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food money

Looking for ways to stretch your meeting food and beverage budget while exceeding your attendee expectations? Give these ideas a try!

The simpler, the better.
Often, hotel and convention center break packages are very “heavy,” not to mention pricey. Consider lighter options from the a la carte menu. For example, we’ve had great success with offering a variety of protein bars and fresh fruit for morning breaks. Simple, yet filling, and it won’t put your attendees to sleep!

Less is more.
If fancy break packages are your thing, consider guaranteeing less than your actual headcount. Often, extravagant breaks have a variety of options with large servings and attendees rarely sample everything. Don’t waste the food or your money.

Hold the dessert.
For smaller gatherings, request the dessert included in your lunch menu be brought out during your traditional afternoon break time.

All-day packages equal big savings.
A number of venues offer half or all day break packages, meaning one flat fee per person for all meal and break function(s). Meeting planners know how quickly the cost of bottled soda or water adds up, so if the package includes beverages for your program you’ll really save the green!

Schedule extended lunch hours.
This allows time for attendees to explore the host city and try the native cuisine while buying their own meal at a local restaurant. Or work with your destination’s CVB to arrange meal vouchers at area eateries. Say your budget allows you to spend $10 per person. You’d be hard pressed to find a venue that can accommodate such a budget, especially after taxes and service charges. However, a $10 coupon for guests to use at the restaurant of their choice means you stay within your budget your guests save money.

Drink responsibly.
Offering a cash bar rather than hosted bar is an easy way to save your dollars. If that doesn’t work for your event or client, consider drink tickets. Give each attendee a limited number of drink tickets and switch to a cash bar once the tickets are gone. Of course, give your VIPs a few extra tickets!

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With each New Year at AMPED comes the thick of meeting planning – budget management, exhibit sales, BEOs and, of course, sponsorship recruitment! While each client meeting is different, sponsorship support is vital to the success of any event.

Here’s a unique sponsorship idea
Attendee needs are constantly evolving, so it is important to remain open to new opportunities to enhance the overall meeting experience. These are busy people who are likely feeling the pressures of keeping up with business back at the office while they are away. What better way to put sponsorship dollars to use than helping attendees maximize their time out of the office?

Many registrants heavily rely on their phones or tablets to keep up on office activity. Don’t make participants go back to their hotel rooms to charge up. Recruit a sponsor for a charging station! Not just any charging station – get creative. Design a kiosk that will be similar to a coat check system. Let attendees walk away from their phones and hire an associate to manage the station so they feel secure in leaving their “lifeline” in trusted hands for a few minutes. How will I pay for a station attendant, you ask? Build the cost into the fee of the charging station sponsorship!

Attendees will be wowed at the convenience; meanwhile, sponsors will be thrilled with the opportunity to support a true registrant service. Make your meeting a wise investment for your sponsors! Feature the supporting company’s logo at the charging kiosk, display branded signage to guide registrants to the charging station, allow the sponsor the opportunity to run a video in the station throughout the duration of the event, or consider giving them an area for product literature.

This is just one example of the numerous things meeting planners can do to create a win-win situation for attendees, sponsors and clients. Increased sponsorship dollars means more flexibility to offer a high quality program. Quality programs equal higher attendance and continued growth makes the meeting an easier sponsorship “sell” the next time around.

Building sponsor relationships is not a simple task, but is definitely time and energy well spent. Ready, set, go!

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