set up registration or ticketing for unofficial SXSW events

Unofficial SXSW events can be free or charge a fee. Evaluating your event experience against similar events will help you determine the best way to go about registration. But, no matter what you decide, you’ll need an event ticketing platform that will help keep your event and attendee list organized. Ticketbud provides such a resource. Within minutes, event organizers can create a Ticketbud account, customize an event webpage, and open registration for their events. Visit ticketbud.com to get started.

Every Ticketbud user has access to a full suite of ticketing tools, including the ability to create multiple ticket types (think: timed-access ticketing, VIP experiences, member vs. non member pricing, etc), create discounts and promotions, showcase sponsors, customize ticketing pages and layouts, invite and communicate with attendees, report on sales and promotions, and more.

And, the best part? Free events are always free with Ticketbud. A small fee is assigned to tickets at checkout for paid events. And nonprofits hosting unofficial SXSW events can qualify for non-profit pricing for their paid events. Ticketbud also offers daily, weekly, and monthly payout options for event organizers looking to access revenue funds ahead of their event. 

Promote your unofficial SXSW event on community calendars

The main challenge of promoting an unofficial SXSW event is fighting through the noise. Unofficial SXSW events are competing against the most iconic festival in Austin in addition to hundreds of other happenings around town. 

Because of this, marketing an unofficial SXSW showcase must be intentional and robust. Event organizers should engage their current, active audiences through email, web, and social media marketing. Social media, especially, can be a powerful tool for target-marketing new audiences whose interests align. To be successful, choose the appropriate channels and consider paid promotions.

Additionally, community calendars and SXSW RSVP lists are go-to resources for non-badge holders looking to be a part of the action. To ensure an event appears in their search, event organizers should consider submitting their unofficial SXSW events to the following sources:

Sites like RSVPATX allow event-goers to search and sign up for hundreds of unofficial SXSW events at once. Getting listed in the directory is easy. Visit the site and click on “submit an unofficial SXSW showcase.”

Final considerations to hosting an unofficial SXSW event

Hosting an unofficial event during SXSW can offer significant advantages to a business or organization. Firstly, it provides a unique opportunity to tap into a large, diverse audience of SXSW attendees, as well as a more general public. 

These events can also serve as powerful marketing tools, allowing businesses to showcase their products, services, or brand in front of a highly engaged and relevant audience. It’s a chance to create meaningful connections, increase brand visibility, and foster relationships with potential customers, partners, or influencers within an environment known for innovation and creativity. 

Moreover, hosting an unofficial event allows for creative freedom, enabling businesses to tailor the event to their specific objectives, whether it’s to launch a product, conduct market research, or build a community around their brand.

Three Trends Shaping 2024 Events

A trifecta of event trends in 2024 shows promise in creating innovative, immersive, and inclusive events that drive engagement and align with evolving societal values. 

Below, we share more about the top three event trends of 2024, guaranteed to leave lasting impressions and showcase technological adaptability and eco-consciousness in a rapidly changing world.

Event Trend #1: Embracing New Technology

2023 saw widespread adoption of AI as a way of streamlining duties for event organizers and creating engaging event experiences. But embracing advanced event technologies isn’t just a passing fad – it is crucial in revolutionizing the event landscape. 

“As AI leaps forwards, it has the potential to transform the meetings and events sector through its capacity to instantly crunch data,” states Accor’s Meeting Expectations: The Future of Meetings & Events report. “ If used wisely, AI undeniably holds great value to offer all sorts of possibilities for next-gen meetings and event planners.”

In 2024, advanced technology will continue to drive event planning and production efficiency through automation and scalable platforms that allow organizers to create and manage multiple events simultaneously. As event organizers look to modernize processes, demand is likely to increase for platforms, such as Ticketbud, that allow organizers to manage multiple events and offer flexible registration, ticketing, and check-in tools. 

Sources also predict that mobile event apps will become more prevalent and wearables may also emerge. According to Bizzabo, 67.5% of attendees consider mobile event apps to be vital, and 62.9% expect in-person conferences utilize modern technology. These advanced technologies work to improve attendee experiences and provide real-time data that help inform event planner decisions.  

Event Technology

Event Trent #2: Sustainability

Much like technology, a focus on sustainability within events is here to stay. This is due in part to the evolving make-up of attendees. Millennials and Gen Z account for 42% of the population, bringing on new preferences, perspectives, and ethos. 

To appeal to these generations, events must be environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.

“People’s values are changing and they will look to engage in a way which aligns with these new values. Brands can’t afford to not prioritize sustainable approaches and will need to ensure that their people on the ground deliver against this ambition,” says Carina Filek, COO at Elevate Global, in an article appearing in Conference News

According to a study published in Nature Communications, the global events industry accounts for more than 10% of annual global greenhouse emissions. And a recent trends report by Marriott shows that more than half of travelers are looking to reduce travel with high carbon emissions. 

With these findings, it is imperative that brands seeking to engage non-local audiences do so virtually in order to reduce travel and the amount of energy consumed and waste produced by their events. 

These efforts may also help companies demonstrate their economic and social sustainability. In-person events require a significant amount of time, energy, and finances that account for 58% of B2B marketing budgets. Therefore, organizations can broaden their reach and accessibility to wider audiences by integrating a mix of in-person, hybrid, and virtual events throughout the year. 

If doing so, companies should share how these decisions are making an impact and educate audiences on sustainability initiatives in order to motivate participation. For more ideas on how to incorporate sustainability practices into events, read “Nine Ways to Go Green at Your Next Event” in the Ticketbud blog. 

Event Trend #3: Individualized Event Experiences

Hybrid event models and digital-first approaches also offer tailored event journeys, empowering attendees to create their own, individualized experiences. 

“Experience design is human-to-human now; and that’s how we’re approaching events in 2024,” says Georgia Cross, senior marketing manager at Cheerful Twentyfirst, in an article appearing in Conference News. “Rather than building an experience for 500 attendees, we’re thinking about 500 individual audience experiences and, crucially, how those individuals are engaging with the brand as much as with each other.”

According to research published in SpotMe, 70% of millennials value experiences over material things. To cater to these values, event organizers should make diverse, human-centric experiences available a-la-carte, allowing attendees to craft their own event. This build-your-own event design could take many forms, including optional roundtables, dinners or happy hours, breakout sessions, topical tracks, VIP experiences, and more. 

Event engagement and experiences

Here, event organizers can leverage technology to heighten engagement. For example, mobile apps or websites give attendees the tools and information needed to build their own schedule, and on-site activations, immersive experiences and leaderboards may encourage participation. 

Personalizing event experiences taps into the psychological principle known as the IKEA effect. The idea suggests that much like people feel a sense of pride and ownership in having furniture they put together themselves, they may also feel a stronger sense of investment to an event they played a role in shaping. 

Giving attendees this type of satisfaction begins at registration, where event organizers can solicit ideas by asking attendees to submit questions or suggest discussion topics when making ticket purchases. The IKEA effect is also powerful tool in gaining feedback after an event when asking attendees to share photos, memories, quotes or suggestions for the next event. 

Conclusion

Modern events must intertwine technology, sustainability, and personalized experiences for a transformative impact. 

Integrating cutting-edge technology fosters interactive engagement. Prioritizing sustainability reduces environmental footprints and appeals to the next-gen of event goers. And, crafting personalized experiences tailors content and experiences, resonating deeply with emerging attendee needs and diverse preferences.

Hybrid Events: One Event, Two Experiences

The events industry has gone through significant changes over the past few years, with the pandemic forcing us to find new ways to gather and connect. While virtual events demonstrated the power of technology in bringing dispersed people together, they also proved the unmatched value of in-person interactions.

Luckily, hybrid events marry the best of both worlds, providing an inclusive and sustainable event that is rich in data and dynamic for organizers and participants alike. These events also pose a unique advantage to event organizers looking to increase ticket sales, by being able to expand their events reach to a larger, global audience.

However, running hybrid events requires crafting two distinct, yet synchronized, event experiences under the guise of one cohesive event. 

Characteristics of Hybrid Events

Hybrid events have been around for decades – think, televised sports, award shows, political events, or concerts. But more recently, the format has expanded to include seminars, trade shows, career fairs, conferences, and more. 

Hybrid events combine aspects of traditional physical events with virtual components to create a coordinated and inclusive experience for on-site and online audiences. The in-person portion of the event includes a physical venue where people gather for workshops, presentations, networking activities, etc. And, the virtual aspect of the event includes streaming platforms, event apps, or software that allow for participation from anywhere in the world. 

While hybrid events offers two distinct experiences, they should look and feel like one event granting every attendee a valuable experience. Achieving this requires proper integration of technology, synchronized agendas, and engaging content.

Hybrid events

Benefits of Hybrid Events

There are many benefits to hosting a hybrid event. First, hybrid events eliminate barriers to entry by allowing attendees to participate either physically or virtually. This flexibility helps overcome geographical, financial, and logistical challenges of attending an event. It expands the event’s reach to new audiences and presenters and can bring in extra ticket revenue.

Hybrid events also help event organizers meet sustainability goals. By offering virtual options, organizers can limit food waste and travel, reducing the event’s carbon footprint while serving larger audiences.

Additionally, these events give event organizers access to a wealth of data. Due to the gamification components required to engage both audiences, organizers can capture important analytics from click details, logins, watch times, poll responses, and more. This data becomes extremely valuable in demonstrating the event’s return on investment to stakeholders. 

In this way, hybrid events also unlock new sponsorship opportunities. Features like virtual booths, clickable banners, or online sessions enable sponsors to collect valuable attendee and engagement data to demonstrate ROI on funding. Event organizers may also use data gleaned from activities to justify charging more for future sponsorship packages. 

A final value added through hybrid events is their ability to extend beyond the event. Content such as recorded sessions, downloadable resources, or interactive platforms can all be made accessible after the event. Event organizers may even choose to repurpose some content for use in other marketing and communications initiatives. 

Planning Content for Hybrid Events

A key challenge in organizing a successful hybrid event lies in crafting compelling and inclusive content that resonates with all participants. This can be a time-consuming process. 

Hybrid events require diverse content formats that cater to different learning and engagement preferences. Event organizers should consider incorporating a mix of lectures, panels, interactive workshops, pre-recorded content, Q&A sessions, polls, and networking opportunities across physical and virtual platforms. 

Proper planning and use of technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing seamless, synchronized interactions between in-person and remote audiences. Utilizing interactive technologies that allow for live feedback and correspondence is a must. And, speakers and presenters should be prepared to engage audiences effectively across platforms. 

Beyond content planning, human connection is cornerstone to any successful event. In-person, this comes naturally due to the proximity attendees have to one another. But virtually, it must be made more intentional. Thus, planners should integrate virtual networking sessions and discussion forums for online attendees to forge connections. 

Expanding a live event online - hybrid events

Best Practices for Hybrid Event Management

With proper planning and thoughtful execution, event organizers can create a seamless, interactive, and inclusive hybrid event experience. To summarize, some best practices include: 

  1. Consider the costs and requirements needed for two venues – one physical, one virtual.
  2. Be aware of time zone differences between in-person and online participants. 
  3. Make clear the features of online versus in-person event experiences within event marketing and communications. This way, attendees can evaluate which experience is right for them. 
  4. Choose appropriate technology solutions. Select virtual event software that allows for live streaming, interactive discussions, online exhibitions, and breakout sessions or networking. Be sure to hire and train staff to offer technical support throughout the event. 
  5. Prepare for technical issues. Test technology prior to the event, and set up contingency plans in case something goes wrong during the event. 
  6. Create engagement opportunities for both audiences through live polls, Q&As, breakout sessions. And, keep track of participation data. 
  7. Provide access to recorded sessions, presentation materials, and resources to attendees after the event. Then, repurpose content in other marketing and communication initiatives.

Money Talks: Defining an Event Budget

Imagine purchasing tickets to a highly-anticipated event promising exclusive talks with podcast celebrities and a panel with the actors from Supernatural and Harry Potter. Now, imagine showing up to the event, hearing that most speakers backed out after not getting paid, and then being asked to help cover the costs of the event’s outstanding hotel bill of $17,000. 

It sounds like a nightmare, but that was the reality for DashCon 2014, an event where attendees paid witness to one of the most important lessons in event planning – don’t bust the budget. 

This lesson has become increasingly difficult as things get more expensive. According to a recent Maritz Industry Trends Report, most meeting expenses are up over 20 percent since before the pandemic. But, most budgets haven’t budged. Instead, event planners are living within the constraints and are more reliant on proper planning and financial forecasting to ensure the success of their events.

Why event budgets are important

A budget serves as a financial blueprint for a successful event, aligning expenses with desired outcomes and ensuring financial viability.

A clearly defined budget provides a framework for decision-making, enabling event organizers to strategically allocate resources. By delineating expenses across various categories such as venue, marketing, and entertainment, budgets help prioritize spending for maximum impact. This foresight prevents overspending and optimizes funds in areas that help organizers reach their goals.

Event budgets also act as a risk management tool. By estimating costs and revenue streams beforehand, budgets help identify possible financial gaps. This enables organizers to devise backup plans, forge partnerships, and negotiate favorable deals with vendors to ensure that the event stays on track throughout planning and execution.

The basics of event budgeting

Crafting an event budget demands meticulous planning, attention to detail, and adaptability. To create a robust budget that meets financial constraints and aligns with the event’s goals, start with the basics:

When event organizers have a solid understanding of the basics, they’ll know if it is possible for the event to happen or not. 

Event budgeting

Nine steps to crafting a comprehensive event budget

1. Start Early

Organizing a financial game plan early on puts power in the hands of the event organizer and alleviates stress throughout planning. An early start means more time to shop around for bargains, establish partnerships and negotiate with vendors. Whereas, starting too late can mean less options and premium rates.

