Planning international events may require additional care and organisation as there may be particular aspects to each country that need to be taken into account when budgeting for an event in a city you are not familiar with. We are going to provide in this article a rough estimate of the main items to consider when organising events in Brazil, more specifically in São Paulo city, and whenever possible a ballpark figure of what you should expect to spend on each of the items.
Events involve a multitude of expenses that need to be considered by event managers in the planning phase of an event. Whether you have to apply for budget or already have a budget set by your client or company, it is important to understand the limitations and costs you need to expect to organise a conference, seminar, trade show, fair, roadshow, product launch or even a series of business meetings.
Prices for Venues in São Paulo
There are a multitude of venue options available in larger cities, and São Paulo is the place that will offer you a variety of venues of all sizes and types, making the city the top destination for business events in Brazil.
Some of these venues, mostly auditoriums, can be obtained for free depending on the nature of the event. Usually these venues are located inside universities, companies and coworking spaces. An example of a free venue, which happens to be one of best available auditoriums in São Paulo’s city center, is the Google Campus Auditorium. This auditorium can be used for free to host events that will benefit and add value to the local startup community. The Google Campus building is conveniently located close to Paulista Avenue, with great transportation links.
However, if you are seeking for a more business-oriented but simple venue, you should be ready to invest around BRL 2000 per day on the rental of a room with space for 100 people in the outskirts of the city. These types of venues are often equipped with chairs and tables but rental of AV equipment would have to be contracted separately.
There are several hotels in São Paulo providing space for events, which is a good option if you are looking for a more upscale area. For a 100-seat room, you should expect to spend approximately BRL 7000 per day. Some of the hotels allow the usage of their meeting rooms for free provided that the catering is contracted at their own facilities.
For larger events that require more structure such as a trade show and/or a larger conference you may need to look into venues like Expo Center Norte, São Paulo Expo, Bienal or Transamerica Expo Center, which are prepared to host events on a larger scale, with capacity for up to 4000 participants. Usually these spaces are modular, but be prepared to invest in the range of BRL 500.000 to BRL 1 million for a 2-3 days event.
Overview of venue prices in São Paulo
- Venue away from the city center for 100 people: BRL 2000 per day
- Venue in a hotel for 100 people: BRL 7000 per day
- Large venue for trade show or conference: About BRL 500 000 to BRL 1 000 000 for a 2-day event
Whenever you are planning a full day event in Brazil like a conference, you should budget for at least 2 coffee breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and also lunch. We also recommend a welcome coffee to be served during registration.
There are catering options at all price points in São Paulo, and when the venue allows, it is possible to contract more budget-friendly options with external suppliers. Coffee breaks, for example, can be found from BRL 15 per person for a 100 person event for a very simple coffee break where a couple of variety of cakes, one type of quiche, and a few options of beverages like coffee, water, and one type of juice are served. A simple warm lunch, with pasta and salad, will cost about BRL 50 per person for a 200-people event.
Some venues are more strict in relation to the suppliers for the event and you may not have the flexibility to choose a different catering firm other than the pre-select supplier by the venue. That means that prices will be a bit more rigid as well, with coffee breaks starting from BRL 30 per person, for a simple coffee break. Lunch or dinner will depend on the venue chosen but the most budget-friendly category at the hotel will cost around BRL 100.
If you are planning to serve a cocktail to your guests, we suggest to calculate BRL 40 per participant for a few canapés options plus BRL 70 for an open bar including soda, water, juice, beer, wine and spirits. These prices are for one hour service.
All these prices already include service fees.
Overview of event catering prices for São Paulo
- Simple budget coffee break: BRL 15 per person
- Simple budget lunch or dinner: BRL 50 per person
- Basic coffee break at a hotel: BRL 30 per person
- Basic lunch or dinner at a hotel: BRL 100 per person
- Cocktail including wine and spirits: BRL 110 per person per hour
If you are holding a conference or seminar and need to put together a lineup of speakers, you will most likely need get a couple of headliners for your event. The cost of getting speakers varies greatly and if you are lucky enough to have a good local contact network you may even be able to put up an excellent line-up of Brazilian speakers at no cost. However, if you want a jam-packed auditorium with an audience paying premium for a ticket, you can hire speakers that you will charge up to BRL 650 000.
