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75+ Ideas to Cut Meeting Costs

How to stretch your event budget for food and beverage, event tech, ground transportation, and venues. Plus some big-picture ideas to reign in costs.

The costs of holding a meeting or convention have skyrocketed, but most planners find their budgets just aren’t budging—at least, not enough.

Surely, budget-blessing executives know that inflation, supply-chain challenges, and staffing shortages have driven up costs in their personal lives, from the grocery store to the gas pump.

Somehow, though, they don’t seem to understand that those same pressures are raising costs for almost every line item in the 2023 meetings budget.

According to a recent “Planner Pulse” survey from audiovisual and virtual-platform provider Encore, meeting professionals are facing increases in most of the major meeting-expense categories. Almost half said they anticipate at least some increase in hotel room rates, while a similar percentage expect costs to rise for audiovisual and event tech services.

Another study, this one by the Global Business Travel Association, found that the total cost per attendee is already about 25 percent higher than it was pre-pandemic—and is expected to bump up another seven percent in 2023.

Mike May, president of Brightspot Incentives & Events, said he tells clients to expect increases of around 30 percent for airfares, 20 percent for guest rooms, and 10 percent for food and beverage.

Laying out these numbers might help make your case. But for every organization willing to adjust meeting budgets to the new landscape, there’s another with a decision-maker who wants an amazing 2023 event on a 2019 budget.

We can’t explain that disconnect. But we’ve got more than 75 tips to help make your bare-bones budget work, with a focus on four areas beyond air fares: food and beverage, event tech, ground transportation, and venues, plus some big-picture ideas to reign in costs.

Need to Cut the Meeting Budget? Start with the Big Picture
Don’t sweat the small stuff (yet).

Choice Cuts for Food and Beverage Savings
F&B prices are through the roof, but with some careful and strategic planning you can stay on budget and still delight attendees.

Take a Swipe at Event-Tech Costs
As the cost of AV and event technologies continues to rise, planners need to get smarter about what the really need and how to get it at a fair price.

On the Road to Ground-Transportation Savings
Whether you’re booking airport shuttles or buses for off-site events, it’s tough to put the brakes on rising costs.

Avoid the Venue Budget-Busters
Hotels are currently in the driver’s seat when it comes to meeting negotiations. However, flexibility and asking the right questions will help you book the right property for your event.

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