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« Industry Conference for West Coast | Main | Simple Cost Savings: Staff Meals »
Thursday
Apr162009

More Simple Conference Budget Savers 

We've had many entries about tips for trimming a conference budget without compromising your event.  This entry is inspired by a conversation we had last week with a conference manager looking to cut costs and Audrey's recent post in the SHARE section.  Please feel free to add other ideas to this post or Audrey's entry.

Does your group resemble AA gone bad?  If you have a heavy drinking crowd, seriously consider a bar package with your venue such as $20/head for 90 minute cocktail hour.  Assuming your mixed drinks will run $13 each and wine $10-$12 - this is probably a better route.  Something we learned with our Internet company parties - we didn't necessarily tell the sales contact what large drinkers we had until the rate was negotiated.

Passed hors'dourves can greatly reduce the amount you spend on appetizers, and it tends to add an air of sophistication to any event.  When someone sees a large ice sculpture of shrimp - which is beautiful, they may be inclined to take 5 or 6 of these $6/piece appetizers and then hit the next table.  If a waiter is passing appetizers the typical guest has 2 to 3 tasty morsels before the dinner.  With a large group this makes a big impact on the budget.

Audio Visual costs are usually a large chunk of a multi-day event.  If you are using multiple rooms, for multiple days do expect a significant discount on the equipment rental.  Part of the $1000 charge for a screen and projector includes loading/delivery of the equipment.  Granted the machines can't be used elsewhere when you have them but the fact the AV team can just show up rather than wire a room each morning does warrant a discount.

Dealing with No Shows.  It is so hard to reserve the right amount of rooms yet avoid being stuck with unoccupied expensive rooms. If you do happen to get trapped with attrition charges, ask the hotel if they can apply a portion, say 70%, of the charges towards a future event.  Typically hotels are so eager to book future business if this "credit" will lure your group back to their property in the coming quarters they'll usually agree.  And always, always have someone from your team ask the front desk what their occupancy rate is each night.  If you hear "sold out" and your contract states you will not be responsible for attrition charges if the hotel sells out you're in luck.

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Reader Comments (2)

i am really very thankful to you as you let me know how to minimize the conference budget..thanks for help...

April 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

Another way to manage your headcounts is to deduct the standard No Show rate (10% for my company), then deduct the % overage the hotel uses. However, set the room for the 100.

Example:

100 registered attendees
- 10 10% no show rate
- 5 5% F&B overage
85 Total

May 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCJ

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