When it comes to thinking about your conference budget, it’s important to ensure that each dollar spent by your company goes as far as it can and provides a maximum return on investment. Get the best value for your dollar by considering these 10 event planning tips:
- Set a date early. Setting a date and alerting potential guests right away to save the date allows out of town attendees to book flights and hotel rooms early, avoiding inflated costs due to time restraints.
- Date flexibility. Keep an open mind with your event dates. Shifting things by a day or two could drastically affect the budget!
- Group transportation. Have a dedicated travel agent to coordinate flights so attendees arrive at the same airport around the same time. Schedule a shuttle bus to save on travel costs to and from the airport.
- Location selection. Consider flight and transportation costs for your guests. Select a city with a vibrant downtown that is close to the airport and centrally located in the state or near the population centers. In-state guests can carpool. Be sure to ask if out-of-state guests can easily get to your city with only one flight connection.
- Proximity to accommodations. Just because you need a hotel doesn’t mean you need to hold your meetings in one! Book the best of both worlds when you discover a top-tier venue that’s within close walking distance to your hotel accommodations. This will help save on transportation costs and provide an opportunity for your guests to experience a bit of the city that they are visiting.
- Reuse meeting space. What started the event as the general meeting space can be used for lunch later in the day especially if the plenary session is set at round banquet tables. This will help keep meeting room rental costs down.
- Use venue resources. Discuss resources already on-site and at your disposal, which may be affordable or available at no extra cost. Consider things like table linens and decorative details such as candles and special lighting.
- Explore unique spaces. Take a break from the general session room for a breakout session on the terrace, or in an outdoor meeting space. It will re-energize and refocus attendees for later sessions without your guests having to leave the building.
- Area attractions. Consider what’s around the venue. Whether it’s a local café or great steakhouse, guests will want to explore the city they’re visiting before and after your event. Keep it interesting and contact the venues ahead of time for group discounts.
- Entertainment. Local convention bureaus can also assist with group discounts or free tickets for area attractions as well as help with transportation arrangements.
Know you’re going to get the best value for your budget when following these 10 simple tips. We look forward to seeing the success of your next business meeting or convention!
By Laura MacIsaac, CMP, Monona Terrace