We’re halfway through the year—an interesting time to pause and see if meeting trends forecast for 2015 are on target. One trend that seems right on the money is that planners must continue to accomplish more with budgets that remain fairly flat. As a result, your task continues to be seeking maximum value from your venue. To help with that goal, here are half a dozen strategies to make the most of your budget for upcoming meetings:
1. Plan sooner and save. Submit your dates, specs and details as soon as possible to the venues you’re considering. Early RFPs and flexible dates give you a better chance to negotiate, and let your vendors have the opportunity to keep costs down and customize events to your budget. Here at Kiawah Island, early planning also gives us possibilities to negotiate favorable terms with any outside vendors you require and to secure high-demand activities for your group in historic Charleston through our destination marketing company. Finally, when you plan ahead you can also book your flights early, and those savings can be significant.
2. Timing is important. Be on the lookout for hot dates, special offers and off-season rates, which can really increase value if you have flexibility with your dates. This summer, for example, a luxury oceanside meeting at Kiawah’s Five-Star Sanctuary hotel is available starting at just $399 per night. Off season, you can choose a meeting with spacious villa accommodations, which are available from just $99 per night. You’ll find RFPs for Kiawah Island’s hotel and villa meetings here.
3. Keep recreation onsite and make sure it boosts ROI. You’ll minimize transportation and other costs by keeping your group’s recreation onsite. Choose activities that have a tangible impact on your group’s morale, teamwork and productivity. Consider a full-service resort like Kiawah Island, where your choices include everything from championship golf or tennis to biking, paddle sports and classic games like volleyball. (To find out more about successful teambuilding on our beautiful South Carolina barrier island, please visit our blog and click on “View Previous Articles” to read our recent post titled Teambuilding in Outdoor Settings Produces Smiles–And Lasting Results.)
4. Book more, save more. If you have multiple meetings ahead, you’re in a great position to take advantage of volume buying with your vendors by booking more than one meeting at the same time. In addition to getting the best rates, volume buying may also give you more negotiating leverage for value-added features, such as complimentary room upgrades for your VIPs or savings on teambuilding activities or special catered events.
5. Check out casual dining options. Adding variety to your group’s stay with relaxed and fun dining can also trim your budget. While Kiawah offers one of the country’s premier steakhouses—an experience our groups always remember—they can also enjoy casual dining at our Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House or relaxed family-style Italian dining at Tomasso. For a genuine South Carolina treat, your team can gather by the Kiawah River for a traditional Lowcountry oyster roast, offered spring through fall.
6. Be green to save green. Being mindful of the environment can help shrink your bottom line. Here are just a few ideas: Recycle signage and other materials from previous meetings whenever possible. Book airport transfers in groups when you can. Use electronic communication instead of print. At your meeting, reuse decorative items and table florals. Also, ask the venue if it offers incentives for sustainable practices, such providing water pitchers instead of individual bottles of water for each attendee in your sessions.
Interested in an affordable meeting at the destination voted the #1 Island in North America by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler? That is our goal for your group. Our Director of Group Sales Marty Couch and his team at Kiawah Island Golf Resort are committed to delivering exceptional value for your event. To find out more about hosting your next meeting on Kiawah Island, please contact us at 800.576.1585.