In the age of tighter budgets and ROI, streamlining costs has become an important part of everyday business. For the sake of brevity, though, we have included only a few of the seemingly endless supply of ideas on how to save money when organising an event.
Plan and organise your event with plenty of lead time and be flexible about dates, since most venues will offer you more economic rates.
Shop around before deciding.
Hotels in Spain are excellent value for money and do justice to the number of stars they have been awarded, so consider downgrading to a four- or three-star hotel.
Make the planner/planning committee co-ordinator responsible for all payments; if there are several people handling payments, this often leads to confusions and it is harder to keep track of expenditure.
Although travel agents offer some interesting and economic packages, the low-cost flight boom has opened up the market, as well as offering a host of new destinations.
With the advent of the Internet, inspection trips are necessary only in the case of big events.
Some venues will accept to negotiate rates, whereas others will not.
A venue's popularity, the amount of competition in the area, and the time of year, all influence the possibilities of negotiation.
The most common discounts you can expect to obtain are those for early booking, as in six-months to a year in advance.
Most hotels have established rules for VIP upgrades and courtesy rooms, which usually function on a percentage basis, so there will not be much room for negotiation there.
The same goes for hotel meeting space: some offer free space, depending on the size of the room block and the length of stay, while others do not.
Meeting space might be cheaper on some days – from Sundays to Fridays, usually – than on others.
Offer your target audience discounts for early registration.
If yours is an annual or seasonal event, or if you envisage holding a number of meetings in the same location, an unadventurous but economic solution could be to negotiate all your business – a preferred supplier programme, as it is known – with the same hotel, venue and/or suppliers.
Keep the number of suppliers to a minimum.
Quite a few hotels and outside catering companies will give discounts for early booking and large events, although these will probably be in kind: food or wine upgrades; or a certain amount of flexibility as regards time limits.
If restaurants are going to be used, it is handy to know that most of them, even some of the top ones, have fixed menus, including wine, coffee and liqueurs, which can work out a lot cheaper than eating à la carte.
If the event is to be held at a hotel, make sure that the staff have a list of the people authorised to charge things to the master account, and make it clearly understood that you will not be held responsible for any unauthorised expenditure.
When staging your event outside, reliable weather means you save on having to have an alternative plan should it rain.
The reliability of the weather is also an important factor when planning outdoor activities, adventure incentives or golf.
When planning a golf meeting or event, bear in mind that green fees can vary a lot.
If you are coming over on a low-cost flight, it might be cheaper to rent clubs than to bring your own.
Some museums, monuments and attractions offer discounts to large groups.
Discounts for concerts, plays and other entertainment are also available for large groups and for early booking.
All of the provincial capitals and most large towns have cheap travel passes for using local transport, and RENFE, the national railway service, offers discounts for children and advance bookings.
As taxis are relatively cheap and drivers do not expect lavish tips, they are always a handy alternative.
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