Editor's Blog

17/01/2009
Save cash - put the MD to work!

Our M&IT Masterclass “Meetings on a Budget” was really aimed at the not-for-profit sector, but it was a sign of the times that the majority of the delegates came instead from big international corporate organisers such as Shell, BMW and AstraZeneca.

It was interesting that two thirds of the audience said their budgets had been cut but only 20 per cent were cancelling events this year – so something has to give! Our speakers promised a total of 50 tips on how to save cash and they did better than that – they delivered 62 – and we will publish a synopsis.

But a couple of the ideas in particular struck me as being particularly sensible and delivering significant savings. The first is on timing: Peter Rand MBE (M&IT’s ‘meetings mentor’) suggested there is often no need for an all-day event since these can often require overnights and certainly additional F&B costs – we tend to go for a 9 to 5 event to satisfy our Anglo-Saxon work ethic, rather than thinking about the amount of time and information that is necessary. Rand proposed a conference starting later – perhaps 10 am, thereby avoiding rush hour travel and serving only a brunch at around noon. Interesting idea - after all, most delegates don’t look as if they need more calories.

The other point agreed upon by both Adam Sternberg of Sternberg Clark – a specialist provider of speakers and entertainers – and Kate Braxton of BCD, was that big money is often wasted on big name entertainers and presenters. Both agreed that the lack of control over such celebs often means the return on investment is, at best, questionable. Sternberg said ‘up-and-coming’ entertainers give more value and charge less while Braxton offered an even more prudent suggestion: don’t use celebs at all - instead spend a little cash on coaching the MD or the CEO. “Nobody understands your business better than your own people”, said Braxton.

(Or the need to save a bob or two…)



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