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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

We Could All Use a Little, Well a lot, of Change

in: Event Planning Advice


It seems we are all feeling the pinch, costs are high making everyone feel a bit unstable. Not too very long ago, eggs were considered just a part of breakfast, now they’re practically a luxury item – now we’re wondering if the eggs are coming from golden geese. That is, if you can even find eggs, some communities report that eggs cannot be found at their grocery stores and are experiencing FOMOOO (Fear Of Missing Out On Omelets).

Meeting planners are definitely feeling the pinch, not only in F&B, but from almost every other cost associated with planning a meeting. Here are some strategies for ensuring your ROI is met!

  • Plan Further Out: In a previous blog I shared that though our industry was becoming accustomed to planning meetings closer in, longer lead times are here once again. Hotels are booking further out and selling out quick.
  • About Those Eggs: The cost of F&B is up considerably. 
    • Rather than sit down dinners, consider serving cocktails, mocktails and appetizers. Limit the time frame of gatherings so attendees can make their own dinner plans. Send out messages sharing suggested local restaurants.
    • Open up opportunities for vendors to sponsor breakfast, lunch or dinner. 
    • Consult with the venue to learn of other events going on at the same time, then select the same menu in order to reduce costs.
  • High Cost Hybrid: Instead of live streaming, record the workshops and presentations. This valuable content can then be made available after the event for a fee.
  • Go Local: Hotel sleeping rooms can really add to the bottom line. Find an interesting local venue for the event, consider looking into Airbnb spaces that allow for get-togethers.
  • Be Casual: Formal events with champagne and shrimp will cost more. Casual can mean beer and brats, or something a bit more inspired like a pho bar. These events can provide just as much valuable. Plus, guests will welcome the fact that they do not have to shop to find a special outfit for a gala, saving them both time and money.
  • Sustainability: When possible, do not buy, rent. Also, reuse! Stay away from anything that says “custom”. For example, instead of a full out tradeshow booth, go with something that utilizes a reusable frame, then the only thing that may need to be changed out are the banners and backdrops.
  • Find Volunteers: Ask vendors if they wish to sponsor events by providing staff for the event. This allows them to get to know and network with attendees in a more memorable way. Alternately, check into local colleges or universities to see if they are open to sending along some marketing students looking for event experience. 
  • In Lieu Of: In lieu of swag, give that budget to a charity. Consider allowing attendees to vote from a list of pre-chosen charities.
  • Speaking Of: Speakers can cost thousands. Though they can be a draw, choosing a local rising star can be exciting. Tap into the host community to find a local leader to impart wisdom at a good price. 

Cutting back may take a bit of creativity, while still providing a valuable experience for attendees. The past few years has created a meeting planner community that is well-versed in pivoting. Keep up the good work, meeting planner!

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