Budgeting for a meeting can seem close to impossible with so many variables to consider, not to mention the ever-changing tides of the economy. Mark Benson, CMP, president, Applied Meetings & Hospitality Solutions, a results-based company for the hospitality and meeting industries, spoke to attendees at Prevue’s Strategic Meetings Summit last week in Chicago about next-level budgeting strategies. Here are three ways he suggests for meeting planners to stay ahead of the numbers game when budgeting for their next event.
Compose a Creative Brief
After an initial orientation and review of the meeting requirements, objectives and decisions, Benson suggests creating a creative brief that outlines a complete understanding of the goals, objectives and program details. This will ensure that expectations are communicated efficiently and effectively and will help reduce any time wasted clarifying goals closer to the time of the event.
Create a Cost Analysis
A detailed outline of the potential cost risks and gains of a future event will help speak the money language that employers can relate to and will need to make practical decisions. Make sure to consider all the event variables involved, including transportation, bandwidth, union fees, taxes and service charges as well as electrical, staging and rigging.
Study Industry Trends
As the hospitality industry changes with the times, it’s important to study trends from year to year, as expenses can change drastically due to unexpected events. For instance, the group demand for luxury and upscale hotels from 2005 to 2015 plummeted from 83.3 million in 2005 to 69.6 million in 2009, and then increased again to 85 million in 2015, according to research from STR, which tracks supply and demand data for the hotel industry. Events such as the economic crises in 2008 or this year’s Brexit can have a dramatic effect globally or, in the case of Brexit, certain destinations such as the United Kingdom.