Plan Ahead

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

We posted some tricks and secrets to saving money when planning your company meetings in our last blog post.  Today we are sharing an In-Depth look at one of our suggestions – Planning Ahead

Many times it appears we are victims of circumstance.  However, if the past is the best predictor of the future we can anticipate the cost centers  which seem to cause the most heartburn.  It goes without saying, booking in advance, sometimes several years in advance almost always pays off in reduced room rates.

FEES:  You can also avoid those pesky “junk fees”, which seem to be appearing faster than we can delete them on the contract.  Suddenly we are seeing resort fees at resorts which just a few years ago were touting “we don’t have resort fees.”  All fees are still negotiable.  Once the resort fee is broken down, most clients don’t use most of the items on the list.  For example:  Sometimes Wi-FI is on this list, so we suggest paying the resort fee equivalent to a reasonable WI-FI rate and asking to waive all other fees.

EQUIPMENT:  Unplanned audio visual may be the biggest last minute drain of all.  However, if you’ve been managing your meeting for several years and you know your group, then it’s almost certain you can predict what you will need and when.  We prefer to negotiate multi-day meetings at one flat AV fee and making sure we have 2-3 bids to compare.  Appointing an AV manager from within the company and tasking them to anticipate emergency needs may also save hundreds of dollars. We have a client who travels with professional speakers, microphones and specialized equipment for presentation purposes which remains the same year over year.

DECOR:  Interview design firms and DMCs who can provide money saving tips in repurposing lighting and florals.  Use of live plants and architectural elements make a statement.  Varied linens and seating choices can make a statement on their own.

Designing a multi-purpose stage where the look and feel of the stage can change with media and lighting also saves time and provides a more dynamic backdrop.

With a little extra preparation, your next company meeting can be a huge success – and money saver!

Money Saving Ideas

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

At CRI Meetings we understand that working within a client’s budget is one of the most important  aspects of planning a meeting or event. This is why we do an in-depth review of your budget and make cost-saving recommendations using tips we have learned  throughout our 25 year history. Through a combination of reducing expenses,  avoiding costs, good negotiation, and our attention to detail, we can save you valuable dollars.

For example, did you know the savings for a 300 room night program with a rate of $250 at 11%  occupancy tax vs. 15% occupancy tax is $3,000 when you choose the city  offering the lower tax rate? The savings for 300 people with transfers at $15 in  Miami vs. $75 each to Marco Island is $18,000! In today’s market, each and  every dollar spent is under scrutiny and each dollar saved represents additional value for the meeting professional and the company or association.

Here are some of our cost-saving tips from all facets and phases of a meeting:

*Travel with your own AV team or rent AV by length of stay
*Negotiate all-day break  packages
*Negotiate meals up front by providing a “Meal Agreement”
*Negotiate beverages including sizes, refills, and price (are you still using bottled water?)
*Bring your own power cords and order flip charts locally to be delivered to your on-site office when  checking into a hotel
*Seek sponsorships from your vendors for breaks and meals
*Always repurpose floral arrangements and décor
*Instead of providing transportation, consider cabs/trains/subway for cost comparison
*Budget per person offsite meals when scheduling a dine around
*Choose a hotel with a low hotel tax rate
*Choose a destination with a low air cost
*Plan ahead so you are not at the mercy of the hotel, design firm, or AV company

*Most importantly, hire CRI to negotiate your contract (complimentary to our clients)!

Sometimes coming in under budget is not about cutting expenses but about working smarter. Our
professionals at CRI Meetings are here to help you plan ahead, save time, and maximize your travel dollar!

We are your “One Source for Successful Meetings”.  Give us a call today.