As we continue to deal with an ever changing situation of travel and social restrictions, flexible budgeting for in-person events which might not happen as originally planned is important.  The need for flexibility means that planners should have one or more backup plans in case an event cannot happen at the scheduled site or needs to be shifted to a virtual or hybrid format. 

At the start of the event planning project, planners should establish how often budget-update meetings will happen and know what information will be needed. Regular re-forecasting is needed during these times, so schedule these meetings accordingly and be sure to present the updates to all stakeholders.

Flexibility also calls for examining the total budget for each event to see if money must be moved between areas in order to deliver the most overall value to attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors.

Have negotiation plans in place in order to be able to address the needs and concerns of your sponsors, exhibitors, vendors, etc. Negotiation also extends to working with your chosen venue for a live event. Review the contractual terms – generally if there are any governmental restrictions on travel or the location of the event, or on most of your participants, you may be able to use the “impossibility clause” or “force majeure.” Can your live event be postponed, rather than just cancelled? Does the venue offer studio facilities, should you need to pivot to a hybrid or virtual format?

The majority of live streaming services offer monthly, yearly, or multi-event discounts. These discounts could be advantageous, given the trend towards hybrid events becoming the new normal for the foreseeable future.