Meetings are big investments. At my company, Meeting Sites Resource, just one of the ways our budget and cost savings strategies add value to meetings and the bottom line is achieved by developing a negotiation plan for each event, an important part of Strategic Meetings Management (SMM).

Following are the “top 10” cost-savings tips from Meeting Sites Resource you can implement into your event budget strategy to save on the bottom line while delivering a top-shelf meeting to attendees and stakeholders.

1. Understand How Hotels Value Your Meeting/RFP: Hotels analyze everything from arrival/departure pattern to rooms-to-space ratio, F&B contribution, lead time, history, seasonality, incremental revenue and other groups contracted over dates.

2. Understand Your Leverage: Are your dates flexible? Can you shift your pattern? Do you have strong history of room pick-up and spend by category? Can you waive rental by increasing F&B commitment?

3. Food and Beverage Cost Savings: Work with the banquet chef to customize menus using seasonal items and/or by sharing menus with other in-house groups (to capitalize on purchasing economies of scale). Other strategies include shortening the length of receptions or skipping breakfast by offering an a.m. break instead.

4. AV/Production Cost Savings: Contract discounts in advance; bring your own AV with waived Fees; bid AV to multiple companies with on-site typically surcharged at 25 percent; and negotiate a flat rate for Internet.

5. Food and Beverage Guarantee: Calculate your F&B commitment from your RFP using mid-range menu prices. State your F&B guarantee, less 20 percent allowable attrition.

(i.e., $30k F&B guarantee x 20% attrition = $24k final guarantee).

6. Report Cost Savings to Measure Success: Track all savings with metrics you can defend that are not inflated and then report to stakeholders (i.e., calculate room rate savings from the original quote, not rack rate).

7. Cost Savings Containment: Base the guest room attrition and cancellation calculation on profit, not revenue, as a hotel’s “true loss,” which can be calculated in case of non-performance.

8. Risk Reduction Clauses: Be sure to include a published rate clause, resell clause, rebook clause, unauthorized changes clause, force majeure and mutual indemnification clause.

9. Prepare a Strategic RFP: Provide a detailed RFP from meeting needs to history to concessions.

10. Have a Negotiation Plan for Each Meeting: Understand spend contributions as it relates to how the hotel values your meeting. Do you have flexibility? What are the must haves?

And know when to walk away. Once your negotiated contract is countersigned, you can easily prepare a cost savings/risk reduction report for each meeting and distribute to senior management and key stakeholders (an important way to demonstrate meeting [and your] value, based on negotiations).

Ways to Save: Maximizing Your Meetings Budget
Presenter: Robyn Mietkiewicz
Wednesday, January 30, 2019, 1:00 PM Eastern

And click here to register for Robyn's Wednesday, December 12, 2018, webinar on contract trends.

Even More Event Budget Tips From Meetings Today: