Value-Add Planning: 5 Top Tips to Maximize ROI

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Creating value is more important than ever in today’s economy. Kimberly Bean on how to make every dollar count.

Every planner feels the budget pinch getting tighter and tighter—and the need to get maximum value from every dollar spent. We recently caught up with Kimberly Bean, Event Specialist, KBT Creative Support Services and a member of Prevue’s Editorial Advisory Board, for her tips on how planners and suppliers can work together to achieve this. “As inflation smacks us in the jaw, my stakeholders are carefully planning their meetings to maximize ROI on a paired-down budget,” said Bean. “That is where creativity on the part of meeting planners and suppliers lands. Currently, none of my clients are interested in hosting online conferences, and they prefer investing their time and resources in face-to-face meetings.” That’s the good news, but there is increasing pressure on hotels and planners alike, Bean added, to stay within budget and to offer creative solutions. “A successful relationship includes an open and honest discussion regarding pricing and expectations before signing a contract,” she said. “This type of dialogue goes a long way in establishing trust on both sides.”

Bean’s top tips for achieving value within tight budgets:

1. Have as many onsite dining events on property as possible. Bean recommends liberal use of outdoor spaces for meals, breaks and entertainment, use of pre-function spaces with outdoor access, beach-themed events (for oceanfront properties) and buy-outs at onsite restaurants. “The greater the onsite F&B spend, the better negotiation value for planners when discussing conference details, as well as saving on offsite transportation & logistics,” she said.

2. Make it a two-day meeting. Eliminate a day of expenses by condensing a typical two and a half day conference into two days.

3. Include fewer speakers and more attendee networking opportunities. One example is using a local DJ with excellent references for an opening night reception and/or dinner, an inexpensive option that also encourages attendees to visit with each other.

4. Offer alcohol-free events. Eliminating alcohol at events and instead serving mocktails, sparkling juices, etc. not only saves money, but it also encourages wellness and healthy habits.

5. Eliminate room gifts.  Instead of room gifts, incorporate any swag into the opening dinner/reception and ramp it up as a big reveal. Another option is to host a small live auction for charity.

Stay tuned for more value tips in Prevue’s January/February 2023 issue.

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