Whether you’re working on the details for one big annual conference or gearing up to host dozens of smaller meetings in 2016, the current climate of business travel means that the new year will most likely carry some bigger costs. To help meeting professionals manage those increases, CWT Meetings & Events recently released its 2016 Meetings and Events Forecast. The comprehensive report provides a look at hotel development, contract changes and other key trends around the world. As you look ahead to 2016, here are three tips to keep in mind.
1) Ask your organization for longer lead time.
While last-minute meetings can arise, hoteliers have all the power in those situations. That’s why now is the right time to remind senior-level leaders in your organization of the importance of advance planning. Need some data to back up your argument? According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, lodging occupancy is projected to reach its highest level in more than 30 years. As hoteliers remain confident that they will be able to fill their rooms, meeting professionals should aim to start negotiations earlier in 2016 to secure the best deals.
SEE ALSO: 4 Rules Every Planner Should Follow In Negotiations
2) Take a flexible approach to F&B planning.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food and beverage costs increased by 2.9 percent in 2015. Unfortunately, those costs will continue increasing next year, too. However, meeting professionals can embrace creative approaches to reining in their F&B budgets.
“Consider trading down on menu items that don’t heavily impact attendees (eg, moving to tap water vs. bottled) or reducing the number of breaks to contain or even save on F&B despite general cost increases,” the CWT report states.
SEE ALSO: 9 Creative And Cost-Effective Conference Menu Ideas
3) Look outside your traditional borders.
For organizations that regularly host meetings in North America, 2016 may be the perfect time to bring attendees together outside the US. Why? Because economic conditions are making some locations much more cost-effective. In North America, CWT estimates that the cost per attendee per day will rise by 4.5 percent. However, in Latin America, that cost increase is much smaller — only 1 percent. In Europe, the price tag is even more encouraging. Cost per attendee per day will decline by .4 percent.
Interested in more insights to prepare you for success in 2016? Click here to read the full report from CWT. Looking for more money-saving advice? Check out this helpful advice from JR Sherman, President and Chief Strategy Officer at Lanyon.