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Tips and Tools

Tip 0:
Hotel and Travel Costs Rise: Why Itís Happening and How to Cope and Prosper

Tip 1:
Choose Your Site For Maximum Effectiveness
Oil prices are skyrocketing and this has a direct correlation to the cost of travel and other meeting expenses. The most obvious effect is in airline ticket prices as airlines cope with the rising cost of fuel, but there are many other ways rising oil prices can impact your bottom line: imported goods march upwards as the cost to transport them rise and the raw material they are made of, such as plastics and man made fibers, increases. Carefully examining your attendee profile to understand commute patterns (where are their hub cities, where are air routes more plentiful) while weighing the pros and cons of a target city and location (ease of travel and attraction of location for purpose of meeting, for example) will increase attendance while lowering the impact of rising costs.

Tip 2:
Lock In Your Contract Now
Travel costs are rising but meetings are going strong. A few years ago hotels had space to spare and snagging a prime location a year or even months before a meeting at a great price was common. Not so now. Hotel occupancy rates are at an all-time high and are projected to continue to outpace growth of rooms in the foreseeable future which means hotel rates are rising and choice is dwindling. The easiest solution? Work with your planner to do a thorough site selection and lock in your contract now to protect against the projected future increases. Hotels would rather have contracts in place than trade for higher room rates closer in so use that to your advantage.

Tip 3:
Take Advantage of the Weak Dollar
Sure, it may be more expensive to travel to Europe and even Canada as the dollar struggles to maintain composure-but this means attracting your foreign constituents to meetings in the US is easier than ever. The lure of a strong exchange rate more than compensates for the relatively higher hotel and air costs due to rising oil prices and your registration fee will seem like a bargain as well. This is the perfect time to launch your first US-based international symposium Ė just make sure youíve talked to your meeting planner to ensure your site is selected so you donít miss the opportunity!

Tip 4:
Be Flexible!
One of the most powerful negotiating tools in this environment is your flexibility with dates, space and city. Even in the tightest market hotels will have holes to fill and if you can be less choosy about items such as location, room configuration and date pattern, there are still bargains to be had. Your meeting planner will be able to use their network to discover soft dates and gaps in occupancy so you can fill open space in a propertyís schedule and enjoy the related bargaining benefits.

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