2. Create a Spreadsheet

Event organizers must stay organized. Creating a spreadsheet or utilizing relevant event software will help categorize and itemize costs, estimate expenses and revenue, and track spending.

Tools like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel offer budgeting templates with formulas that make calculating expenses against income easy. When modifying or building a spreadsheet, event organizers should include categories such as:

3. Prioritize Expenses

Some items, such as venue, catering and entertainment are sure to come with a higher price tag. So, it’s important event organizers have a firm grip on what will give them the most bang for their buck, or the biggest return on their investment. This is where understanding event objectives and overarching goals plays a pivotal role.

“We don’t have the luxury of doing anything and everything that we want anymore because of the state of the economy and the state of the industry right now. So you have to be even more strategic about where you put those dollars and what you do with them to make the most impact,” Jitter Garcia, vp-event marketing and brand experiences at TelevisaUnivision, told Event Marketer.

4. Research and Negotiate with Vendors

A request for proposal (RFP) is an important document used to communicate needs and expectations to vendors in order to receive a quote for the services provided. Creating one requires a good understanding of the event’s requirements and goals.

As quotes are collected, event organizers should track them within their budgeting spreadsheet to easily view and compare prices. This provides a general understanding of the competitive cost for services provided and gives organizers negotiating power when following up with top vendor choices. For example, if a preferred vendor comes in at a higher cost but is available for multiple events throughout the year, the organizer may negotiate bulk pricing or long-term contract for a lower rate.

5. Consider How to Cut Costs

Beyond using competitive knowledge and relationships to negotiate with vendors, event organizers should consider other ways to reduce spending. This may include keeping event planning and management in-house – unless it interferes with other organization priorities.

“In-house teams bring a level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness that is hard to match. They can streamline processes, negotiate better with vendors, and leverage existing relationships. Their continuity and familiarity with their brand lead to better planning, execution, and crisis management,” Chaviva Gordon-Bennett writes in an article for Bizzabo.

To further reduce spending, organizers can leverage free social media and email marketing tools, as well as utilize the power of word-of-mouth from partners or loyal audiences. If hosting multiple events, spending can also be limited by digitizing signage or handouts or choosing evergreen banners or swag that excludes dates or specific event information.

6. Identify Sponsors and Partners

Sponsors and partners play a major role in event production. With funding and support from outside organizations, event organizers are able to save money on event production, attract new audiences and realize important or elevated aspects of their event.

However, this requires careful research and conversations. Attracting these types of partnerships requires an understanding of the marketing value of the event, as well as the values in which the organization or event may align with the prospective partner.

7. Charge for Value-Adds

Outside of ticket revenue and sponsorship dollars, event organizers can create many other avenues to generate revenue at their events. Consider:

8. Track Expenses and Revenue

The budget spreadsheet is not just a tool used for initial planning. Instead, event organizers should reference it throughout the planning process, updating actual expenses and incoming revenue as it occurs to ensure their event is on track. Keeping a pulse on the budget allows organizers to make adjustments accordingly. For example, if revenue from ticket sales seems low, an event organizer may choose to run a limited-time promotion to boost sales and generate more buzz.

Did you know? With Ticketbud, event organizers can access ticket funds early to cover early event costs. Learn more at ticketbud.com.

9. Report on Performance

Any person or organization that invested time or money into producing an event will be curious about its overall success. Event organizers can utilize the data tracked in their spreadsheet to produce performance reports related to the event, its budget, and any revenue or marketing value gained.

Demonstrating ROI is of the utmost importance of maintaining stakeholder trust and ensuring an event can be reproduced in the future. 

Keys to effective event budgeting

“To get the best value from long-awaited meetings and events and mitigate against rising costs, corporations will need to plan further in advance, budget carefully, and adopt a disciplined approach to managing meetings and events across the organization,”

– Beau Ballin, global head market development, CWT Meetings & Events, told skift meetings.

Events are only getting more expensive. Dedicating time to formulate a well-thought-out budget in the early stages of the planning will avoid problems from planning through production. 

Collecting Event Feedback: How Free Online Tools Can Help

Event organizers face enormous pressure to gather a crowd and create memorable experiences that foster invaluable connections, all while working toward organizational goals. But their success cannot be measured simply on the execution of the event itself, rather it’s evaluated in the crucial step that follows: collecting feedback.

Why feedback is important

Gathering feedback after an event is not a box-ticking exercise; it’s an crucial exercise that provides insights on audience engagement, identifies future opportunities, and validates the event spend by demonstrating the return on investment (ROI).

“The ultimate value of your events hinges on the data. The data you collect from your events has vast potential to affect your business. It enables you to understand which products customers are engaging with, feeds all of your internal marketing systems, guides future marketing campaigns, and provides benchmarks for future events,” writes Nick Fugaro, CEO of Vivastream, an event data analytics company. 

Feedback offers a window into the attendee experience – what worked well, what fell short, and what attendees truly valued. It acts as a compass guiding event organizers toward enhancing future experiences and demonstrates an organization’s genuine interest in serving its audience better. So it’s an important step to take in your event evaluation process. And luckily, there are free online tools, such as SurveyMonkey, that can help.

Creating an Event Survey with SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey allows event organizers to create custom surveys in order to gather feedback from event attendees. The free version allows you to collect up to 25 responses for each survey. To get started, visit surveymonkey.com and click “Sign up free” and create an account.

how to create a survey monkey account

Once logged in, begin creating your event feedback survey.

How to create an event feedback survey

Already know the types of questions you’d like to ask? Select “start from scratch.” SurveyMonkey allows you to copy and paste questions from a separate file into a dialogue box to help develop a custom survey. Or, you can build your survey directly on the site, one question at a time. For best results, diversify the types of questions and responses to capture valuable insights from your audiences. 

building an event feedback survey

Need help getting started? Check out SurveyMonkey’s templates for helpful blueprints for effective event feedback surveys. Note that some templates may require a paid subscription, which start at $25/month. Once you’ve selected an appropriate template, you can add or customize questions and prompts to suit your event’s needs. 

Want to gather feedback geared toward measuring specific goals? Select the “Build with AI” option. The new feature allows you to write a prompt that will then generate a template specific to your requirements. The tool is completely free and customizable.

Write a prompt for your survey and let AI do the rest

Once you’ve crafted your survey, it’s time to share. After previewing your survey in its entirety, select “Collect responses.”

How to review your event survey responses

The site will provide you with two options in issuing your survey. Because you already have an active audience and mailing list of attendees, select “Send surveys your way” to generate a shareable link to your survey.

Collecting event survey responses

Collecting event feedback from attendees

It’s easiest to collect survey responses when your audience is most engaged. If possible, prepare the survey before the event. That way you can share the link via a QR code in an event program or on digital screens and signage so attendees can scan and access during breaks or downtime at the event.

If you are unable to share the survey link at your event, do so as soon as possible in your event follow-up communications. If using Ticketbud, you can issue your survey through email directly through the event dashboard. Simply click on “Promotion” in the left side toolbar and select “Email Attendees.” Here, you can craft and send an email with the SurveyMonkey link.

