As meeting planners I know the word “budget” can cause a bit of teeth gnawing and jaw grinding. You can create the best, most awesome, outrageously amazing meeting, but if it does not come in on or under budget, those powers that be will not be very happy.
The next time you are in budget mode, keep these thoughts in mind.
Ask, then ask again: Hotels have many hidden fees, so make sure you get all the facts up front. Asking, “Are there any additional charges we have not talked about?” – then asking the same question a few more times in the process is a good idea. You have an entire organization looking to you to be the expert and in the know, do NOT be shy about getting all the charges up front and in writing!
Plan for Attrition: Attrition can create a lot of angst. By building a line item into your budget that accounts for 10 percent over and above your room fees, you give yourself some wiggle room.
Make a Few Phone Calls: You are so busy, but what if you made just a few phone calls to make sure that in-house services offer the best pricing. Check out local audio-visual companies, for example, or any other services that you could enlist outside the hotel. You may be surprised and that extra phone time could save some real dollars.
Pay for What You Get: Pay for items based on consumption. Let’s face it, if you pay for xx bottles of water, but only drink a portion of them, are you going to ship the extras back to the office?
Just In Case Line Item: It is not a bad idea to build in some line items for the “just in case this happens we will be charged this.” Pay attention to these items in the contracts you sign, and then build them in so that you are ready and not blindsided.
Keep Track: By keeping records of what your group consumes you will be better prepared for each additional year. Get a bit granular, for example, how much regular or decaf coffee does your group drink, how many cartons of yogurt do they eat, how much beer or wine is consumed? Ask the hotel to help you gather this information at the end of the event. It will definitely help you to be much more in line with your budget for years to come!
Connect with a Value Add Partner (who knows her stuff!): As a site selection manager, I have read hundreds of contracts; I bring great value to YOU and will help you to stay on budget (without adding to your bottom line). Give me a call, 636-797-3405, or email me today!