Cost-Saving Tips for Meeting Planners: Printing

Here are some tips on how meeting planners can save money on printing for marketing materials, brochures, and more. Click here [2] to add your own tips, or to edit any of these.

  • Putting seminar materials on CD or making them available by download on the Web, not only makes sense from a cost standpoint, it also appeals to environmentally conscious attendees. Printing out reams of handouts and distributing them to attendee’s costs much more than handing out a CD that includes the same data. If attendees prefer hard copies, they can print out the information that they want from the office, but the rest can be viewed via computer.
  • Doing as much marketing via e-mail as possible will allow planners to save on postage and printing costs.
  • Send out a request for quotation to a number of quality printers. Every print job has different requirements, and every printer has different equipment, downtime, and overhead.
  • Learn the lingo. The clearer you are with your graphic design and printing needs, the more easily the printer can supply you with exactly what you need.
  • Use a standard quotation form, with all the variables (bleeds, reverses, number of copies, ink colors, paper thickness, timing and delivery, etc.). This way, you won't forget a crucial detail in the print job description.
  • If you are printing in several languages, or printing several versions of the same material, place the graphics and photos in the same place. Then have different versions of the text flow in the blank space and in one color. This way, the printer can do a large run of the whole job in several colors and then do several smaller runs in black ink, which is usually cheaper.
  • Consider photocopying. For fewer than 200 copies, consider color copying; for fewer than 500, consider black-only copies. With a professional graphic design, the piece can easily be as effective yet cost a fraction of the price of printing.
  • Submit materials on diskette or electronically with hard copy backups. Don't forget to indicate exactly which file it is, to save time and reduce errors.
  • Keep up with the latest technology. Always ask your printer if they have a suggestion for an easier, faster, or cheaper way to get the job done.
  • If your printing has a number of elements, think about using a printing consultant. Often, such consultants can find the best suppliers for the whole package of print jobs involved in a meeting.
  • Rent a photocopier on-site and ship your own paper with your supplies.
  • Try to copy back-to-back as much as possible for committee meetings and photocopy jobs. This reduces paper costs and shipping weight.
  • Use art students for graphic design.
  • Use postcards to promote your meeting.
  • When designing your printed pieces, use standard paper sizes.
  • Send large mailings to a mailing house for bulk processing. Send smaller mailings by mailing house at a substantial discount.
  • If you plan to produce a full-color flyer, try to place the color photos on one side of the page only. This will enable many printers to run one side on a two-color press, drastically reducing the costs without sacrificing the multicolor artwork.
  • Always send out price quotation specifications to several printers. Printing costs can vary dramatically.
  • Negotiate with the hotel's business center for bulk rate or discount on copies, faxes, and secretarial services.
  • Use the local CVB's photos, posters, promotional shells, meeting folders, and tourist information. Often these items are free.
  • Buy amenities and gifts directly from the manufacturer. Buy locally to cut the shipping costs.
  • Do the design and layout using your own software.
  • Prepare a timeline with deadlines that take advantage of the least expensive shipping rates.
  • Check post office regulations before creating mailings.

Sources: Jason Eggleston, operations manager, meeting logistics, American Society of Microbiology, Washington, D.C.; Barbara Dunlavey, CMP, CAE, executive director, Biomedical Engineering Society, Landover, Md., Vicky Betzig, CMP, founder, Meetings Industry Consulting, Brookfield, Wisc.; Christine Simpson, CMP, meeting planner, Gas Processors Association, Tulsa, Okla.; Gary Rosenberg, CMP, partner, Rosenberg and Risinger, Culver City, Calif.; Sandy Biback, CMP CMM Imagination+ Meeting Planners Inc.