EXHIBITOR Magazine is reporting that up to 33 percent of exhibit managers plan to cut staff travel/lodging expenses in the year ahead. Many exhibit staffs are being charged with doing more with fewer resources. This can increase stress on staff and lower morale — just at the time when you need it most! Here are a five ideas as suggested by EXHIBITOR Magazine and Vector Expo Group to help you better cope with both internal and external pressures for your trade show planning:
1. Staff Education. Make sure the staff understands your policies regarding per diems and expense reports. Work with your staff to make sure that everyone is on board with the rules and will adhere to them. Treat this as a team building exercise so that everyone knows what is expected. You could even provide an incentive for the team to set goals for cost savings. You can also pool your knowledge so that everyone is clued in on baggage handling, overweight fees and other items that can increase your overall expenses.
2. Stop at a grocery store en route to your hotel. You can buy bottled water, snacks and other sundry items for a fraction of the cost that hotels or convention center concessions will charge. If you are supplying items for a number of staff, you can save some significant money this way.
3. Always negotiate hotel rates. If you are booking a block of rooms, you may be able to negotiate a better rate. Also, many hotels align themselves with upcoming conventions and if you plan sufficiently in advance, you can often save money. It is always worth your while to compare the prices for the block of rooms that you would typically reserve to the official trade association rates to make sure you are getting the best deal for your staff.
4. Book your travel to and from shows as early as possible. Last-minute decisions to attend and exhibit at a show can rack up hefty fees on both airline travel and hotels. By planning your trade show travel plans at least six months in advance, you can save significant money and decrease your stress level by not scrambling at the last minute.
5. EXHIBITOR Magazine’s Candy Adams recommends considering alternative forms of transportation such as taking the train or renting a car. With all of the hassle of airline travel (not to mention the security lines, airline fees, transportation to and from the airport, etc.), both of these ideas can provide you with more flexibility, ability to connect online, and usually lower costs.
I would like to know your ideas for how you cut travel-related expenses for your next trade show. Comments welcome!