As event professionals, we are always asked to do more with less, and that means we need to have some pretty amazing event hacks up our sleeve to make the most out of our budgets, locations, decor, F&B, av... really, the list could go on forever!
In this two-part series, JWMS shares our favorite 15 event hacks that work. Okay everyone, let's jump right in!
EVENT HACK #1 THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM & THE SAVINGS
While this may seem like common sense, many of us fall prey to starting the planning process for our programs much later than we should. There are lots of reason why this happens, but the reality is, when you are behind the 8-ball in time, you can end up paying more across the board. Give yourself the time it takes to find the best value and option that fits the objectives of your program. Plus, you’ll give yourself more time to negotiate the concessions and discounts that really drive value to your program.
EVENT HACK # 2 SAY NO TO THE STATUS QUO
Change is hard, we get it. But not changing can also be expensive. Get comfortable with saying no to the “but, we’ve always done it this way” chorus. Put your money in the strategies and tactics that are working the best and leave the non-performers by the wayside. Yes, this can be a really tough sell to the board, but in the long run, by making a data-driven argument for what works, and what doesn’t, you’re ensuring your budget is working to move the needle and not maintaining the status quo.
EVENT HACK #3 BUNDLE UP KIDDOS
You have 30 events to plan this year, are you purchasing most of your space and services together, or is each program bid as a one-off? If the later, STOP! The best way to leverage your buying power (and to stretch your budget) is to bundle your buys together. Got a four-city roadshow with 100 room nights per city? If you bid all of your programs together with a handful of hotel brands, instead of individual properties, your 100 room night program is now a 400 room night program. If you are able to do this across multiple programs, you will quickly see that your rates and fees are lower and your discounts and concessions higher. Bundle, bundle, bundle kids!
EVENT HACK #4 BE FLEXIBLE AND BRIDGE THE GAP
Being flexible on dates can save you a pretty nice chunk of change. Consider booking your program during shoulder season, or filling an open gap during the week at a hotel. Hotels and venues want to be full all the time; by being flexible or filling a gap you are more likely to get discounted pricing for the dates they want to fill. Which is good for their bottom line and yours!
EVENT HACK #5 SIGNING IS ALL ABOUT TIMING
Whenever possible, try to sign your contracts near the end of the month or quarter. Salespeople are often working to meet quotas, and often those quotas end at the end of a month or a quarter. The closer a salesperson is to goal (and the closer it is to the end of the month or quarter) the more likely they will work to earn your business.
EVENT HACK #6 LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Consider non-hotel venues. Food and beverage and other ancillary costs are often much higher at hotels, and even though non-hotel venues may charge you for the event space, the savings you will see from using an outside caterer and other vendors may make it worth it to hold the event away from a hotel.
EVENT HACK #7 CALL IN THE REINFORCEMENTS
If you have not used a third-party sourcing vendor such as HPN Global for your programs, now may be the time to consider this approach. Third-party companies purchase millions of dollars of sleeping rooms and meeting space a year. Given their tremendous buying power and leverage, third-party companies are able to provide significant savings to their clients via pre-negotiated rates with many the global hotel brands, AV vendors, transportation companies and DMCs. Partnering with a third-party company such as HPN means you are getting the lowest pricing and the highest amount of concessions possible. In addition, they also save you significant time by managing the RFP process for you and we all know that time is money. And did we mention that they do this all at no cost to you? There really is no downside here.
Full disclosure, JW Meeting Solutions is an affiliate of HPN.
Didn't see your favorite hack included in part one? Let us know in the comments and we will add them to part two!