Catering can be one of the most expensive aspects of any event or meeting, but there are ways to save money. Savvy planners can save a bundle on catering by following a few simple steps:
- Discuss long term relationships – If you can talk to an owner and/or manager at the catering company, it is often possible to save money by discussing long term agreements. Consider the first event to be a demo for long term work and prices might drop perceptibly.
- Exchange – Is there a possibility of a goods/service exchange? If so, then determine what your bottom line is and weigh it against the possible gains. If it proves to be a wash or profitable then the decision is simple. If there is a slight loss, remember that caterers are a good source for word of mouth and may consider a mutual word of mouth exchange to be valuable.
- Remember your manners – Everyone is busy, some of them may actually be more busy than you! Caterers tend to be very busy, and often appreciate both brevity and good manners. Keep things brief and polite in order to build rapport that can be leveraged later.
- Start small and get big – Start discussing price by starting with a small number of people, usually around 80% of the actual amount, and then ask for pricing on additional plates/heads. This method is often effective reducing the possibility of being oversold.
Tags: Bottom Line, Brevity, Catering Company, Demo, Good Manners, Long Term Relationships, Planners, Service Exchange, Simple Steps, Term Agreements, Ways To Save Money, Word Of Mouth
The April “Meetings and Conventions” Perfection in Planning supplement took an in-depth look at where planners were looking for their overseas destinations in 2010. Europe took the lead, with a whopping 51%. Canada and Mexico took second place with 38%. It’s the third in a row Europe was solidly in first place.
In some ways this is a stamp of approval for those of you who are looking at European destinations for your offshore meeting plans. However, it is also a call to action for those of you who have clients trying to save money.
Canada and Mexico, at second place, may be poised to provide better prices and service. Mexico has suffered recently from h1n1 flu scare as well as crime waves, but there are destinations that are perfectly safe–and the flu has moved out of Mexico for greener pastures (the U.S., for one).
Asia came in third, and yet offers beautiful scenery and top notch service in many destinations, including Vietnam. The Caribbean and Bermuda are tropical and laid back, and offer relaxing seaside destinations.
Africa, the Middle East, and other destinations that came in close to last also may be better choices, depending on your client’s needs. The bottom line is that you can save money and offer beautiful and interesting destinations at the same time. A little research can help you a lot, so don’t be afraid to put in a little time and stock up on alternative meeting targets.
Tags: Beautiful Scenery, Bermuda, Bottom Line, Caribbean, Choices, Conventions, Crime Waves, European Destinations, Flu, Greener Pastures, Laid Back, Little Time, Notch Service, Overseas Destinations, Planners, Scare, Seaside Destinations, Stamp Of Approval, Targets, Vietnam
While this sounds like a chapter out of a football playbook, it sort of is and sort of isn’t. Like football, it describes the final chapter of an arbitrary time frame that we use to determine our actions and push for a winning game. However, it is being applied to our business in this blog. What are we going to do for the rest of a stressful year?
What We Do Best
As planners, what we do best is help others. Sure, it’s a business, but it’s one that can help others from losing their marbles trying to book their own events. What may change about that in the fourth quarter is that some of them may want to save money on events by planning some of it themselves. You can be prepared by having a short list of things that they can do that won’t be too difficult but can lop off at least a little bit of your bill. Consider this another service in your collection of offerings. (more…)
Tags: Arbitrary Time, Blog, Clientele, Exotic Travel, Financial Scene, Football Playbook, Fourth Quarter, Game, Hideaways, Little Bit, Marbles, Money, Offerings, Planners, Professional Life, Sounds, Time Frame, Travel Packages, Vacations
It may sound like a self-interest broken record, but meetings are good for the economy despite what many may think. The next time someone maligns your line of work as a meeting planner and tells you meetings are a waste of taxpayer’s money (in the case of bailout companies), here are some arguments in your favor.
“I’m helping local communities.”
When a meeting comes to town, money is spent. It may not be evident right away, but there is more changing hands than the money you as a planner dole out for meeting space, hotels, and details. The participants will visit local restaurants, they will shop, they buy souvenirs, they leave tips, they go on short expeditions within the town–all this an more contributes to the local economy. (more…)
Tags: Bailout, Changing Hands, Ears, Economy, Event Planner, Expeditions, Government Efforts, Government Guidelines, Helping The Environment, Local Restaurants, Lots Of Money, Meeting Planner, Meeting Time, No Doubt, Participants, Planners, Public Image, Real Estate, Self Interest, Souvenirs