The Balancing Act: Making Your Niche Events More Profitable!


Sure it’s a balancing act to reduce event costs and maintain quality. But it can be done and Carl tells us how.

Creating niche events is a hot topic for publishers, who are always looking for ways to enhance their audience development, expand their reach and increase revenue streams. Maybe you even have some successful events already.

But how do you make them even more profitable without sacrificing quality?

We cut our expenses about 25% while increasing revenue through creative solutions and effective cost cutting. The real beauty of it was that no one really noticed.

Here are 5 areas where you can reduce event costs without sacrificing event quality to make your event more profitable:

1. Catering: Our biggest expense (and probably yours) is food. Everyone in the event business knows hotel catering is a total rip off. The modest lunch you would normally order off of a restaurant menu is suddenly 3 times more expensive when it’s called “catering.”

  • Negotiate pricing! Anyone who pays full price for catering probably is paying sticker price for his/her car, too. Ask for a previous year’s pricing, a flat percentage off, or customized pricing. Most of the time they will find a way to make it work.
  • Trim the big, boring buffet. Most event buffets have waaaay too much food. Eliminate unnecessary “filler” items on the buffet menu so you can pay less for a still-great buffet. Don’t buy a food package for breakfast or breaks. Use a la carte pricing instead. You can often pay 50% less and get just what you need.

2. Audio-Visual: Don’t rent AV from the company that contracts with the hotel. Buy much of it yourself. It actually costs less to buy some basic equipment – LCD projectors, easels, microphones, electrical cords, power strips, etc. – vs. just a few one-time rentals even with the shipping costs added in. Seriously, give it a try.

3. Get creative on Give-Aways: We used to give shirts to our speakers, sponsors and attendees. They cost quite a bit.  Now give super-fun buttons instead that cost a fraction of the price and people like them so much that they take a bunch back to their office! (Plus we have fun coming up with new designs every year.) 

4. Parties: Never have a party or networking event in your event venue because it’s just boring for attendees who have been there all day long. Restaurants and bars can charge 50% less than a convention center or hotel. And they are a lot more fun!

5. Brochures: To print or not to print? We used to print and mail about 20,000 brochures. We still do some, but now only about 5,000 brochures. We also provide a digital brochure, which many attendees prefer these days anyway.

So with these profit measures, attendance and revenues have increased at our niche events while we still kept an eye on costs AND event quality.

I’ve always figured my Miami University economics professor thought I wouldn’t amount to anything. Maybe I would have made him proud after all.


Carl Landau

About the blogger: Carl Landau is Grand Poobah of Niche Media. He is a media/event guru, SF Giants fan and part-time blogger. His 15 minutes of fame took place in the mid-eighties when he launched his famous, “Buy an Ad, Get a Cat” ad campaign. He has long since patched things up with the SPCA.


Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah -also created a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events –  Check it out!

– Web:
– Blog:  Niche Media HQ
– Twitter: @NicheMediaH
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Inc & Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ
– Google+: +NicheMediaHQ

Image from


  1. Insider Tip #1: When requesting an RFP from a hotel, be sure to include your most important concessions in your request. In those concessions, ask for a rebate on the room revenue that goes back to the group’s Master Bill. Rebates can range anywhere from 1% to 10+% and can be used to offset anything within your final bill including F&B, A/V, shipping, etc.
    Begin by negotiating a rate with the hotel that is mutually agreeable but be sure to tell the hotel upfront that you are looking for a rebate. Otherwise the rate may change to incorporate the rebate. (Note: this only makes sense to do if hotel rooms are individually paid and not paid for by the group.)
    **You’d be surprised how much you can save with a 5% rebate per night over 2-3 days.

    Insider Tip #2: Don’t agree to attrition clauses! Choose a hotel/resort that is willing to waive your Attrition Clause. Sometimes this means having a longer cut-off date so allow the hotel time to sell the unused rooms. But do everything you can to make sure that you are not responsible for unused room nights.

    Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, NV has some great rebate packages available and HOT DATES to select from for groups who need a little help in getting their event off the ground (and NO attrition)!

Speak Your Mind