Occasionally we get a client who doesn't know their budget. This is ok as we can often help them figure things out, after all that is part of our service. In most cases it’s because people just don’t know the market and really have no idea what prices they could be expected to pay, which is understandable. Very occasionally we get a client who doesn't want to reveal their budget. Unfortunately this isn't as easy to deal with as the following will explain.
Where should we send the enquiry? - without a budget we have no idea which venues we should approach with your enquiry. Do we send it to a 5* deluxe hotel to find out your budget was actually £20pp? As we've mentioned before in previous blogs sending an enquiry out is easy for the client but creates a lot of work for a lot of people, especially if your event is complex. It's highly unfair, unethical even, to create work for people when they have no chance of making a sale as a result.
Legitimacy - by stating a budget you're showing a venue that you are serious about making a booking. Often not revealing a budget can be perceived as a lack of legitimacy, that you haven't put any consideration into the event and the enquiry may not be genuine. This often means that venues won't submit proposals, thus limiting your choices.
Savings - one of the biggest fallacies we hear is the assumption that by revealing a budget venues will up their prices to meet it. In our experience this rarely (read: never) rings true and as a venue finder it's our responsibility to avoid venues who would do this. The amount of competition that exists in the market means that in reality venues are keen to give savings to undercut competitors. By showing a budget you give them somewhere to start from, by not showing one you're more than likely going to be given an extortionate rack rate as venues have nothing to go on or try to beat. If you really are concerned about this then why not put an enquiry out with a budget shown that is 10-15% below your actual budget? This way you can get a feel for what is out there and still leave room for negotiation.