7 Cost Saving Tips for Meeting Planners
Trying to do more with less can be one of the biggest challenges for planners, especially if your group has a caviar taste but a MacDonald’s budget. Regardless of thorough plans and skilled negotiations, delivering a top-notch program on budget can be a struggle. No need to lower your expectations though, we’ve listed seven cost saving tips to help expand your destination meeting budget.
Connect – While it can be stressful to deliver an engaging destination program within budget, connecting with your local DMO or CVB ahead of time may help stretch your meeting budget. Your CVB partners will have first-hand knowledge as to what is going on in the area or at a particular property over your preferred dates, which may allow for more negotiating power. They can also help determine the best fit for your group, make recommendations based on your meeting parameters and tap into their large network of destination resources.
Negotiate – If you hold multiple meetings a year and can book several with the same property, you can often negotiate a lower rate or secure value added concessions. Know what is absolutely necessary and what concessions you may be willing to part with in order to truly leverage your negotiating power.
Read your contracts thoroughly before you sign. Many hotels have an A/V partner on-site. If you prefer to bring in an outside audio-visual partner, make certain this is clearly stated up front in the contract negotiation stage. Properties often charge clients bringing in their own A/V provider, however you can ask that this clause be removed from the contract.
Destination perks save costs for meeting planners
Off-season – Every destination has a season in which rates are traditionally lower usually due to seasonal factors. While this may not seem the ideal time to travel, in a year-round destination such as Newport Beach, CA you’ll be able to expand your meeting budget by booking during the so-called ‘off-season’.
Convenience – Consider a destination that has convenient airport access. Newport Beach is fortunate in that Orange County’s John Wayne airport has direct flights from most major cities, and is just 10 minutes from most Newport Beach hotels.
All-inclusive venues – Meeting planners looking to streamline the planning process may way to consider an all-inclusive venue. Since all necessary components of a program can be handled under one roof, the ability to secure discounts or concessions can be a bit easier. Those planners heading to Newport Beach, CA will have a vast selection of unique all-inclusive venues to choose from including private luxury yachts, historic sites and gorgeous beachfront properties.
Two cost saving tips that won’t compromise quality
Décor – Consider using house linens and rely on lighting to change the look and feel of the room. Choose centerpieces that will last a few days and reuse whenever possible. Succulents, citrus and non-floral centerpieces need little to no water making them ideal for multi-day use. A great way to change things up so guests are not always looking at the same arrangement is to use clusters of a variety of sizes and shapes. On day two, simply change up the look by spreading out the clusters and adding votives between containers. Donate centerpieces to a local charity and incorporate a CSR component to your program as well as an automatic tax write off.
A/V – Lighting can dramatically change a space, without incurring extra décor expense. When you don’t want to compromise the look, but have a tight budget, rely on lighting to help change the ambiance. Perimeter uplighting with large clusters of hotel votives on the tables can quickly transform the look of a room. Likewise, lighting can add depth or dimension to an existing space. Today’s wireless uplights can quickly transform a room and create high drama with just the flick if a switch. Stretch your budget by piggybacking on the A/V set-up of outgoing groups.
Consider bringing your own equipment, including projectors, extension cords, flip charts and even markers. These items add up quickly, especially when an A/V company has to provide them.
While it can be a bit challenging to deliver a fantastic program on budget, doing your due diligence ahead of time can lead to a successful and budget friendly experience. Likewise, turning to the local CVB or DMO for destination knowledge and resources can also help stretch your budget. When you’re ready to begin organizing your next group meeting, contact the staff at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA. Visit Newport Beach opens the doors to this Pacific paradise with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and valuable resources.