Marketing for your event
The design of the site, management of social media, email marketing and website integration can be contracted separately or as an integrated unit, depending on if you have the budget for hiring an agency to manage all these aspects and the level of competency that you, as an organiser of the event have in-house. Just as a reference, the fees to hire a press agent are about BRL 1500 per day.
An excellent and feature rich solution for event marketing tailored for Brazilian and international events is Hula Events. The Hula event system offers a fully hosted option for a complete event website from BRL 3900 per year. Hula Events provides a good cost-effective license free solution that will cover the needs of different event organisers. The features offered by the event platform include:
- Customisable website for your event
- Content management system
- Email marketing
- Customisable registration system
- Reporting functionality
- Email integration
- Photo and video gallery
- Social media integration
It is difficult to give a price estimate for decorations for an event since each of them have very specific needs, which might be flowers, textiles, lighting and other stage effects, etc.
Decorations like flower arrangements and plants tend to be rather expensive. Depending upon the level of sophistication and size of the venue you wish to have decorated, you should expect to spend BRL 15 000 to 20 000 on flower arrangements alone, while the rental of a vase with a small palm plant is around BRL 200 per day.
IT, Lighting and AV Equipment Rental
Most venues do not provide AV and computer equipment as part of the venue rental agreement, or if they do, bear in mind that only limited resources will be available. These types of equipment often need to be contracted separately, and some venues will provide you with a list of accredited suppliers that are allowed access to the venue for installation and maintenance of the equipment. You will find some price variations on the equipment rental, but you can use the prices below as guidance for your event budgeting:
- Desktop PC: BRL 250 per day
- Laptop: BRL 140 per day
- Sound mixer with 32 channels including equalizer, and 6 speakers: BRL 4500 per day
- Moving spotlight: BRL 940 per day
- Fresnel reflector: BRL 190 per day
- Flood light reflector: BRL 100 per day
- LED par reflector: BRL 100 per day
- Multifunction printer: BRL 175 per day
- Optical scanner: BRL 240 per day
- Wired microphone: BRL 75 per day
- Wireless microphone: BRL 100 per day
- Lavalier microphone: BRL 120 per day
- Gooseneck microphone: BRL 120 per day
- 42“ LCD or plasma TV: BRL 300 per day
- 50” LCD or plasma TV: BRL 430 per day
- 8000 ANSI Lumen multimedia projector: BRL 1500 per day
- White screen with tripod with dimensions 3.15 m x 4.20 m: BRL 375 per day
- 240L refrigerator: BRL 320 per day
- Coffee maker: BRL 700 per day
- Equipment rental for translation services: BRL 3 200 per day for 100 headsets, soundproof cabin and radio sender
Depending on the venue and the event you are planning to organise you will not need to worry about furniture rental as the venue will provide some basic furniture like chairs and tables. However, if you need additional furniture or the venue is unfurnished, here are some ballpark figures for daily rentals of basic furniture you may need for your event:
- Simple chair: BRL 10
- Large table: BRL 100 to 200
- Small table: BRL 35
- Armchair: BRL 50
- Vase with a small palm plant: BRL 200
- Carpet (per square meter): BRL 10
- 3-seater sofa: BRL 300
- Reception desk with shelves and doors 1m x 0,5m x 1m: BRL 150
- Curtains (4 pieces sized 2,70m x 3m): BRL 60
Signage and display
If signage and displays are important for your event, you will definitely have to consider the option to print them in Brazil as there is a risk for these items to be subject to high import taxes, or in worst case scenario, be stuck in customs for different reasons when you are trying to bring them into the country. For your reference, one printed 60 x 500 cm canvas banner costs approximately BRL 90, a double sided printed 90 x 128 cm flag costs BRL 150, 4-sided tower 45 x 194 cm display costs BRL 330, and a 98 x 290 cm wind banner costs BRL 700.
If you are looking for a simple printed pop-up counter, you should expect to invest BRL 900 per piece if you are going to print and have it delivered to São Paulo. A vertical 100 x 400 cm canvas banner, without any tripod costs approximately BRL 320.
