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6 Inflation Fighting Ideas For Your Next Conference

Inflation is at the top of everyone’s mind. How bad is it? How long will it last? How much worse will it get? The answer is… nobody really knows. 

What we do know is that every component of putting on a conference or live event is more expensive than it was a year ago. Despite the reemergence of in-person events and the diminishing restrictions on activity due to the two year pandemic, event professionals are still experiencing the ripple effects of having things shut down for that period of time. 

Venues, travel, accommodations, supplies, food & beverage, guest speakers… all of these costs have increased and may continue to increase for the foreseeable future. The budget strain is real and this only adds to the complexity of conference planning. 

But, there is a silver lining that shines through the doom and gloom of inflation. That bright spot is the fact that according to research from earlier this year, the live events industry is expected to grow by 11% between now in 2028. So even with prices going up, the need to meet in person and network with our industry peers is only going to increase as well. 

So that leaves us with the following question: How do we adapt to inflation and make the most out of our budgets?

Well, in this article we will outline 6 ideas to fight inflation while we continue providing our attendees with the conferences and live event experiences they desire. 

In this article we will discuss:

  • Smart Scheduling
  • Digital Over Print
  • Leveraging Attendee’s Social Networks
  • Acting Early
  • Virtual &  Hybrid
  • Consolidating Your Data

#1 Build Session Schedule Around A/V Labor Schedule To Reduce Labor Cost

Labor is one of the main expenses conference organizers need to consider when budgeting their show. It’s also one of the most heavily increased costs due to inflation. Employees need to make more in order to afford the average cost of goods and services on the rise. Therefore, wages are going to put a bigger dent in your spending. 

So what are some ways to compensate for expensive labor? Think efficiency with your session schedule. Get the most out of the on the clock time from your A/V team by curtailing your agenda to their availability. By having your sessions scheduled efficiently, you can reduce additional spend on extra A/V labor, whether that be overtime or additional employees. 

This principle could really be applied to any department with a little bit of creativity, but this could be a good starting point to tighten up your budget on your next conference.

#2 Go Mobile Over Printed For Your On-Site Agenda

According to research by The Phoenix Group of Printers, “there is a paper shortage in 2022 for coated and uncoated papers. Manufacturers, wholesalers, marketing companies, and printers continue to experience difficulties securing materials and producing goods…such as raw pulp pricing increases, mill closings, and rising transportation costs.” This has been exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine War as well, reminding us that our economy is a delicate global balance of trade. 

With such uncertainty surrounding paper goods, pivoting to digital wherever possible is only natural. Replacing on-site displays and hand-outs like session schedules with strategically positioned tablets or television screens can save you a ton of money and wasted resources. Rather than buying one off paper goods that will end up in the trash by the end of the day, renting or investing in reusable technology will prove far more effective in the long run. 

Plus it’s a great way to make your communications on-site far more engaging and interactive. You can leverage the screens to play promotional videos for individual sessions or appearances by exciting guest speakers. The flexibility of employing digital displays provides an infinite number of advantages over old-school printed materials. 

Save the trees and save some dough in the long run.

#3 Leverage The Power Of Your Attendees

Attendees are good for more than just their admission fee. Your audience has access to their own network via their social media, so capitalizing on this amplified reach can be a great way to make your marketing dollars go further.

What are some simple ways to engage and incentivize attendees?  Here are three easy steps to follow to hit the ground running:

  1. Come up with a clever hashtag and promote it’s use by attendees to share their experience during your event. 
  2. Offer a small but worthy prize each day for the best photo or video posted with the hashtag.
  3. Conduct mini-interviews to garner free testimonials from your attendees on-site. Most people who are asked will be flattered to participate and willing to share with their network when they are posted. In return you will gain insight and free marketing content for your future events.

#4 The Earlier The Better (for best deals)

As the saying goes, “early bird gets the worm”. In our case, you are the bird and the worm is a good deal on your next venue, accommodations, or conference supplies. Booking resources in advance is more important than ever as supply chains are still recovering from the initial pandemic shutdowns. 

Being ahead of the crowd means starting your event planning earlier than you and your organization may be used to. It can be challenging to get everyone on board when the  event is far off in the future and the details are still a bit murky. However, if you can secure your budget and entice your team to buy in it will pay dividends in the long run. 

A huge advantage to an early start is securing the keynote speakers you truly desire for your conference. The sooner you reach out, the better chance you have that they will not be tied up for an already existing engagement. As we know, the right keynote speaker can make a world of difference in attracting attendees, so let’s get that outreach started! 

#5 Virtual/Hybrid

Of course one way to fight inflation is to use the power of virtual or hybrid. On one hand it can minimize the in-person event expense which is heavily impacted by increased costs of physical goods and services. On the other hand, it can be difficult to cull people back into a virtual  environment with everyone eager to resume life as it was pre-pandemic. 

The truth is, the cost of hosting a conference, trade show, or live event is mirrored by the cost of attending. Just as organizers are navigating the budgetary challenges presented by inflation, so too are attendees who have to be cognizant of how much they spend to attend. If your event is a good fit for a hybrid or virtual offering, then going this route could dramatically reduce the cost of putting it on. The global reach of a format which allows an unlimited number of people to attend from anywhere in the world is still a reality that should not be discounted.

If you’re in the market for a great in-person, hybrid or virtual event platform, check out one of our integrated partners ExpoPlatform.

#6 Automate & Consolidate Speaker/Session/Content Data 

If you really want to watch your spending, you may want to examine how many hours you spend managing your speakers, sessions, and event content.


As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, labor costs are at an all time high. If you’re managing your call for papers, evaluations, agenda building, and content collection through manual processes through a web of spreadsheets, email chains, and dropbox folders – it’s time  you learned about Sessionboard

Our next generation speaker, session, & content management platform saves conference organizers 100’s of hours per event on average. It’s a modern tool that consolidates and automates your speaker management process intuitively. The entire workflow can now be streamlined from start to finish.

Learn more today, schedule a free demo.

Want To Learn How To Build The Ideal Speaker Management Process?

Learn what it takes to construct the ideal speaker management process from Leslie Bailey. Leslie has worked in events as an Education Manager and Events Director for organizations such as PCMA and HIMMS. In this webinar we will delve into the best practices for event professionals who are tasked with managing speakers, session, & content. From the initial call for speakers, to session execution, and everything in-between, join us for an insightful discussion on how to build an ideal speaker management process.

Sign up for the webinar on November 9th, 2022. 📅 💻🤓

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