Meeting Planning Tip – Planning for an Event

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March 14  |  meeting and event planning resources  |   Andrew Maxwell

on-site staff at an event

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A meeting and event planner is always looking for ways that they can trim their budgets without affecting their overall program. Sometimes that task can be more difficult than it looks. Having been on the service side of the meetings and events industry for many years, I can confidently tell you that there are many ways to trim budgets without affecting the delegate’s experience.

Event Planning Often Requires Local Expertise for Input

When planning for an event, a seasoned meeting planner will, quite often, hire a local company (often referred to as a destination management company). Those that have been in the industry for some time now know all too well how crucial a local expert can be towards executing a successful event.

Meeting Planner Tip-Do Not Cut the On-Site Staff from Your Budget

From my experiences, I have found that quite often a meeting and event planner will ask that the on-site staff be removed from an event. And I have to tell you, I have no idea why this request is made so often. When you look at the overall budget of most events, the on-site staff does not does not make up a large portion of the budget. Literally they are a few hundred dollars for the evening. Yet, time and time again, it’s the one line item that I’ve been asked to remove.

And of course the planner is always right.

Obviously at the end of the day if my clients do not want to pay for an on-site staff then I’m obliged to honor that request. But I think this is a prime example of how someone can be penny wise and pound foolish.

And of course, once we have removed the on-site staff, there are not a lot of people that the guests can approach for direction. Quite often they will go to the meeting planner, our client, directly with questions. Ultimately that meeting planner will have to find someone with local expertise that can answer those questions. More times than not it has been a phone call to the on-call duty manager. So in other words 5 to 10 min. have probably gone by before that guest got their proper answer.

In addition to being a local expert, an on-site staff’s responsibilities can also include coordination of the event itself. For example, if the function is at a restaurant and the service is slow, the on-site staffs responsible to ensure that that is addressed before becomes an issue. Or perhaps they have to queue the transportation vehicles so that the guests are not waiting once the function is over.

So for those meeting and event planners reading this do yourself a favor. If you really need to trim a budget ask your event planner to break down all of the components of the event. Perhaps you can select different wines, review the food menu, etc.

But please, do yourself and your guests a huge favor and keep the on-site staff working the function.

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