- Keep up with the latest technology. Ask your printer for suggestions for easier, faster, or cheaper ways to get the job done.
- Rent a photocopier on-site and ship your own paper with your supplies.
- When designing your printed pieces, use standard paper sizes.
- If you plan to produce a full-color flier, try to place the color photos on one side of the page only. This will enable many printers to run one side on a two-color press, drastically reducing costs.
- Always get price quotes from several printers. Printing costs can vary dramatically.
- Negotiate with the hotel's business center for a bulk rate or discount on copies, faxes, and secretarial services.
- Use the local CVB's photos, posters, promotional shells, meeting folders, and tourist information. Often these items are free.
- Put handouts on CDs or USB drives, or make them downloadable. It makes budget sense, and it's environmentally conscious.
- Prepare a timeline with deadlines that take advantage of the least expensive shipping rates.
- With gas prices high, shuttle costs are going up. Book special events close to the hotel, ideally within walking distance.
- Instead of meet-and-greet services, distribute vouchers for airport shuttles and/or fare for public buses or subways.
- While negotiating for your hotel, request complimentary car service for VIPs to and from the hotel, and ask if free airport shuttle service is provided.
- Often, AV companies charge the same labor fees for tear down as they do for setup. Tear down takes less time, so fees should be about half or three-quarters of the setup charges.
- Put sessions that require the same type of seating in the same rooms so that you don't have to pay for room resets.
- Consider putting AV service out to bid. In many cases, you can find better deals by hiring an outside AV provider instead of using in-house AV.
- Bring your own flip charts, markers, etc.
- Ask for one complimentary microphone per room and complimentary two-way radios when negotiating the AV .
- Travel with your own extension cords and surge protectors. They cost a fortune if you need them on the spur of the moment.
- Don't order draping for screens; no one will notice.
- When you have extensive AV requirements, consider a conference center. Most include equipment in the cost.
SOURCES: Vicky Betzig, CMP, founder, Meetings Industry Consulting, Brookfield, Wis.; Sandy Biback, CMP CMM, Imagination+ Meeting Planners Inc.; Barbara Dunlavey, CMP, CAE, executive director, Biomedical Engineering Society, Landover, Md.; Jason Eggleston, operations manager, meeting logistics, American Society of Microbiology, Washington, D.C.; Gary Rosenberg, CMP, partner, Rosenberg and Risinger, Culver City, Calif.; Christine Simpson, CMP, meeting planner, Gas Processors Association, Tulsa, Okla.
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