How to send out an event survey with Ticketbud

Keep in mind, Ticketbud allows you to schedule emails. So, consider preparing your post-event communications ahead of your event. This will ensure the survey goes out within a timely manner (within 24 hours of your event) and give you time to focus on other post-event duties.

Issuing your feedback survey as soon as possible will help capture data and impressions when the content and experience are fresh in attendees’ minds. But gathering substantial feedback can take time and persistence. So, send a follow up email after a few days if your response rate is low. You might offer incentives, such as discounts on future events or raffle prizes to encourage participation.

Evaluating event feedback

Once all of your data is collected, it’s time to evaluate your success. 

SurveyMonkey has tools to analyze and present the results of your survey in ways that are actionable. View the full summary of your results or individual response; use filters or rules to compare specific segments of data; and create and export charts to share your results in a variety of formats. Each of your stakeholders will bring a different perspective when evaluating event data, so tailor your analysis and results according to those needs.

For more information on how to get the most out of SurveyMonkeys analytical tool, check out this guide

These insights will help you communicate the success and ROI of your event to leadership and stakeholders. They will also serve as a catalyst for enhancing the overall quality of events. By identifying areas of improvement, organizers can fine-tune various facets such as content, logistics, scheduling, networking opportunities, and overall engagement, thereby elevating future event experiences.

Seven Strategies to Plan a Year of Events

As the current year winds down, event organizers are gearing up for the next round of exciting programs and gatherings. And they’re right to do so. The success of an event often hinges on meticulous preparation and foresight. 

Planning your events calendar a year in advance provides the framework for a seamless and successful series of gatherings. It also reinforces marketing and branding initiatives geared toward creating cohesive messaging and consistent experiences for your audiences. 

In this guide, we’ll explore seven strategies to masterfully plan out your event programming for the coming year, ensuring each season is filled with memorable experiences.

1. Take time to reflect

Before diving into event planning, take a moment to reflect on your events from the past year. Highlight your successes and challenges, understand feedback from participants and sponsors, and identify lessons learned.

To get started, read “A Year in Review: Conducting an Annual Evaluation of Your Events.”

2. Define your goals and objectives

Once you’ve understood your past performance, you can set benchmarks for the coming year and align your events with your organization’s strategic goals. It’s important to be specific and clearly articulate your objectives in order to prioritize spending and planning.

Are you aiming for increased attendance, higher engagement, or a more diverse lineup of activities? Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you allocate spending on elements that directly contribute to achieving those objectives.

Estimate the potential return on investment (ROI) for your events by assessing both tangible and intangible benefits. Consider factors such as increased brand visibility, participant satisfaction, and long-term partnerships. These evaluations will help garner support from partners or sponsors on future events. 

3. Start with flagship events

There might be certain events that act as anchors to your annual event programming. These are events that your audiences might come to expect every year, raise the most money for your organization, or foster an important partnership with an outside organization.

To keep these flagship events at the forefront, plan ahead to book venues and secure highly sought out entertainers, speakers or vendors. Remember, logistics take time. The earlier you can sign a contract, the better chance you have of nailing down special rates. And the sooner you can share details with your audiences, the easier it is for them to block their calendar. 

Once set, you can work to fill in the time between your major event(s) with other programming that supports your goals and messaging. Consider a tiered system that offers diverse event types and formats – webinars, workshops, meet-ups. Mixing up your offerings caters to different preferences, expands your reach, and positions your organization as a community leader. 

A theatre of people listening to a speaker at a business event

4. Build our your marketing calendar

By mapping out your events for the entire year, you can avoid scheduling conflicts with other industry events, holidays, or peak times and refine your marketing timeline to avoid gaps or channels with low ROI. This ensures better attendance and engagement from your audience and ample time for strategic marketing and promotion. 

You can use this extra time to build anticipation, create targeted campaigns, and engage your audiences across platforms. So, work closely with your marketing teams to build content across web, social and email marketing channels that echoes your event messaging and vice versa.

Seeing how audiences engage with content can inform plans for your next event, giving you plenty of time to refocus and adjust if needed. If helpful, you might consider creating themes for different months or quarters. Themes add coherence to your programming and can help in marketing and branding. 

5. Identify potential partners

Establishing your event messaging and goals well in advance will help you prospect potential sponsorships or partnerships whose values align. These relationships go a long way in reducing costs and enhancing the overall event experience.

Refer to your past year’s event analysis. If an organization helped you out in the past, they may be willing to do so again and at a higher-level. Reach out early to gauge their interest and build their trust by engaging them in the planning process. Input from these key players may influence event themes, speaker selection, and overall event strategy. It can also open new opportunities for resources and cross-promotion.

6. Understand your budget

Planning ahead allows you to allocate resources more effectively. This includes budgeting, staffing, and logistics planning. As mentioned above, early planning can help you negotiate better deals, secure preferred venues, optimize marketing efforts and lock-in sponsor funding. The more you understand about each of these components, the easier it is to lay out a budget for your full year of event programming.  

Start with budgeting for your flagship events. Because these happenings are staples to your overall event strategy, more time and resources should be committed to ensuring they are produced successfully. So, ceate a comprehensive view of how much you will need for the venue, marketing, entertainment, catering, equipment rentals, staff, etc. 

Once you’ve budgeted for your most important events, revisit your tiered event programming structure and develop a budget for each event. These smaller events should require less money and resources. But if your marketing and events budget is thinning out, you might have to evaluate which ones are worth keeping or identify where you might be able to cut costs.

7. Create contingency plans

While planning your events calendar a full year in advance provides numerous advantages, its essential to remain adaptable as circumstances change. Flexibility is key to successfully navigating the dynamic nature of the events industry. 

Luckily, getting a head start on event planning allows time for a more thorough risk assessment and to develop and budget for contingency plans. You’ll be able to more easily pivot and adjust based on feedback from prior event attendees or changing circumstances without compromising your overall event schedule or strategy.

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Planning out your event calendar a year in advance is a strategic endeavor that requires careful consideration, collaboration, and adaptability. By defining goals, analyzing past performance, and aligning with broader strategies, event organizers can create a well-rounded and dynamic calendar that caters to diverse audiences and ensures a successful year of memorable experiences. The key to success lies in the details, and a well-executed plan is the foundation for extraordinary events.

Planning a Last-minute New Year’s Party

As the countdown to the New Year begins, the pressure to plan a memorable celebration can be daunting, especially if you’re doing it last minute. But with some quick thinking, resourcefulness, and creativity, hosting a knock-out New Year’s party on short notice is absolutely possible.

The good news is, event planners have noted a rising trend of last-minute ticket buying, meaning many people will likely wait until after Christmas to lock-in their New Year’s Eve plans. But to ensure your event is on their radar, now is the time to make quick decisions on venues and vendors and start spreading the word about your event. 

Create an event registration page in less than 10 minutes

Visit ticketbud.com and click “Create an Event” then follow the prompts to sign-in or create a free account.