Overview of signage and display prices for São Paulo
- Printed 60 x 500 cm canvas banner: BRL 90
- Double sided printed 90 x 128 cm flag: BRL 150
- 4-sided tower 45 x 194 cm: BRL 330
- 98 x 290 cm wind banner: BRL 700
- Simple printed pop up counter: BRL 900
- Vertical 100 x 400 cm canvas banner: BRL 320
Some type of events will require a master of ceremonies, a singer / DJ, or other type of entertainment to keep the crowd entertained. Prices for entertainment will vary greatly depending on what type of attraction you intend to hire, and can consume from a few thousand BRL to a large portion of your budget.
Here we present some average figures for professional entertainment services:
- DJ with equipment: BRL 2200
- Master of ceremonies: Minimum BRL 1600 for 6 hours
- Magician: BRL 320 for a one hour show
- Band: From BRL 1500 per concert
- Small fireworks show: From BRL 1000 to BRL 10 000
All these prices are excluding travel and meal costs.
If your event involves any type of music reproduction, live or pre-recorded, you are also required to pay a fee to the Central Bureau of Collection and Distribution, known as ECAD. The fee depends upon the event, so it is necessary to contact ECAD’s local offices to verify the costs for your event with the complete playlist of the songs you intend to play.
Printed collaterals and giveaways
The amount of printed material being handed out at Brazilian events has followed the worldwide trend with a significant reduction over the past 10 years. However, in a few industries you will still see the use of printed invitations and direct mail to promote trade shows and meetings, especially in more traditional industries such as naval, aviation, logistics, heavy machinery, etc. To send a thousand A4 sized direct mails using the regular postal services, Correios, will cost you approximately BRL 1700.
Due to the difficulty of transportation, risk of being taxed and having the collaterals stuck at customs, many companies choose to print materials locally, particularly their brochures. For example, the price for printing a 16-page brochure in São Paulo is BRL 800 for 100 copies.
For congresses and meetings, badges are essential items and and are often a relatively small portion of the overall event budget. If your budget is limited, printing 500 copies of 10 x 14 cm paper badges will cost you approximately BRL 300 including a simple cord lanyard. If your budget is more flexible and you can afford PVC badges, you should expect to pay double the price of the paper ones.
Customised pens and notepads are common and affordable giveaways at events, and can be ordered locally for about BRL 80 for 50 pens, and BRL 500 for 100 customised A5 notepads.
Overview of prices for printed materials and giveaways
- Thousand direct mails delivered via Correios: BRL 1700
- 100 16 pages A4 brochures: BRL 800
- 500 9 x 13 cm badges printed on 300g paper: BRL 300
- 500 9 x 13 cm badges printed on PVC: BRL 600
- 100 customised metal pens: BRL 160
- 100 customised A5 notepads: BRL 500
Simultaneous translation for events
Depending upon the industry, location, and type of event you are planning to organise, you should consider the need for interpreters when bringing speakers that do not speak Portuguese. In technology for example, Brazilians tend to be more comfortable to attend English spoken events, however you will probably have a hard time finding people comfortable communicating in English within the agriculture sector.
While English speakers may be found in a few industries, most Brazilians will somehow be able to understand a little bit of Spanish due to its similarities to Portuguese, however they may not be able to keep a more formal conversation in a business setting. For other languages, it is essential to hire interpreters.
Congresses, seminars and meetings are the most common types of events that require interpreters to ensure that all guests are able to follow the talks and interact.
Quite often, the simultaneous translation service costs need to be broken down into two parts: staff and equipment rental. For a 5 hour event held in São Paulo, with 2 professional English - Portuguese interpreters, the cost is approximately BRL 3500. If you are planning to record or stream the translated session, you should bear in mind that an additional 30% will be charged as a copyright fee.
The equipment rental for a crowd of 100 participants, including headsets, translator booth or cabin, and receivers is approximately BRL 3 200 per day.
Overview of prices for simultaneous translation services
- Interpreters: BRL 3500 for a 5-hour event
- Equipment rental: BRL 3 200 per day for 100 headsets, soundproof cabin and radio sender
Department for Traffic Management Fees
If your event is large or intended to be held in a place that may cause traffic disruption, you will be required to pay a fee to the local department for traffic management, known in São Paulo as CET. This fee will cover the management of the traffic prior, during and after the event. The fee varies according to the event size, where it will be held, and length.
If your event requires you to pay the CET fees, it will typically range between BRL 100 for a very small event and BRL 10 000 for larger corporate events.
