In these tough economic times amid an ‘inevitable global recession’ event planning can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help you plan your event successfully, despite the downturn.
Event planning in an economic downturn:
1. Evaluate your conference location.
Consider holding the conference in a less expensive location. There are some amazing second and third-tier cities that offer great amenities and immersive local experiences. It’s also smart to choose a location that is centrally located to appeal to attendees who need to travel. Review historical data to see where the majority of your attendees are located and pick a central spot. Additionally, planners should consider holding the conference during off-peak times to get better rates.
2. Streamline your event planning process.
So many of us are guilty of planning on auto-pilot, using the same methods year after year. Dedicate some time, in the beginning, to evaluate your event planning process to see what areas can be improved.
3. Brush up on your negotiation skills.
Remember that every sector is eager for business, and your event is bringing business to local hotels and venues. Work with your partners to find win-win scenarios. Check out this blog post for ten tips to negotiate better hotel contracts.
4. Use your data.
If you have historical data for the same event, share this information with hotels and other service providers to prove the value you will be bringing. Business that is less risky is usually determined to be more attractive and can be negotiated harder.
5. Tighten up your event budget.
There are a number of ways to creatively tighten your budget. Rather than dinner and a show, combine the two and have guests engage in a cooking competition at a local culinary school. Limit the number of social events – offer suggestions for after-hours events that are paid for individually, or buy everyone the first round of drinks rather than host the entire night.
6. Be creative with your event ideas.
Depending on your event location and the time of year, consider incorporating walking sessions into your events. Attendees love the opportunity to get out, explore the city, and move their legs. Bonus – you can save on transportation costs if you schedule the walking session as a means to move attendees between different venues.
7. Recruit volunteers to help with planning and execution.
Locals love to get involved in community events. Post volunteer positions online and let them help with the basic event execution. A simple online question box for your online community can generate a multitude of event ideas as well.
8. Enlist the CVB.
If you are looking at more than one possible city, enlist the local Convention and Visitors Bureau in your negotiations. They will be willing to go to bat on your behalf in order to secure the business. They may even have incentives (cash or otherwise) to entice you into their city.
9. Seek sponsorships from local businesses.
Sell sponsorship to local businesses. Event technology platforms like Meetingmax allow you to quickly upload online advertisements on the hotel booking URL and within event emails. Appeal to your attendees – if you’re hosting a sports tournament reach out to local sports apparel stores or family-friendly restaurants for post-game celebratory milkshakes.
10. Use event technology to create new revenue streams
Meetingmax integrates with Stripe, Authorize.net, Cybersource, and Paypal to collect revenue during the hotel booking process. There are a variety of options available to collect revenue in Meetingmax, including non-refundable booking fees, deposits, reservation penalties, and tiered cancellation fees.