Complete the event details form and click “Continue to edit event page” at the bottom of the screen.

The information from the form will be transferred to the event page editor. You’ll still need to add a banner image, event description and ensure all time and location details are correct. 

Click here to access banner design templates on Canva. 

Before you can activate your event, you’ll need to create ticket types and configure a payment method if you plan on selling tickets. You can complete both of these steps using the event dashboard on the left. Select “Tickets” to customize and manage ticket types. Select “Event Settings” to link a payment processor. If your event is free, you don’t need to configure a payment method.

Once you’ve completed all these steps, your New Year’s event is ready to go live. If it’s your first time using Ticketbud, you can also click on your Account Dashboard (the Ticketbud logo or your own logo/Initials are shortcuts to this). Consider updating your Account Profile Page with website and social media information.

When everything looks good, it’s time to start spreading the news. 

Get the word out quickly

Time is of the essence, so utilize digital invites via social media, email, or messaging apps. You can use the “Promotion” option in the event dashboard to send invitations. Or, you can cast a wider net by sharing the link to the event page directly on your website, social media pages or other communications channels. 

Be sure your event messaging and branding aligns across all channels. This will make people more likely to see and recognize your event. Which in turn, may secure their registration. 

Don’t forget to have a little fun with your promotional campaigns. The New Year is a great time to look towards new goals as well as to look back at the year’s highlights. So, engage your audience with posts or giveaways inspired by their future plans or favorite memories. 

Focus on the Experience

People want to bring in the New Year with friends and family. So exert your energy into designing an inviting atmosphere that people want to invite their loved ones to, fostering an environment for enjoyable conversations and shared memories. 

Need some fun ideas? Try:

Cheers to seizing the moment and creating unforgettable memories!

A Year in Review: Conducting an Annual Evaluation of Your Events

The end of the year is a natural time to reflect on achievements and failures as you prepare to adapt and refine in the year ahead. Evaluating your year of event programming in order to prepare for the next one is no different.

Event evaluation is an ongoing process throughout the year. But understanding the value of your event programming more broadly, and how it advances or hinders your organization’s overall strategy and values, requires a holistic review. 

To conduct your annual event programming evaluation, begin with the following steps:

Step 1: Create a Snapshot of the Year

Start by establishing an overview of the entire year of events, include:

If necessary, include a breakdown of stats by event types or category, such as small recurring events, large seasonal events, virtual, in-person, etc. Make note of any outliers, such as those with the highest attendance or those that garnered the least amount of revenue. 

As you create the snapshot, be sure to include highlights from events that brought about notable engagement or resulted in press coverage. If putting together a formal presentation, include photos that capture important moments from events to bring the year in review to life. 

Step 2: Revisit Initial Goals KPIs

As mentioned above, Q4 should not be the first or only time you’ve planned or conducted an analysis of your events. Instead, now is the time to take a look at your event data as a whole and see how it compares to KPIs (key performance indicators) and goals set for your marketing or programming at the beginning of the year. 

If using Ticketbud as your event ticketing platform, use the reporting tool to generate sales or scan (attendance) reports for each event. You can then compare the amount of ticket sales to your total expenses to determine your event profits. Don’t forget to include any money made from sponsorships and any costs associated with staff or volunteer training. You can also compare a report on ticket sales versus check-ins to determine attendance at each event. 

Beyond monetary and attendance success, it’s important to evaluate how your events progressed your core strategy and values. For example, if your goal was to engage new demographics, were those audiences present at your events? If you had sustainability initiatives, did your event help move the needle forward? 

As you evaluate, consider the reasons behind your successes and failures and whether some events may need to be reproduced, rethought or simply left as a memory. 

Step 3: Look at Social Media Engagement

Most social media sites provide the tools and analytics you need to gauge the success of posts and campaigns related to your event, offering data on likes, comments, shares, clicks, etc. To understand how events may have impacted your overall social media growth and strategy, review any tags, mentions, or increases in followers. 

Special event hashtags can help capture engagement from user generated content. If you did not do so this year, make sure future event marketing campaigns include a specific hashtag for the event or encourage others to tag your organization when posting about the event.

Understanding social media engagement will provide insight into how to reach and interact with your audiences more effectively for future events. It might also offer another avenue to gather feedback and stakeholder impressions of your event. 

Step 4: Review Feedback and Testimonials

It’s best to gather feedback when the event is fresh in people’s minds. So if you did not do so this year, be sure to develop a plan to collect responses from attendees, vendors, partners and staff through surveys during or shortly after each event. 

Then, review this data in its entirety at the end of the year to determine any consistent wins or pain points. Monitoring feedback from each event can demonstrate how you improved from event-to-event and established best practices. All of this is important information to take with you into the next year of events. 

If any feedback is particularly positive, consider using it as a marketing tool for future events. Whether it’s a strong quote or a consistently high rating across attendees and event dates, this data will demonstrate to audiences that an event is worth their time. 

reviewing testimonials and feedback

Step 5: Evaluate Partners and Vendors

In addition to digesting the feedback of your stakeholders, it’s important to assess the value of each relationship. Perhaps certain events could not have been done without the financial support of sponsors or contributions of partners. So, consider why they chose to contribute, what they got out of it, and how you can ensure they’ll help in the future. 

It’s also good to maintain a directory of vendors you have worked with – both good and bad – and make note of any info that might make it easier to work with them moving forward (for example: responds best to email, needs attendee numbers 1 week ahead of event, requires payment upfront, etc). This living document will make it easier to plan and delegate vendor communications for future events. 

It’s also important to note if working with outside organizations allowed you to tap into new audiences. So, ask your partners for any details and analytics related to any social media posts, newsletters or emails they produced related to your event.

Step 6: Debrief with Your Event Teams

Report your findings with your events committee or decision-making teams. Together, you can discuss the return on investment (ROI) of your events, or whether the events you hosted were worth the time and resources that went into producing them. Are there any areas of fat you could trim to make the planning processes more cost and time efficient? Are there any best practices you could replicate to ensure no event eats into your ROI?

Wisdom is gained in experience, and failures can help guide future planning efforts. So, outline the lessons you’ve learned along the way, and use your knowledge to refine your approach. 

Step 7: Set Future Goals

Your reflections should inform your aspirations as you set new goals and establish KPIs for next year’s event calendar. Make sure these goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART):

Make annual reviews of your events and annual programming a regular practice. Consistently reviewing your goals and progress leads to continuous improvement in the planning and execution of your events. 

A December to Remember: How to Plan a Holiday Party that’s Worth People’s Time

The holidays are the perfect opportunity to tie your organization to a special celebration or tradition, but there’s a lot of competition in getting your audiences to commit their time, money and energy to your event. 

The end of the year brings on a frenzy of work parties, friend and family get-togethers, school events, holiday shopping and more. Creating an event that breaks through all the noise takes careful planning and execution, with great consideration about your audiences’ time, preferences and needs. 

