Fifteen Ways to Save Money on Your Next Meeting or Conference
1. Schedule your meeting for a downtime in the week or year.
2. Allow no one but yourself to sign bills or authorize charges.
3. Negotiate conference rate for guest rooms (don't pay "rack" rate).
4. Negotiate for "comp" (complimentary) room rate for guest rooms used (going rate is 1/50/night).
5. Ask lots of questions. Get any negotiated points in writing (hotel sales representatives change often).
6. Guarantee the lowest number you can for any meal, sometimes fewer than you expect.
7. Always order house brands in liquor.
8. Order a minimum of hors d'oeuvres for receptions and be ready to supplement with quickly prepared additions if that is possible or allowable.
9. When appropriate, don't offer to pay speakers an honorarium or travel costs until asked. Many organizations will pay their staffs' costs as a promotional effort or contribution. Give them a simple gift instead.
10. Offer speakers exposure rather than money. Get them on TV; introduce them to community leaders or possible clients.
11. Avoid panels; they seldom work, and they multiply costs fast.
12. Split costs by having a joint meeting with one or more sponsoring groups or departments.
13. Allow two months for anything that needs to be printed, so you won't have to pay a premium to get it done at the eleventh hour.
14. Take your own A-V equipment with you if the site is nearby or if possible rather than renting it (unless it does not cost extra and if you know how to run it).
15. Once registration is over, send your extra staff "helpers" back to the office. You only need them to get things started.
Created January 1, 2009
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