Six Tips to Manage the Finances of Your Hybrid & Virtual Expos

What has changed for Association events? It’s a pretty simple answer – absolutely everything is different than it was pre-pandemic.

Managing the moving parts of a hybrid or virtual expo requires multi-tasking and an understanding of the event’s many moving parts. Our experience with 15 virtual events has proven that success is predicated upon close attention to detail, especially when you are dealing with finances. Read on for six tips to help you successfully manage the finances of your virtual or hybrid event.

1) Keep Your Vocabulary Consistent!
Reconciliation of a canceled, virtual, or hybrid event can be difficult when participating companies have many options. Don’t confuse everyone with interchangeable terms. Clearly define how money can be handled to ensure transparency and understanding.

  • Transfer-Transactions are for the same year, such as the transfer of funds paid for in-person exhibit booth to one of the following:

    • Virtual exhibit booth

    • Virtual Sponsorship

    • Virtual Registration

  • Rollover – Transactions are pushed to the next year, such as the rollover of an in-person exhibit fee to one of the following:

    • Exhibit Booth at the following year’s event

    • Sponsorships at the following year’s event

    • Registration for the following year’s event

  • Refund – Transaction returns funds paid for the current year.

2) Create Virtual Pricing that Makes Transfering Funds Simple
Make it easy for exhibiting and sponsoring companies to say “yes” to the transfer of funds to this year’s hybrid or virtual expo so your organization gets to keep more money on this year’s books. If your in-person exhibit booth sold for $4,000, keep your virtual exhibits and sponsorships in neat increments of $1,000 or $2,000. Finances are confusing for participating companies too, and refunding small amounts because of odd pricing just doesn’t make sense.

3) Focus on Transferring Funds Rather Than Rollovers
Keep your cash in the current fiscal year by exhausting your sales strategy to sell opportunities for this year’s event before allowing participating companies the chance to rollover funds to next year’s event.

4) Allow Transfers to Registration
Another way to keep cash in the current fiscal year is by extending the use of paid funds to registration. Virtual options mean that attendees don’t need to travel to attend, which may result in a larger contingent of attendees. If a company purchased a large island booth and now has leftover funds because of a less pricey virtual booth, allow them to spend that money in multiple ways for this year’s event.

5) Send Refunds by Check AFTER the Event
In the virtual world, changes happen at the last minute. You might sell an exhibit booth the morning of the event, or a participating company might realize the terrific exposure an ad on your virtual event platform offers and buy the space the day before your first session. If money has already been refunded, companies are less likely to spend at the last minute, And your staff needs time to make sure numbers are correct before sending money back to participating companies. There are three golden rules for refunding:

  • Don’t send refunds until AFTER the event

  • Don’t refund until THREE individuals have reconciled the accounts

  • ONLY refund by check

6) Track EVERY Transaction
Because the reconciliation process for virtual and hybrid expos is so complicated, a detailed method of tracking every transaction is imperative. At Sponsorship Boost, we use a spreadsheet with formulas to track all opportunities purchased and funds paid. The spreadsheet is used in weekly reconciliation meetings with our partners and clients. This cross-checking also ensures transparency. An example of a reconciliation spreadsheet with the process can be found HERE. This example shows sponsorships only. We customize the spreadsheet for each client, but this will show the basic idea of how we track these complicated transactions.

To learn how Sponsorship Boost can be a valuable support for your virtual meeting or an extension of your entire tradeshow team, contact us at

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