Ongoing economic uncertainties can have an unexpected impact on an organization’s budget, which can then affect its ability to effectively deliver company messages, and inspirational content, and drive engagement. For many planners, budgets for their meetings, recognition, and promotions are set in a year or more in advance, and when costs to deliver these programs continue to increase yearly this puts them in a tight spot. Costs for products and services in the hospitality space are not immune to post-pandemic increases, and this has a direct effect on service delivery models. Planners are being asked to do more with the same (or smaller) budgets and even more compressed timelines.
Clients are also at the mercy of the climate of the economy in their industries or verticals. They do not want to spend money in excess if their industry is struggling or if the company has downsized. They want the confidence to ensure year-end earnings are healthy and profitable. Often, meetings, recognition and promotion programs can fall in the shadow of immediate business needs, resulting in a culture where employees feel uncertain.
While the perception of unnecessary spending can be seen as a negative or a ‘nice to have,’ the value of these connections, when done correctly, can prove to have the opposite effect.
Before hitting the ‘cancel’ button, enlist the thought leadership of your partners, and consider all factors, not only the fiscal impact. Have you considered all options to bring your audience together? Are there other avenues to take rather than deleting the spend in the human connection?
Even with budget constrictions, there is always room to reimagine how you convene. The most critical first step is to identify how to measure the return on investment and return on experience for your attendees – is this greater than the impact of cancellation? In addition, have you considered all the non-financial impacts and perceptions of cancellation from attendees? Employees are aware of the spending put into meetings & events, it must be impactful and beneficial to them.
Related Article: Managing the Food and Beverage Costs of Your Meetings Program
There are several ways to reduce spend:
- Commit to the decision to keep in person events and plan early on
- Get creative with destination selections based on attendee demographic and locale.
- Adjust the agenda, combine meetings to maximize buying power and executive travel time.
- Design regional or road show events to decrease travel spend.
- Decrease individual activities and make room for more group events.
- Maximize your organization’s facilities and company HQ offices, look at the event through a different lens.
- Commit to a multi-year, multi-property, long term meeting strategy.
- Offer a tiered approach that incorporates incentives and gifting and smaller incentive programs.
In person events are a terrific way to turn the page and focus on future forward. Clients need to structure content to show their commitment to their employees to drive culture and employee retention. Employees that feel valued and connected to their business are more likely to serve as brand ambassadors for your company and increase company profit for years to come.
Originally published May 9, 2023 5:15:54 AM