Decoding the Rising Costs in Event Management

Insightful Strategies for Budget Optimization

Today’s corporate event landscape is characterized by an array of complexities, and among the most pressing is the escalating costs associated with event planning. According to a recent study by Meeting Professionals International (MPI, 2023), event-related expenses are projected to soar by a staggering 83% this year*. This rapid inflation is largely driven by factors such as increased food and beverage prices, labor costs, elevated hotel room rates, and additional taxes and fees.  

Understanding the Cost Dynamics

  •  Food and Beverage: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2023), the cost of food away from home rose by 5.4% in 2022, contributing to higher catering costs for events.

  • Labor Costs: Staffing challenges have become a widespread issue, impacting various industries, with the hospitality sector being one of the hardest hit. In fact, over 80% of hotels* across the U.S. are grappling with insufficient staff, and this deficiency can potentially affect your event attendees’ experience as well.

  • Hotel Nights: Hotel rates, too, have surged significantly. STR, an independent research agency that provides marketplace insights for the global hospitality industry, published its latest data (2023) indicating a 12.5% year-over-year increase in U.S. hotel room prices.

  • Taxes and Fees: Additional costs such as taxes and service fees have also climbed, with an average increase of 4.6% in 2022, according to the Tax Foundation.

Strategic Budget Management Amidst Rising Costs 

Rising costs don’t have to signify the end of grand events. Here are some effective strategies to optimize your event budgets: 

1. Leverage Technology: Utilize digital tools for efficient budget management. Technologies like budgeting software can help track spending, manage invoices, and provide detailed financial reports.

2. Negotiate Smartly: Develop robust relationships with your event management agency and vendors to negotiate better deals. Remember, everything is negotiable, from venue rates to audio/visual, and food and beverage costs.

3. Optimize Food and Beverage Selections: Consider serving local, seasonal foods, which can often be more cost-effective. Opt for buffet-style meals instead of plated services to save on staffing costs. If other event groups are in-house, ask if you can align with their menus for lower pricing.

4. Incorporate Hybrid Events: A mix of in-person and virtual attendees can cut down on venue, catering, and travel costs while extending your event’s reach.

5. Prioritize Value: Focus on creating value. Unique experiences, interactive sessions, or high-quality content can deliver significant value to attendees without breaking the bank.

Rising event costs present a challenge, but with Etherio’s expert guidance, you can maximize your event ROI even amidst inflation. We’re dedicated to providing our clients with innovative, budget-friendly solutions that align with their strategic objectives. 


  • Meetings Professionals International, “Event Costs Forecast”, 2023.
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Consumer Price Index”, 2023.
  • STR, “U.S. Hotel Performance”, 2023.
  • Tax Foundation, “State and Local Sales Tax Rates”, 2023.

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