Get Started

The sooner you can get on people’s calendars, the better. So, determine a date, budget and timeline for the event and planning process, and quickly.

Venues book up fast this time of year, with just a handful of Fridays and Saturdays to work with before the new year. You may need to consider other days or times that might work for your particular event and audience. And, remember to prepare for any weather or other unforeseen circumstances that might affect your plans. 

Once you’ve locked in the basics, it’s important to conduct some market research to understand the types of events you will be competing against:

When you understand what your event is up against, you can tailor your event by offering a unique differentiator to your audience, such as a theme, special activity or exclusive sale. This will be key in persuading your audience to register for your holiday event and should be emphasized in any marketing or promotions. 

Photo by Santacon, Flickr.

Holiday Event Themes and Activities

A themed event provides an anchor for planning your event and point of difference. So work with a team to brainstorm some holiday centric themes or entertainment you might offer as a way to entice your audiences and bring energy to your event.

Be mindful of how any activities or themes could impact who you may or may not attract to your event. If you’re hosting an event for a very general audience, your event may be more successful if you stray away from religious traditions. However, incorporating these elements could be beneficial if they align with your audience’s values. 

Here are some themes and activities for inspiration: 

If successful, your holiday event may provide your organization brand power year after year. Take for example the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For nearly a century, people have looked forward to the annual event and have positive associations with the brand and those tied to it. The three-hour holiday spectacle has become so successful over the years that companies will shell out $120,000-300,000 to  sponsor the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Boost Ticket Sales with Marketing and Promotions

Cross-channel marketing campaigns are a must when promoting any event. So, create a robust plan for direct invitations and email, social media promotion, digital and print advertising.

Reflect on your initial competitor’s analysis to evaluate successful ways you might market your holiday event. And remember, holidays are about cheer, giving and savings. So consider how you might incorporate these elements within your promotional messaging. 

Themed Marketing Campaigns:
Get inspired by the traditional advent calendar or the “12 days of Christmas” to create a countdown to the event. Each day, you could host a giveaway, encourage engagement, share photos from past events or teasers for the upcoming event. 

Referral Codes and Gifts:
Incentivize people to invite friends, family and contacts to your event. With Ticketbud, you can issue unique referral codes to those who’ve already registered for your event. Event organizers have the ability to track these codes. So, if the code is shared and used, the person who shared it could be entered to win a prize or receive a special gift or discount from the organizers. 

And while it’s fun to receive gifts, the holidays are a time for giving. Using ticket sales to raise money for a meaningful cause or local charity may also influence people to take part in the event as well as encourage others. Ensure you have the ability to add donation options with your ticket sales. 

Sales and Discounts:
Early bird sales are an effective way to boost ticket sales and get people to commit to your event before their calendar fills up. These sales are enticing because they offer discounted ticket rates for a limited amount of time, forcing the buyer to act fast.

To motivate a greater influx in sales ahead of your event, you might also incorporate specialty promotions in conjunction with Black Friday or Cyber Monday. For tips on holiday sales, check out “Tis the Season to Save: Hosting Holiday Sales to Sell More Tickets to Your Events.

How Ticketbud Can Help Plan Your Holiday Event

Ticketbud allows event organizers to create a free event website and host registration for free and paid events. Our site offers a suite of ticketing and communication tools to make event coordination easier before, during and after the event. 

The Ticketbud ticket editor can be used to create and sell a range of ticketing options, such as individual or group tickets, early bird or regular sale tickets, general admission or VIP tickets, and more. Organizers are also able to edit and automate sales timelines, so they can set it and forget it. 

Ticketbud also allows event organizers to communicate with attendees via email directly from the ticketing platform. Use it to send important information about venue access and check-in leading up to the event, or to issue thank you emails and gather feedback after the event. Learn more about how Ticketbud works and how we can help ease the stress of holiday event planning.

Nine Ways to Go Green at Your Next Event

A growing global awareness of environmental concerns has encouraged many industries to realign business practices according to greener values. This holds true for event management, which when done sustainably can help the environment, as well as improve an organization’s reputation, cost efficiency and long-term success.

According to a study published in Nature Communications, the global events industry accounts for more than 10% of global CO2 emissions annually. And, another study found that events contribute 2.5 pounds of landfill waste per person per day. These findings demonstrate why 80 percent of meeting professionals consider green initiatives when planning events. 

Sustainability is Good for Business

One in three U.S. adults say they spend more time thinking about the climate than they did before the pandemic; and 68% of highly empowered consumers report choosing brands that reduce their environmental impact, according to Forrester research.

Choosing greener practices not only engages these audiences, it can also reduce the costs of energy, water and waste management. And the good news is event planners can start small. It’s not necessary to reimagine and reorganize an entire event to have a positive impact. 

Below, we offer nine ways event organizers can incorporate more sustainable practices into event planning, while motivating partners and attendees to pass it on. 

Festival planners of Lollapaloza in Chicago, Illinois strive to reduce environmental impacts of the event year after year.

1. Host Virtual, Hybrid or a Series of Satellite Events

Research by MeetGreen shows that air travel by attendees, speakers or sponsors accounts for 70% of an event’s carbon footprint. Meaning, reducing travel is one of the easiest and most significant ways to make a large environmental impact. 

If the content allows, make the event virtual, or create hybrid options to limit the need for people to travel. Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that hybrid conferences combined with the promotion of land-bound travel “could be a feasible compromise to reduce emissions by almost 90%.”

If in-person is necessary and resources allow, organizers might also consider hosting several satellite events in convenient locations across states or countries to meet audiences where they are at. 

2. Go Paperless

Embracing sustainability requires adopting innovative event technologies and practices, replacing physical needs with digital solutions. This reduces the need for paper products and can increase efficiency and effectiveness of event planning and execution.

Start with registration. Ditch paper invitations and registration forms. Instead, create a free event website and online registration form with Ticketbud’s event registration platform. Ticketbud also issues electronic tickets which can be scanned at event check-in to reduce printing needs. 

During the event, trade out traditional posters or brochures for digital visuals. Use AV to broadcast important marketing or event content, and host important speaker, sponsor or event information on an app or website. 

To help people access the materials, simply post a QR code at check-in or email instructions ahead of the event. Driving web traffic or content downloads can also capture important information about audiences and their engagement.

Click here to read Nine Cool Technologies to Help Plan Your Next Event

3. Offer Alternative Transportation

Above, we mentioned how air travel can inflict a large environmental toll. When working toward a more sustainable event, it’s important to educate attendees on the impact and provide recommendations on how to work around it. 

Whenever possible, promote eco-friendly transportation. For example, festival planners at Lollapalooza encourage event-goers to take “low-emission” routes to the festival, such as buses, bikes, or carpools. It may be economically and environmentally beneficial to partner with an e-bike or rideshare program to offer free rides or discounts to guests commuting to the event. 

Also, don’t neglect any freight and shipping involved with gathering supplies or swag for the event. When possible, opt for local vendors and scheduled pick-ups. 

