Leave The Dreaded Drink Ticket Behind

October 20th, 2011   •   no comments   

Today, we introduce Sam Snyder, meeting planner for Sponsorship Specialists. She will be contributing event planning tips for association, nonprofit and corporate event planners. Her event planning values are to create memorable events that connect the audience to the organization and its sponsors, at budgets her clients can afford.

The drink ticket. Once standard issue at many conventions and conferences with evening social events, it has the potential to drive your event over budget very quickly. As a meeting planner, I know that estimating drink ticket charges for a reception is a gamble at best. You can budget for one ticket per attendee, but you’ll never know how many of them were actually utilized until after the event when it’s time to sign the banquet check.

In addition to not knowing your exact bar budget when using drink tickets, you also have to think about liability issues when supplying free alcohol. Attendees have been known to barter and trade for more drink tickets and sponsors may ask for extra tickets to give to their special guests. All these tickets floating around a room can lead to dangerous binge drinking by some.

There is a way to provide drinks for your attendees without issuing drink tickets, giving you greater control over your final budget.

I recently worked with the uber-talented Wolfgang Puck Catering team at Marriott’s Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa to create a signature cocktail for the closing reception of a national association.  Since the reception was poolside in warm weather, we decided to serve frozen “pushpop” cocktails. The catering team created three flavors, all very colorful and artfully displayed in trays (that’s them over there on the right.)

I was planning a reception for approximately 300 people, so I ordered 600 pushpops, enough for two per person. Because the order amount was pre-set, there was no guessing about the what the final bar tab would be. I was also able to negotiate a lower price per pushpop than I would have been charged per drink ticket, adding to the savings for our client.  And, last but certainly not least, the pushpops were fun and creative and left a lasting impression on the attendees, the event sponsors and our special guests.

Photo Credit: Jason Smith

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