When it comes to saving money on meetings, Bonnie Wallsh, chief strategist at Bonnie Wallsh Associates LLC, Charlotte, N.C., knows her stuff. Here are her 12 simple ways she recommends to cut costs on your next meeting.
Put all sessions that require the use of AV equipment in the same rooms so you don't have to pay for twice the amount of equipment.
Work with one AV company as a preferred supplier for volume discounts.
Have speakers sign in for equipment at the start of the meeting. Often, when a presentation is planned a few months ahead of time, amay request more equipment than is ultimately necessary. If, at registration, the speaker checks off the equipment or supplies he or she needs, the planner has time to cancel anything that was ordered but isn't required.
Use local speakers to cut down on transportation costs.
Arrange air transportation for out-of-town speakers in order to get the best airfare.
Contact local colleges for entertainment in exchange for a donation.
Create generic reusable signs that can be updated as necessary.
Prepare room signs listing all meetings in the room throughout the conference to cut down on the number of signs needed.
Get sponsorship of meal functions. Almost everything can be negotiated.
Theme events using ethnic foods that are less costly.
Do your own layout and design of printed materials.
Discuss the possibility of a discount if a major portion of the bill is paid on-site.