4. Find an Eco-Friendly Venue

Venues make up a large part of the event budget. To make sure it’s money sustainably spent, look for venues that have third-party sustainability certifications, such as LEED, APEX/ASTM, Green Key, or IACC Green Star. Or, ask about the location’s energy use or water or waste management practices, such as low-flow toilets or recycling.

For local events, select a centrally located venue that is accessible by public transport. If expecting out-of-town guests, choose somewhere close to an airport or train station to reduce travel. If possible, identify outdoor venue options. 

For help identifying environmentally-conscious venues, check out online directories like Book Different, Green Globe, and TripZero; or read “5 Convention Centers that are Mastering Sustainability.”

5. Choose Partners and Vendors Wisely 

Denver’s Great American Beer Festival has a strong environmental backbone. Its sustainability program includes waste reduction, resource recovery, energy use and education. These efforts are supported by like-minded organizations featured on its website: ZeroHero, Freeman Exhibit Services, Colorado Convention Center, Centerplate Catering, and the Colorado Carbon Fund. 

Through these partnerships, the festival is able to turn a profit during its annual event while realizing large-scale environmental goals. So when looking for vendors or sponsors, lead with sustainability targets and ambitions.

Forge relationships with vendors with well-documented ESG initiatives, such as printers that utilize recycled paper products or caterers that source locally. Find vendors who are members of the Green Business Bureau, an association committed to clean transportation, waste management and other green practices. 

To get started, check out this open-sourced and vetted database of sustainable event vendors, created by Happily

6. Eat Green

Though it may come at a higher cost, a locally sourced farm-to-table menu will result in higher quality food with less impact on the environment. To further reduce the event’s impact, consider offering a plant-based meal or courses. 

The World Wildlife Fund estimates that up to 18% of global methane emissions come from livestock. So, swapping out meat for more veggie options can be a strong demonstration of dedication to hosting a sustainable event. 

And, remember that quantity is just as important as quality. According to MeetGreen, more than 20% of waste created by an event is organic material, including food and compostable serving ware. To avoid food going to waste, have guests preorder food or close registration before catering numbers are due. 

This is easy with Ticketbud’s ticket editor, which allows planners to modify and automate registration timelines and create custom questions for guests to answer when registering for the event, such as “Will you be staying for dinner?” or “Select chicken, beef or veggie.” Get started here. 

7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Of course, food waste still happens. So, come up with a plan to avoid putting it in the trash, such as partnering with a local shelter for food donations. If choosing this route, inform the event and catering staff in advance so they know to box and properly store any leftover food. 

If donation is not an option, look to the example set by the U.S. Open. Since taking on green initiatives in 2008, “Nearly 900 tons of food waste has been converted into nutrient-rich compost for gardens and farms,” including the flower beds at Arthur Ashe Stadium. 

But remember, food and compost waste is just one fifth of waste at events. To avoid sending the other 80% to the landfill, devise a plan to manage waste and educate attendees on the process and importance. If the venue does not offer recycling or composting, contract out the services. A vendor can provide bins, signage and removal services. Extra staff or volunteers may be required to help collect, sort and encourage attendees to dispose of waste in the proper manner.

8. Get Attendees Involved

Hosting a sustainable event goes beyond event day and considers its lasting impact. So, how can an organization motivate attendees to carry the mission forward? 

Start with education. Make clear in event marketing and messaging why the organization is taking action and the impact it hopes to make. The more people understand the why, the more likely they are to act. This will encourage them to be more compliant during the event and may inspire them to be more sustainability conscious after the event. 

Some organizations may choose to incorporate volunteer projects within the event itself, giving attendees an opportunity to get hands-on with the mission and efforts. Or, they may direct attendees to their social media pages or newsletters, where they post local initiatives or projects with volunteer opportunities. 

If welcoming travelers to the event, create a welcome packet and email a recommendation list of businesses or restaurants that support sustainable initiatives. Or, encourage attendees to help the organization offset event emissions by participating in a donation program which contributes to achieving carbon zero or other green initiatives.

Using Ticketbud’s ticket editor, event organizers can create a separate fundraising line to accept online donations directly from the registration page. Learn more about how to add various ticketing options such as donations on Ticketbud.

9. Start Early and Hold Yourself Accountable

From the early stages of the event planning process, design with green in mind. Include sustainability goals alongside all event KPIs and lay out a timeline of objectives and tasks that will help achieve it. 

Utilize online tools, such as SAM or Sustain.Life, to determine the carbon footprint of the event and identify areas that can be improved: energy efficiency, waste reduction, transportation, etc. Then, share these projections and goals with potential attendees and partners to encourage participation and support. 

After the event, put together an impact report to compare goals and results. Distribute the findings to partners and attendees to communicate the impact and show gratitude for their participation and contributions. This demonstrates that the organization is dedicated to the cause and fostering supportive relationships around it. It could also be the reason a person purchases a ticket or a sponsor contributes more funding to a future event. 


In sum, promoting environmentally friendly initiatives and event management practices demonstrates social responsibility and may attract new attendees, clients, partners whose values align. It shows that the organization is concerned not only with profits but with the well-being of the community and the planet. It’s good for the brand, and it feels good to know an event can create both lasting memories and a meaningful impact.

Best of Texas Event Vendors

Events reflect the reputation of the organizers. Partnering with reputable vendors helps protect your reputation, reduces the planning stress and limits the risk of encountering unexpected issues, such as last-minute cancellations or subpar services.

Trusted vendors have a proven track record of delivering high-quality, professional products and services on time. Their experienced staff can bring a wealth of knowledge to developing the intricacies of your event, and their communication and reliability is crucial for ensuring that all aspects of your event run smoothly.

To help kickstart your event planning journey, we’ve compiled a list of the Best of Texas Event Vendors, based on reviews and event organizer feedback. It includes:


Event Planners

Fauxcades (Dallas)
fauxcades.com 
Offering a full service event design, custom fabrication, production and rentals, Fauxcades focuses on the experiential aspect of every event. In addition to helping with your planning needs, their services include graphic design and print shop, paint, carpentry, welding, lighting and sculpture studios. The team was awarded the silver award for Best of DFW Event Planners in 2021 by the Dallas Morning News.

Red Velvet Events (Austin)
Weareredvelvet.com
For more than 20 years, event planners at Red Velvet Events have focused on their mission to “create compelling human connections through insight, design and collaboration for brands on the cusp of disruption.” The full service industry specializes in a strategic, collaborative planning process and has been recognized through 25 international event awards. 

Printing/Signage

ProGraphix (Austin)
pgaustin.com
ProGraphix is a woman-owned, eco-conscious print shop established in 2002. From design to delivery and installation, their team can help with any print project for your event, be it invitations, brochures, postures, directional signs, window decals or murals.

Minuteman Press (National)
minutemanpress.com
Minuteman Press International has been rated the #1 Printing Franchise in the printing industry by Entrepreneur Magazine more than 30 times. The national chain of print shops offers a wide variety of services, including small paper prints or posters to unique swag or branded food items. 

