It's not easy to create an event budget with no surprises. There are often unanticipated expenses, fees and incidentals that can add up quickly.
Here are some important costs to keep in mind to avoid sticker shock.
Don't assume that this is included. Wi-Fi costs need to be clarified for both guests rooms and meeting rooms.
At some destinations, labor rates are high and these will be reflected in all charges including transfers.
Clarify if you are being billed per vehicle or per person. If your requirements change, you don't want to find that anticipated savings are not realized (e.g. if you scale down to vans instead of buses). Be sure to clarify what options are available if, instead of arriving or departing with the group, some attendees elect to extend their stay.
You've booked a beautiful dinner on the beach, by the pool or in a garden. After you arrive at the resort for your pre-con is too late to discover that there is absolutely no natural lighting. Always ask and clarify this.
We've addressed these before but if you're planning an outdoor event, it's important to clarify what they include and what happens if your event is rained out. At some destinations, some beachfront resorts are located on beaches that are public property. In order to have a private event on the beach, they have to pay a fee to local governments. If that fee is payable a week ahead of your event, there will be no refund if it rains.
Not only is it important to clarify what audio-visual is included in your contract, all associated set-up fees, service charges, labor charges, and overtime charges must be specified.
Think all linens and nice touches like candles are included? Think again. Sometimes they aren't and centerpieces and candles need to be obtained from a decor company.
Do you need a welcome sign or linen in colors from the company logo? Be sure to determine what is available on-site and what must be rented from a decor company.
At all-inclusives, clarify for what menu selections there are surcharges. This applies to the individual guest meals and group dining.
Again, at all-inclusives, don't assume. Clarify what's included. Sometimes call brands are included but there are surcharges for premium brands.
The bottom line is: don't assume all charges will be identified. Check with Group Sales and bring into the loop a member of the team that will take over and manage the account once the contract is signed. Prepare a full and detailed budget and review it with all suppliers and venues a number of times before signing contracts. Ask, clarify, and ask again.
Written by Anne Thornley-Brown