Thursday, December 18, 2008

Small Conference Cost Cutting Tips

In terms of conference planning one of the key things to keep in mind is that pricing is almost *always* more negotiable than most people realize.

Small numbers of rooms you can guarantee the hotels are appreciated but they may not give you much leverage in price. However even for a single room the price is generally negotiable unless the area is sold out. First, consider your location carefully if price is important. During huge events like CES Las Vegas room rates on the strip are 2-3 times and more what the same room would cost normally, especially during midweek low pricing when Las Vegas offers some of the best hotel bargains anywhere.

Unless there are some huge events mid week in winter should be a good time and a good price approach is to start at (price comparison tooly) and look for 3-4 nice venues with reasonable prices and then call them directly to firm up details and ask for either lower pricing or better amenities.

Let your competing venues know you are shopping around and then go with the best offer. For example if you need a meeting room that will usually cost more but you might get it free thanks to the room block.

Another cost cutting device can be to use nearby restaurants as your meeting place and pick slightly "off" times for the meals (when they are slower and don't need the space).

Larger Restaurants generally have meeting rooms and if you promise enough meals to them they'll generally provide the room for free although firm up the times with them so you don't get kicked out after eating. Hotels have different economics so I think eating "out" is often less expensive than having the hotel cater things.