As in-person events return in full force, the industry has undergone a dramatic shift. Meeting and event budgets are being impacted by rising costs, inflation, staffing shortages, increasing meeting volume shorter lead times, and competition for event space.
As you begin to re-strategize your events program, it’s important to find ways to control costs and combat inflation.
Venue Sourcing Tools
The venue is one of the largest costs for your event, typically 30-40% of your budget goes to meeting space. The return to in-person events is not only affecting costs it’s making the race for space more competitive. Leveraging venue-sourcing technology can help you control your event costs and find the perfect venue for your conference, meeting, or trade show. It will also free up valuable time by automating processes and cutting your search time down significantly.
Here are just a few benefits the right venue-sourcing tools can bring you:
- Rate data by location so you can compare different cities and dates to find out what fits your budget. The best tech has cost-estimator tools to estimate total event costs in different locations.
- RFP technology allows you to send one RFP to multiple venues so you can compare bids easily and see what venues work within your budget.
- Budget tools that integrate with your bid information to save time and more efficiently track spend.
- A database of preferred venues and vendors in your centralized tool. In difficult times, it’s more important than ever to leverage preferred venues and vendors.
- Ability to negotiate with venues easier and faster than ever through streamlined communication.
Technology cuts out the pain of manual processes, saves you time, and can provide insight into where you have deposits, where you have credits, canceled space to re-use across your entire company and identify the venues where you have negotiated rates, even moving your business towards those preferred vendors.
Room Block Management Tech
In 2023, your attendees will be looking for the best rates possible for housing than ever before. It’s just the reality that comes with shrinking budgets. Tech can help. Make it easy for attendees to book the rates you expertly negotiated with the venue through room block management technology. Create easy-to-use booking sites that integrate with your registration website so attendees can book rooms in a few clicks. The best part about using technology is that event organizers can see room pick-up in real-time. You’ll be able to forecast and report on attrition and in-person attendance to save valuable dollars on your event.
Some additional benefits of room block management technology include:
- No more sending excel spreadsheets back and forth to the hotel, integrate data into any hotel reservation system
- Leveraging your registration tools to encourage attendees to book travel as soon as possible to try to get the best rates possible.
- Access data so you can evaluate meeting format and location to reduce costs – consider a virtual option or smaller regional meetings to reduce event costs.
Online Vendor Marketplaces
Searching for vendors that meet your specific event needs can be a challenge, especially when our service needs have changed. Save time by using a network of vetted vendors that are waiting for your request. Centralizing your venue and vendor sourcing provides efficiencies across your organization; you can even use your event RFP details to easily start your search.
Digital marketplaces allow you access to hundreds of global vendors to help service your next virtual, hybrid, or in-person event.
Key money savers:
- Find new vendors to compare rates in less time
- Mark preferred vendors to leverage spend
- Input information into the budget to track and manage spend
Event Budgeting Software
Event budgeting and spend tracking are tough enough without having to factor in inflation. Tedious data entry, time-consuming Excel formulas, and disconnected systems lead to an overall lack of visibility and more wasted resources (time/money).
In 2023, Lacking visibility into how many dollars are being put into events is a recipe for disaster, so take advantage of available budget management tech and get full visibility on your spend.
How it will help:
- Track your budget and more importantly track your negotiated rates and cost avoidance to highlight how much you’re saving your organization through your efforts.
- Gain visibility into where and how money is being spent.
- Holistically understand market share across vendors.
Meeting Request Forms
Visibility is a common theme here and this can be a real pain point for many organizations. In 2023, lack of visibility means it’s only a matter of time before disaster hits.
Meeting Request Forms (MRFs) are essential when event costs are on everyone’s minds. MRFs provide you with the ability to capture and centrally store information about all meetings happening throughout your organization.
By streamlining your process for collecting meeting requests, you'll have the visibility you need to make better business decisions, including a view of all meetings, what departments are hosting them, who’s planning them, estimated budgets, meeting size, location, or any other details important to you.
This means you’ll have the ability to evaluate where meetings can be combined or eliminated, including doing away with redundant meetings.
The full view MRFs provide helps in other ways:
- Consider the options smaller regional meetings with less air travel can provide.
- Gain visibility to trade show participation to reduce redundant, costly rentals.
- Validate participation for events you attend by leveraging defined metrics to standardize return on events (ROE).
Virtual Event Tech
Most events professionals were given a crash course in virtual events not too long ago. While the results varied, the convenience and cost savings attributed to this event type were undeniable. Additionally, the right technology solution will offer a heightened, engaging experience for attendees, and also offer you options, so the move to virtual won’t be so jarring.
Having the ability to switch from in-person to virtual or to hybrid is critical when you’re focusing on costs. This technology provides you with the ability to:
- Consider keeping/taking the event virtual, especially if the goal is content consumption and not networking – webinars are still a highly effective part of the total event program
- Consider a virtual option to reduce air travel and hotel costs.
- Consider a virtual option for employee flexibility.
Again, the key here is to find an integrated virtual event technology solution that offers you the ability to pivot from one event type to another without missing a beat.
At the end of the day, organizations inherently know events are successful, which is why everyone is itching to get back to in-person. But when budgets get tight, events are on the chopping block.
These forces combined make it more important than ever to set up your event program to be prepared for anything – with the ability to showcase your value to the organization and prove your event’s impact on the organization.
For more on cost savings, and the other ways you can fight inflation in the new events landscape, check out this resource.