Save My Meeting!
I recently spoke at the Motivation Show in Chicago, and my session was one of the highest attended break-out sessions they had. I would have loved to have claimed they were coming to hear me, but as the session started it was apparent it was the topic – not the speaker – that drew the crowd. My topic was: SAVE MY MEETING! 10 Ways to Cut Cost and Retain Quality. The presentation deck is posted on the press page of ZipSetGo.com, but I thought I would net them out for those of us who need the quick-hit version. Unfortunately there is no silver bullet or magic crystal ball in this list of 10 things, but I hope it is a reminder to ask questions or use as a checklist to assist you when negotiating or planning your meetings. The session was interactive, which was great, and in today’s business climate there are very few times where a group of industry professionals can get together and knowledge share. Link below to the presentation:
The session started with:
- Where We’ve Been - 2008/09 Negative Media – Cancellations impacting both 2009/10 and across-the-board attrition.
- Where Are We Now – Cancellations have slowed, re-bookings for 2010/11, delay in decision process, attrition and fewer buy-in’s on programs, clients wanting the best value and slimming down their programs, optics still a concern and planning companies have limited resources.
- Where Are We Headed? – 2010 is going to be tough, requests are coming in two flavors – short term “need it now” and long term “holding space for extended periods of time,” clients scrutinizing every line item, planners MUST demonstrate their value, have continued flexibility on behalf of suppliers and agencies and you need to deliver the best program the first time – no second changes or time for clarification.
Now, here are 10 Ways to Save Your Meeting – while keeping the all of this in mind.
1. Timing Is Everything
a. Look into flexible date patterns
b. Hot dates
c. Consider multi-year contracts
2. Negotiate Up-Front
a. Prioritize what is important
b. Use clear and concise RFP’s
c. Make every touch point throughout the process count
3. Look for Value
a. Last minute deals
b. Cancellation steals
c. Ask vendors where they have holes
4. Scrutinize Program Content
a. What’s important to the client
b. Assess where the money is being spent
c. What can you cut without changing the experience
5. Destinations with Purpose
a. Wellness for executives
c. Volunteer programs
6. Buy-on Consumption
a. Rule of thumb –only pay for items your guests consume
b. If you have to buy package pricing ask the vendor what formula is being used
c. Negotiate flat per-person rate for things like coffee breaks and bar tabs so you won’t stress about on-consumption amounts going over
7. Rediscover Your Own Backyard
a. Stay domestic
b. Stay close to your GSO’s/NSO’s on updates regarding new openings or refurbishments
c. Major cities throughout the country have opened new properties, restaurants and venues and they all want your business
i. KEEP AMERICA WORKING!
8. All Inclusive
a. Limited surprises or unanticipated cost on-site
b. Outline all of your cost up-front
c. Guest have the freedom in most instances to eat and drink or use the fitness facility without having to reach for their wallets
9. Cruise Option
a. Similar budget controls to all inclusive
b. Multiple destinations one price
c. International experiences while maintaining budget controls and buying in USD
10. Guarantee Exchange Rates
a. Great values are available
b. Lock-in rates
c. Make deposits early to set prices and not be effective by inflation or currency fluctuation
There is a silver lining in all of this craziness we call event planning! There ARE ways to address financial and business goals simultaneously! The companies that remain flexible and communicate values and strong creative negotiation skills will be the ones to weather this environment.