When promoting events — especially in the current economy — it’s important to pay close attention to the costs of producing your seminar. One expense that can quickly eat up a sizable chunk of your seminar production budget is the cost of renting meeting space. Depending on where you host your event, you may pay a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars per day for meeting space.
Here are three ways you can reduce this budget line item:
1. Guarantee sleeping rooms. If you are holding a multi-day event at a hotel, and attendees are likely to spend one or more nights, you may want to secure a block of hotel rooms for your AV Integrator rooms participants. In exchange for guaranteeing the sale of a certain number of sleeping rooms, the hotel may give you the meeting space for a reduced fee or even for free.
The downside, of course, is that if you do not fill the room block, you will be responsible for paying for the unused rooms, which may cost more than the meeting space at full price. However, if you are confident that you will generate enough registrations to fill the room block, this can be an easy way to reduce your meeting space rental costs.
2. For affordable meeting space, consider libraries, churches, and private rooms at restaurants. Also contact local colleges, universities and technical schools in your area. Many have professional meeting space available for rent that is designed with the corporate market in mind.
Obviously, you’ll want to match your location to your audience and your event. For example, business executives won’t want to pay a thousand-dollar registration fee to sit in a library meeting room for three days.
3. Seek a sponsor. Look for a company or professional who markets to the same audience that you’re after. Ask them to pick up the meeting space rental fee in exchange for being promoted as your seminar’s official sponsor… and then publicize their involvement as much as you can.
When you are evaluating meeting spaces, don’t overlook the various additional costs that will be incurred by choosing one facility over another. For example:
- Do you have to spend a minimum amount on food and beverages? This is common at a hotel or resort. However, food and beverage service may not be provided when holding your meeting at a college. Ensure that you can provide the environment you envision for your attendees, and then be sure to calculate how much it will cost to provide it.
- Do you need to rent audio-visual equipment, or is it included with the room rental cost?
- Do you need to pay extra to rent furniture or equipment to ensure the type of room set up you want? For example, do you need a stage? Do you want a backdrop or special lighting for the front of the room? Do you envision a certain color of linens on the tables?