As a nonprofit conference center with a good portion of our clients being nonprofits, we truly understand the need to sometimes “do it on the cheap.”   While there is still some truth to the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” several small, seemingly insignificant choices in the planning stages may seriously affect your total venue charges.

  1. Do you have flexibility in the day of the week you select?  Mondays and Fridays are typically slower days for meetings and events, and venues are much more likely to discount meeting space on these days.
  2. Are you flexible on the room setup for your event?  Some meeting planners have in their minds that all training needs to be set up in classroom arrangement, with rectangular tables lined up in rows facing front.  In reality, adult learners are not big fans of this arrangement, and in some venues, this arrangement requires more labor to set the room.  If you are able to use banquet tables, for example, in the Mansour Center, with only chairs on the backs of the tables – what we term as “half rounds” – you save $75-$150 in setup fees.
  3. Do you really need to provide an elaborate breakfast for your guests who are arriving after quite likely having eaten breakfast at home earlier? Or could you offer a less expensive mid-morning break of assorted healthier snacks, such as yogurt, granola, breakfast bars, and mixed nuts, along with coffee, tea and juice.  Much less expensive than a hot breakfast or even a more elaborate continental breakfast with fresh fruit.
  4. Ask the venue for unlimited beverages based on the number of attendees, rather than the more typical charge by the gallon for coffee and tea.
  5. Ask if you can bring in your own flip charts, projector and/or laptops rather than renting from the venue. Big dollar savings potential here, although if you prefer the “turnkey” service, it might be worth it to avoid all the associated headaches with this piece of it.