Here are some tips on how meeting planners can save money on speakers and entertainment. Click here to add your own tips, or to edit any of these.
- Use members or locals as speakers. Among the membership ranks for just about any association are subject matter experts in just about any given field. If possible, ask members to be presenters for perhaps free registration or a lesser fee. Or, hire local speakers in the city where the meeting is being held and save on travel costs.
- For speakers who are traveling from out of town, have travel guidelines in place so you are not paying exorbitant costs for limo transfers, five-star hotels, or first class airfare.
- While it’s fine to use big name talent for one night, consider tapping into local church groups, youth groups, or school groups for music and other entertainment needs. There are usually some very talented local performers in most cities that cost next to nothing. Plus, if it’s a non-profit group, you get the satisfaction of donating the fee to the organization.
- Hire now. Speakers and entertainers often raise their rates every year. Lock in at this year's rates.
- Negotiate a flat rate instead of fee plus expenses.
- Piggyback speakers and entertainers with other groups in the same hotel or same city.
- Use versatile acts in more than one event.
- Understand union rules and hire the minimum number of musicians required.
- Look for touring performers who may be working before or after your event. If you book someone who’s already in the area, you can save airfare costs, and possibly those for sound and lighting.
- Let your speaker sell his or her books, CDs, and other products in return for reduced fees.
Sources: Jason Eggleston, operations manager, meeting logistics, American Society of Microbiology, Washington, D.C.; Barbara Dunlavey, CMP, CAE, executive director, Biomedical Engineering Society, Landover, Md., Vicky Betzig, CMP, founder, Meetings Industry Consulting, Brookfield, Wisc.; Christine Simpson, CMP, meeting planner, Gas Processors Association, Tulsa, Okla.; Gary Rosenberg, CMP, partner, Rosenberg and Risinger, Culver City, Calif.; Sandy Biback, CMP CMM Imagination+ Meeting Planners Inc. More Cost Saving Tips" />