These days, when every dollar seems to count more than ever, there are many ways that meeting planners can put together meetings and trade shows for the right price—without attendees knowing the amount of cost cutting involved. And for some, that extra effort to create value allows for creativity.
“The keyword is flexibility,” says Jerri Lane, senior vice president, sales and marketing of the Seattle CVB. “The second keyword is imagination.
“If you are set up to incorporate both elements,” she continues, “there’s opportunity to have a wow factor without spending a lot.”
Creating a meeting of value begins with scheduling and site selection. Planners can find off-season rates to suit their event someplace in the West just about any time of year, if they’re flexible on location. In Palm Springs, May through September are the bargain months—without the soaring temperatures of summer.
April is another time of value in the destination, says Rob Osterberg, director of sales of the Palm Springs Desert Resort Communities Convention and Visitors Authority.
“Coachella [the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival] and Stagecoach Festival music events impact the properties severely during the Thursday to Sunday time frame during April, so they need more business Monday to Wednesday,” he says.
Although April weekends are particularly impacted, Osterberg says that Sunday through Thursday is always a need period throughout the year.
In Scottsdale, Ariz., where similar bargains can be had from May through December, Kelli Blubaum, director of convention sales and services at the Scottsdale CVB, recommends choosing properties that aren’t as famous as some of the resorts but are, as she says, “packaged very nicely without the extra fees.”
For example, she suggested the Chaparral Suites, which sits on the edge of downtown.
“The hotel offers free airport pickup, full breakfast and a manager’s cocktail hour,” she says.
The choice of destination can have a dramatic effect on a bottom line.