How To Build a Budget for a Successful Meeting

How To Build a Budget for a Successful Meeting

Building a budget for a successful meeting requires more than mad Excel skills.  Taking a thoughtful approach to the needs of your guests and the desired outcomes of each event will translate your vision into solid numbers.  Madden’s professional Event Planners share their tips for budgeting memorable and effective meetings.

Food & Beverage

When you’re planning meals for a meeting, there’s more to consider than breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Coffee and snack breaks and cocktail receptions may also need to be a part of the equation.  And don’t forget gratuities for the staff.  Also consider:

Private Dining Fees

Team camaraderie can be made around the dinner table when everyone is relaxed and enjoying one another’s company.  Be sure you’re aware of any private dining and bartending fees, and back-up plans for outdoor events.

Snack Breaks

Inquire if coffee breaks will be charged per person or based on consumption and whether there are options for breaks at designated times vs. all-day refreshed breaks.  These simple questions may lead to solid cost-controlling measures.

Minimum Guarantees

You will be responsible for paying for the minimum guest counts that you guarantee ahead of time.  Know your deadlines and guest counts for each function.

Event Space

Carefully consider the purpose for your meeting, the number and type of meeting spaces, and amenities you will need.

Meeting Rooms and More

Think about your needs for general session, breakout, exhibit, and registration space.  If you will be shipping materials ahead of time, ask about storage space options.

Chair Fees

Some facilities charge a chair fee, per person attending, in addition to the meeting space.  Ask ahead of time to avoid any surprises.

Audio Visual Needs

Beyond projectors and screens, think power hook-ups for vendors, charging stations, and secure wifi.  Ask about availability of A/V support staff to avoid last-minute technical snafus.

Set Up and Clean Up

Depending on the venue, set-up and clean-up of the space may be an additional fee- don’t assume it’s included.


Time spent together outside of the meeting room is invaluable.  Golf tournaments, spa days, teambuilding activities and sitting around the bonfire making s’mores can go a long way toward bringing teams together.  Cohesive teams make effective teams.

Onsite Activities

Look for a venue that offers a variety of activities and inquire if they may be included in a lodging package. Packages often allow you to achieve more for less.  This also may reduce or eliminate the need for transportation to offsite excursions.


Consider fees and prizes when planning golf or other teambuilding tournaments.

Snacks & Drinks

Whether you’re taking a leisurely pontoon ride around the lake or competing in team challenges, your guests will appreciate fueling up on a snack and sipping on a cool beverage.

Transportation, Lodging & Other Considerations


Plan your anticipated costs for airport shuttles, taxis, and transportation around the property for you and your attendees.  Consider mobility issues and availability of onsite shuttle service.

If you’re meeting in a metro area and guests will be arriving in their personal vehicles, inquire about parking fees.


If some attendees will be arriving earlier or staying later to facilitate the meeting, factor these additional room nights into your budget.  Often they can do this for a reduced price and take advantage of the negotiated group rate three days pre and three days post.

When comparing room rates, know the value that each property offers in terms of proximity to lakes, beaches, golf courses, restaurants and other leisure and recreational services that your attendees can enjoy in their free time.

Service Charge and Tax

There is a difference between service charge and gratuity and both may need to be factored in.  Neither service charge, nor tax is negotiable.

Meet Madden’s Professional Event Planners

Madden’s professional Event Planners, Kelly, Kelsey, and Kari (pictured above), take a personalized approach to customizing your event. We sit beside you to understand your budget and visions and tailor each function with the goal of exceeding your expectations.

Madden’s offers 42,000 square feet of meeting space and 1,000 acres of breakout space.  Madden’s has received awards for “Best Resort with Meeting/Event Space,” and “Best Teambuilding Activity/Event/Organizer,” from Minnesota Meetings and Events magazine.

For more information on meeting space or to plan your next meeting, call 800-247-1040 or email


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