Executive Group Travel Blog

Budgeting - Benefits of Google Sheets

[fa icon="clock-o"] Apr 28, 2016 10:56:00 AM [fa icon="user"] Marci McCormack [fa icon="folder-open'] Incentive Travel

Mitigate Surprises:

One of the most important aspects of the planning of incentive trips and sales kickoff events is budgeting.  The key to all budgeting is mitigating surprises. We found that utilizing Google Sheets and sharing a detailed budget spreadsheet with your clients is one way to make sure there are no surprises when the final checks are written.

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A few additional tips that can help when budgeting for your next event:

  • Transparency:  Google Sheets document shared between agency, client, and client's internal finance/accounting team.  This allows the client to access the current budget at all times and know the current spend.  This helps cut down the back and forth emails/calls regarding budget between the clients finance team and the agency or even an internal meeting planner.  It's a small time commitment that makes a large impact in the budgeting process.  *Make sure you set expectations of how frequently the spreadsheet will be updated.
  • Set perimeters with budget spend.  Expected Budget: $X, Do Not Exceed Budget: $X.  Be realistic with your planning in setting an expected budget along with a do not exceed budget.  It's important to have both of these numbers set upfront so you know what you are working with.  Many times companies forget the importance of budgeting and are surprised when their final spend is 300% more than they expected.  No company should host an event without a budget in mind and no contract should be signed before that budget conversation. 
  • Treat the spend like its your own money.  This tip goes for both internal and external meeting planners.  Yes some events will be extravagant and the budget will match this.  But it's important for your travel agency and internal meeting planners to treat the event spend as if it's their own money.  When meeting planners have this mindset the negotiation process is usually more effective between hotel and client and vendor and client (or travel agency). 
  • Closely Track Budget versus Actual Spend:  It's not only important to track estimated budget but don't be afraid to add a second tab to your spreadsheet and track current spend.  Clients love to know how they are tracking in terms of budget and this is a quick solution and value add. 



Here's a quick example of a simple incentive trip budget that you can actively update throughout the planning process.  While providing shared access to the client's team you are providing transparency to the actual spend and estimated budget.