Photography and Filming
Many organisers choose to stream and record conferences and talks, and if you are planning to do so, on-site services wll cost you approximately BRL 3 000 in São Paulo. This includes the recording of event, editing and projection but does not include the streaming services itself.
A professional freelance photographer to cover a full day event with approximately 300 photos charges around BRL 2000.
Overview of prices for photography and filming of events
- Video recording for streaming services: BRL 3 000
- Photographer: BRL 2 000 per day
Additional event staff
Extra support is usually required temporarily during the event, whether it is a receptionist, waiter or an event coordinator. Here are the approximate costs you should budget for if you are organising an event in São Paulo:
- Waiter: BRL 275 per day
- Event coordinator: BRL 1100 per day
- Bilingual receptionist: BRL 500
- Valet parking driver: BRL 300
- Translator: Approximately BRL 100 per 1000 words
Security for events in São Paulo
Security services are essential for events and are usually not provided by the venue holder, so these need to be contracted by the event organiser separately. There are several companies offering private security services, and it is necessary to have a security company involved for the entirety of the event, from booth assembling to disassembling. The size of the event will determine the staff required and consequently the price, but you should budget at least BRL 200 per man per day.
If you are participating in a trade show with only a booth, it is likely that the trade fair organiser will provide security services only in common areas like halls, registration, etc. However, security at the booth itself is not provided and if you believe you need it, it is necessary to hire it separately.
An on-site professional brigade, including a civil fireman, is required by the São Paulo city municipality for some events, especially the ones that involve thousands of participants. The fire brigade staff will cost you approximately BRL 250 per fireman per 12 hour shift.
Overview of the staff security costs
- Security staff: BRL 200 per man per day
- Fire brigade staff: BRL 250 per fireman per 12 hour shift
Electricity and Backup Power Generators
Electricity is often included as part of the rental of most venues, however you should be aware that not all spaces come with backup power generators. Having power generators is recommended in Brazil, especially if you are planning to organise events during the rainy season (between October and April) when there is a risk for storms that may lead to power outages.
The rental of diesel generators is strongly recommended, and the approximate rental cost in São Paulo is BRL 1900 per day.
Internet and Telephony
Internet access availability will depend on the venue chosen. In smaller venues, internet access may already be included in the rental prices, but in larger venues, it needs to be contracted from a third party. These companies usually provide a variety of telecommunication services but charge between 10 to 20 times the market price for a similar business connection.
If cleaning is not included in the rental contract of the venue, you should expect to spend BRL 200 and 250 per professional cleaner for a 10 hour shift, including all material. There are plenty of cleaning companies available in the market, and most venues will be able to provide you with a recommendation of companies.
Parking options at venues vary according to the venue chosen. For cars, at larger venues, the approximate price is BRL 45 for a 12-hour period, and for trucks, buses and vans around BRL 100 per day. Exhibitors may get special parking cards to be used during the assembling periods that will offer more cost effective rates. Smaller venues do not usually have their own parking facilities.
Overview of prices for parking at larger venues in São Paulo
- Cars: BRL 45 for a 12 hour period
- Trucks, buses and vans: BRL 100 per day
Toilets and water
Depending upon the needs of your event and the venue chosen, you will need to contract additional water supply for your event. Some venues have a very limited water supply for the size of the venue or little or no toilets available.
Water tank trucks can be hired to refill water tanks, if available at the venue. In this case, water can be purchased for approximately BRL 25 per 1000L.
Chemical toilets can be rented from BRL 350 per day, single toilet cabins with hydraulic systems for BRL 475 per day and a mobile container system with integrated systems of 4 cabins, 2 sinks, air conditioning and accessible toilets will cost BRL 7250 per day.
Overview of water supply and toilet costs
- Additional water supply: BRL 25 per 1000L
- Chemical toilets: BRL 350 per day
- Single toilet cabins with hydraulic systems: BRL 475 per day
- Container with 4 toilets and sink: BRL 7250 per day
Painting of the venue
Some of the venues, like the Bienal in São Paulo, require the event organiser to fully paint the venue after the event. These requirements are quite strict and include the type of paint and brand to be used. The venue must be entirely painted, from floor to ceiling. Other venues like hotels, and most other conference centers do not have the same demands.