Having just been appointed as the event management agency for a new client’s international conferences, they asked us to look at an event that had already been set up in Washington DC as they were struggling to fit the menus and activities they wanted into their budget.
With our knowledge of the costs in Washington we couldn’t understand why there was a problem as the allocated budget should have been more than enough to return a great programme.
Our Director of Operations, Claire Bowley, flew to Washington to investigate. The following points illustrated the key problems and how they were solved to create a great event that came well into budget:
The budget set up by the in-house team was very basic. Some of the pricing was inaccurate and it was incomplete – both supplier costs and also client expenditure had not been included for basic items such as staff costs to attend the event:
The budget was re-built from scratch, all pricing was checked and updated and we ensured that all items of expenditure were included (such as staff travel, courier charges, gifts, printing, speaker fees, registration fees, credit card fees etc.).
The budget was then nearly US$50,000 in deficit.
We renegotiated the existing hotel contract, this was only possible because of the amount of business we were placing with the hotel group annually and because we built an excellent working relationship with the hotel events team.
Next we looked at the costs of the social programme, which were well in excess of what they should have been. The client’s event team had used a DMC and we reduced the mark-ups they were charging as well as going direct to suppliers and negotiating costs to a more realistic level.
Finally, we used our existing relationships with audio-visual, translation and entertainment companies to get some great deals for the event.
At the end of the event we were able to show that we had reduced costs by US$55,000.