AV/Tech Support

ATX Event Systems (Austin)
atxes.com 
ATX Event Systems is a full service audio visual company specializing in conferencing, brand activations, concert production and installation. Plus, the company has several studio spaces to host your in-person or online event, as well as a staffing arm to relief in areas beyond technical support, such as food and beverage services, janitorial and security.

Karana Audio Visual (Houston)
Karana-audiovisual.com
Established in Houston in 2015, Karana Audio Visual was built by two musicians with an in-depth understanding of the technical needs of putting together a successful event. They offer a full suite of event production services, including lighting, live streaming, audio, video, as well as video production. The company has garnered an Award for Excellence from the Better Business Bureau. 

Photography/Videography

Bennett Creative (Austin)
bennettcreative.co
Whether you need a conference opener video, a highlight reel, or anything in between, Bennett Creative has got you covered. The Austin-based team provides a bounty of event services, including photography, livestreaming, capturing b-roll, multi-camera set-ups, interviews and timelapses. Beyond event work, Bennett Creative is a great asset to any marketing team looking to bring life to their strategies.

Saturn Photography (Austin)
saturnphotography.com 
With more than 300 5-star reviews, Saturn Photography can help your guests relive your event in high–resolution in the days and weeks after the event. The company’s online gallery system makes it easy to share images with guests to view, download and print, with no watermarks included. Their services also include video production for private and corporate projects. 

DTX Media (Dallas/ Fort Worth)
dtxmedia.com
Though located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the team at DTX Media will travel across Texas and Oklahoma to capture photos and video of your next commercial or corporate event. Their services include photo booths and event photography to drone footage and video production for any size of event. 

Catering/Bartending

Glory House (Irving)
Gloryhousecatering.com 
Whether you’re looking for pick-up catering, a full-service reception or to host an intimate bistro gathering, Glory House is a go-to vendor for corporate and private on or off-site events. The company has served the DFW metroplex for more than 20 years, earning the title of Best in Irving Caterer every year since 2011. 

The Heights Catering (Houston)
theheightscatering.com 
Completely customize your event day menu with The Heights Catering, serving clients in Houston and surrounding areas. The Heights chefs offer a versatile menu, including African, Asian, British, Middle Eastern and American. The business also offers service from food trucks to bring a unique flair to your next event. 

la Barbeque Food Truck (Austin)
labarbecue.com 
Bring a local Austin vibe to your next event with a BBQ food truck. The female–owned and operated food truck la Barbeque is an Austin staple, consistently appearing on the city’s best BBQ lists. Invite them to your next event to dish up some delicious, locally sourced beef cooked low and slow for 8 hours for that melt-in-your-mouth goodness. 

Event Staffing/Security

5 Star Event Services (Houston, Austin, San Antonio)
5starstaff.com
Established in 2000, 5 Star Event Services has provided security officers, ushers, ticket takers and event staff personnel at more than 41,000 events throughout the surrounding areas of Houston, Austin, San Antonio. Their teams are trained in customer service and have undergone background checks to ensure a positive and safe experience at each event. 

Trinity Event Staffing
trinityeventstaffing.com 
Rated as a top staffing company in the DFW area, Trinity Event Staffing can cover any of your personnel needs for small private events or large seated dinners or conferences. Easily assemble a food service team, brand ambassadors, or extra security staff to help ensure no one staff member feels too much pressure during your event. 

Event Rentals and Decor

Marquee Event Rentals (Austin, Dallas, Houston)
marqueerents.com
Marquee Event Rentals serves any size of event across Southern and Midwestern markets. The company, which recently culminated from six separate vendors, touts the largest inventory of event rentals in the industry, including tables, tents, china, linens, kitchen and serving appliances, crowd and climate control equipment, lighting and more.

Loot Rentals (Austin)
lootrentals.com
Looking for a unique, curated look at your next event? Look no further than Loot Rentals, a boutique event rental company serving Austin and North Texas. The company’s rental catalog includes bars and tables, dining sets, seating, outdoor furnishings, decor, vintage items and more.  

Entertainment

Texas Entertainment Group (Dallas, Houston)
texasentertainmentgroup.com
No matter the fun you’re hoping to add to your event, Texas Entertainment Group is there to help. Their team will work with you to determine what entertainers, extreme sports, or inflatable games might enhance the experience at your next corporate, school, or community event.

GigSalad
gigsalad.com
If you’re looking to hire an entertainer for your next event, check out GigSalad. The nationwide talent search database will help identify an extensive list of potential musicians, DJs, speakers and entertainers to suit your event needs and budget. 

Venues – Austin

The Sky Lounge on Lady Bird Lake (capacity 35-150)
skyloungeonladybird.com
Located in the heart of downtown, The Sky Lounge on Ladybird promises astounding views of the city and Ladybird lake, as well as convenient access to many popular downtown attractions. Whether you’re hosting a small holiday gathering or a larger community function, the venue offers additional amenities, such as bar and catering services, staging and sound systems, as well as convenient parking and security. 

The Austin Convention Center (capacity 7,000+)
austinconventioncenter.com 
The Austin Convention Center has a bounty of space and resources, and is equipped to handle any of your technological, catering, and security needs. The venue is homebase for many massive events, including the annual SXSW festival, but can also host much smaller events within its 50+ meeting rooms.

Venues – Dallas

Texas Ale Project (capacity 28-600)
texasaleproject.com
Give your guests a local experience by hosting your next event at one of Dallas’s hometown breweries. The Texas Ale Project has a variety of unique event spaces to host anywhere from 28 to 600 guests. The biggest benefit of the venue? The drinks, of course, as well as its AV, catering, wifi and parking amenities. 

Southfork Ranch (capacity 2,000)
southforkranch.com
Nestled on 300 acres of groomed ranch land, Southfork Ranch gives event organizers plenty of room to spread out for large events, or scale down for small gatherings within its private meeting spaces. The venue, which was made famous for its appearance on the TV show “Dallas,” is the perfect place to blend boots and business and has staff onsite to help with your next event. 

Venues – Houston

Ronin Art House (capacity 50-150)
rentalsatronin.com
Hundreds of Google reviews reiterate the same sentiment: If you want to host an intimate event in a unique and beautiful space, look no further than Ronin Art House. Event organizers can choose from three venue spaces based on the size and vibe of the event. Each space is architecturally designed to play with angles and light to present a new definition of industrial chic. The venue is willing to work with any outside vendor or caterer.

Asia Society Texas (capacity 1,360)
asiasocietytexasrentals.org
The stunning cultural center, designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, is consistently recognized with Houston’s Design Award for its elegant blend of Japanese and Western the design. The inviting atmosphere hosts five indoor and outdoor event spaces, or planners can choose to rent out the entire building. 


Keep in mind that the event industry is dynamic, and vendors may change over time. It’s crucial to research and contact vendors directly to inquire about their current services and pricing for your specific event needs. Additionally, reading reviews and getting recommendations from event planners, venues, or other trusted sources will help inform decisions when selecting vendor partners for your next event.