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Budgeting effectively when planning a meeting or conference

16/02/2010

Meetings can become costly affairs if they aren’t planned carefully in advance. Last minute requests for projectors and lunch platters could mean you lose sight of the original budget you had in mind before you started organising the session.

To ensure you stay within limits, always plan ahead – it’s a simple idea but many event organisers still don’t do it.

We have highlighted a number of areas below to consider when building your conference venue budget:

Transport

  • If any of your delegates are flying in, you may be paying for their tickets – potentially taking a big chunk out of your budget. Book their flights well in advance to grab the lowest fares possible.
  • Once at the airport, will they need transport to bring them to the venue? You could eliminate this problem by holding your meeting close to the airport – there are numerous meeting room venues around Heathrow Airport for example.
  • If your venue is on the outskirts of town, the likelihood is that many of your delegates will drive there – meaning you will need somewhere with ample parking space. This may narrow down your options slightly.
The Venue

  • When searching for space, ensure you plump for a room that is suitable to your needs. If there are only 6 delegates attending, why hire a meeting space that accommodates 30 people? The bigger the space, the greater the expense.
  • Many conference venues offer favourable discounts if you book by the day or half day as opposed to the hour.
  • City centre venues can be much pricier when compared to similar space on out of town business parks or the like. Ask yourself this - do you really need to be in the middle town?
Audio and Visual Equipment

  • First off, you need to consider whether you even need AV equipment for your meeting. Many venue operators supply flipcharts and pens free of charge and this alone may be suitable for your session.
  • If you do require AV equipment, such as projectors or laptops, then these can be hired by the hour so ensure you have enough flexibility in your budget to cater for this.
Food and Beverages

  • Depending on the length of your meeting, you may not need to order food or drink. A 30 minute job interview probably won’t need anything for example.
  • The time of day you hold your session at will also dictate whether you will need refreshments. Commonly referred to as ‘Tactical Timing’, you could schedule your meeting at 4pm as your delegates won’t expect food to be laid on so late in the afternoon. Using this strategy wisely could save you a few pennies.
  • If there is no scope for food in your budget then a more affordable option of teas and coffees may be best.
After the Event

  • If the meeting has been a success and you have more in the pipeline, why not negotiate with the venue operator to receive more favourable rates in the future?
  • A number of operators run Refer and Reward schemes which could actually earn you some money. If you were happy with the service you received, recommend a friend and you could earn anything up to £50 – giving you more money to spend on your next session.
Following the suggestions above should enable you to budget correctly for your meeting or conference.

Abbey Business Centres operate 13 meeting room venues across the UK and can cater for a wide range of requirements.

For further information, call 0800 634 6346 today or email info@abbeyoffices.com.

Alternatively, book your meeting room online today.