We all know that the Meetings, Events & Travel industry is a cyclical business based primarily on supply and demand. Unfortunately for buyers, suppliers have held the advantage in negotiations for the last 3 to 4 years. I was just going to list and share some best practices on how travel and meeting managers can stay within or even below budget, when my friend Kathy Stoodley, director, meetings & events in North America for CWT Meetings & Events, shared her suggestions recently via Ignite! Magazine.
I happen to agree with Kathy’s recommendations at a high level:
1-Negotiate smarter, using total spend, not just sleeping rooms and meeting rooms;
2-Book in advance;
3-Broaden your search by considering tertiary or secondary cities, off peak days of the week, and investigate if downgrading the hotel standard is feasible;
4-Leverage current contracted space; now is the time to fully redeploy cancelled or attrition impacted space;
5-Stay closer to home, meet locally or domestically;
6-Reduce attendee counts;
7-Use technology tools like our Meeting Locator that can approximate ballpark destination cost analyses. It will not only save you and your company a lot of time and research, but it will also document your sourcing process.
8-Reduce the time out of office. You would be amazed at how much you can save if you reduce your meetings by one day or even a half day, which reduces your need for an additional hotel night.
If anyone has any other practical and proven tips, please drop me a line and share your best practices on staying within budget!