5 ways to grab the reigns of your meeting and event spend

It's no secret that meetings and events play a big role in the effectiveness of any business. Face-to-face connections build relationships, improve communications and drive better outcomes.

In fact, research by the Harvard Business Review found that face-to-face meetings would garner positive responses 34 times more than virtual communication. It's no surprise then that the spend for meetings and events is growing.

According to a report by Oxford Economics, in 2016 alone meetings generated $325 billion of direct spending and $845 billion in business sales. Businesses see these events as vital opportunities to bring together customers and key stakeholders to meaningful decisions, driving organisational outcomes.

There is a missed opportunity to measure the spend and effectiveness of meetings and events as traditionally this spend has not been easily captured. When you leverage the right tools and methods, you can host stellar meetings while still grabbing the reins on your spend. Let's take a look at some of our top tips.

Consolidating meeting and event spend helps you grab the reins.

Consolidating meeting and event spend helps you grab the reins.

Tip #1: Centralize your meeting spend.

How can you manage meeting spend when you have no centralized data? This is what makes online booking platforms, like cimeetings, indispensable. With the help of sourcing and reporting technology, you'll be able to capture the necessary data automatically and, as a result, gain a comprehensive picture of your organization's current and past spend.

It's all about instant insights into spend and savings, both company wide as well as by user, department and division. Having all of this information in one place allows you to review your spending patterns, pinpointing areas of high spend where you could leverage with suppliers, channels, or reduce costs.

Tip #2: Leverage loyalty.

When you have full visibility of your meeting spend data, you can better leverage your company's total event volume in negotiations. For example, take a look at the hotel brands your business is actively negotiating with. If the data shows you have a number of meetings or events planned with a single brand you can use that information to your advantage. Go to the hotel and discuss building a better arrangement based on volume.

Partnering with specific hotel brands may open your business to loyalty concessions as well, the possibilities are considerable when you have the right data to back you up.

To effectively reduce meeting spend you need to start by focusing on your biggest opportunities.

Tip #3: Identify opportunities.

Did you know that, according to the Global Business Travel Association, 80 per cent of all meeting savings is realized during the venue sourcing process?

To effectively reduce meeting spend you need to start by focusing on your biggest opportunities.

The best way to do this is to track spend and cost savings by brand. Finding and analyzing the data on BOTH areas is key. When you have an understanding of your spend by brand you can use it as a vital bargaining chip when negotiating with suppliers. Start by creating a meetings and events policy within your organisation where you can leverage buying power with preferred suppliers. A meetings and events policy will also ensure better control on spend by user.

Tip #4: Create a core set of contract clauses.

When you approach a venue you should be ready with a core set of contract clauses. Having these drafted up and considered beforehand can potentially save you significantly in the long run.
You want to consider the risks of factors such as attrition and cancellation penalties and you should always ensure your contract includes reasonable clauses regarding risk. Here are a few more areas to look out for:

  • Venue Hire Fees: When there's a high demand for certain dates hotels may ask for a venue hire fee. Unfortunately, if you're really after that venue you may have to pay up. However, you can often negotiate a higher food and beverage minimum to waive the venue hire fee.
  • Do the Math on Minimums: Always calculate what your food and beverage minimums come out to. The exact amount, based on the range of expected attendees, is crucial. Businesses often find themselves tripped up on these clauses as they can be very steep.
  • Calculate the Currency: Exchange rate fluctuations can seriously up the cost of your event. Determine an exchange rate and fix it in the contract. If the venue refuses, ask for a rate range so you have an idea what the upper range of payment could be.

By setting ground rules in the contract beforehand you can limit surprise areas of spend that may come up during the meeting process.

Leverage your meetings and events volume for positive negotiations.

Leverage your meetings and events volume for positive negotiations.

Tip #5: Use data to forecast your spend.

Having visibility over your spend not only allows you to have complete control over your budget but also provides you with the information you need to forecast future spend. When you can be predictive about the money you will need, as well as the venues you tend to book, you can better identify opportunities for savings and keep your budget under control.

cimeetings lets you build data sets around past, present and future spend which then helps you formulate an accurate forecast. This data also ensures you can catch any areas of high expense and work to reduce them in the future.

Do all this and more with cimeetings

When you leverage the use of a professional platform like cimeetings you can ensure you have all the tools you need to keep your meeting spend on budget and under control.

You can count on cimeetings to deliver the clear advantage in meeting planning your choice of thousands of unique venues around the globe, complete transparency in costing and reporting, and the confidence that you can master meetings with our world-class planning platform.

Ready for your plans to fall into place? Reach out to us today to learn more!

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