Helpful Tips after the Party is Over.

It was all well and good on December 31st, when we raised our glasses and toasted in the New Year with all sorts of resolutions.  You know…lose weight, save money or even simplify your life.  And now here it is January and we are all doing our very best to abide by those life-changing resolutions during these dark, cold days of winter.

Even at work, you are charged with keeping your event budget the same in 2015, yet costs are already rising around you in the first few weeks of the year.  Room rates are up and suppliers are inching their costs higher while you are still working with the same budget dollars.   The meetings haven’t been cancelled, which is good news from the past few years, but running lean during those years is taking its toll.

Welcome to 2015, it is time to RETHINK. Everything.

Rethink is a filter for decision making which can help you save money, time and, quite honestly, simplify your professional life.  It is also one of the strategies for more sustainable meetings. Take a moment to take a look at each and every event budget item and ask these questions:

  • Is it necessary to do this?
  • Is there a better way to achieve the same objective?
  • Have we reviewed our options for this product or service in the last six months?
  • What other use could it have?
  • How will this item help my event reflect the values of my organization?

It’s time to challenge the status quo of, “We have always done it this way.”  Today’s meeting environment is challenging that notion on every level.

To get the wheels turning, one shining example of Rethink is the Unitarian Universalist Association Eco-Zone.  If you’ve ever watched shows move in and out of an exhibit hall, you may have thought to yourself: Why don’t they just use the same carpet and set up?  Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper?  In a very innovative move, UUA cooperated with the Presbyterian Church General Assembly to reduce their mutual event footprints by agreeing to work with the same general service contractor over back-to-back events.  Collaboration in planning allowed both organizations to save set up fees and eliminate freight shipping by using the same carpet, drape and room layouts.*

Other examples of Rethink are:

  • Eliminating the need for shuttles by choosing a meeting location either walkable or on a mass transit line close to shopping, restaurants and lodging. Giving participants pedometers and holding a competition may help with them with their weight loss resolutions, too.
  • Offering fair-trade coffee and fresh local food as a sponsorship opportunity will enhance the well-being of participants without adding to your bottom line. It also makes the sponsoring organization look good.
  • Removing the line item for conference bags from your budget completely. With tablets, apps, and smart phones, no one wants to carry around more promotional baggage anymore.  The savings are not only for the bags themselves but also for freight shipping, drayage, event staff to handle them, registration space and removal of leftover product after the event.

Once you put on your ‘Rethinking Cap,’ the possibilities are endless.   When saving money, technology and sustainability are your closest allies.  After our transition to paperless event production this fall, we found ourselves with hundreds (literally) of binders, file folders, filing cabinets, and other office equipment designed to manage paper flow we were no longer using thanks to technology.  Schoolhouse Supplies, a free store for local teachers, was delighted with our contribution.  In 2015, this budget item was significantly reduced.

Our entire team brainstormed new ways of producing events more efficiently, economically and environmentally responsible.  This year enroll your staff, vendors, partners and sponsors as you Rethink your events to increase profitability, innovation, and a new way of doing business.  Keeping those New Year’s Resolutions may be easier than you think!