Many firms have discovered that being more flexible and finding profitable ways to handle small group business they would have passed on a few years ago is vital to remaining afloat. During the quieter opening weeks of the New Year, it is important for event planners, meeting planners, and facilitators to devote some quality time to designing strategies to make programs and events scalable enough to serve a broader range of clients.
1. Explore Options for Reducing Program Length
Time is money. Boil each program or service down to its core elements and distinguish between essential and "nice to have" components. For example, a facilitated winter team building simulation is a lot of fun with outdoor recreational activities but with the right theming, these can be eliminated or the number of activities reduced without an impact on the integrity of the program or achieving objectives.
Quote based on the essential core elements and offer the "nice to dos" as upgrades.
2. Re-think Minimum Group Sizes
Minimum group sizes ensures a base income level. The downside is that for smaller groups, the per person price is higher. In the past, when corporate budgets were rich, clients understood that. With companies watching their bottom lines closely, price sensitive clients will be resistant to paying significantly more than the per price based on the usual minimum group size.
As an alternative, start with a blank sheet of paper and re-work your budgets. For example, if your minimum group size is 40, build a budget for 20 participants. Include all associated costs and a regional profit. Get a true picture of fixed vs variable costs.
3. Explore the Feasibility of "Unbundling" Some Services
- Give clients the option of handling photocopying and printing onsite.
- Some small clients may actually prefer to provide their own audio-visual support.
- Some clients may want to provide their own transportation or leverage their own existing supplier relationships
Just because a client opts to handle certain aspects of the event or program, this doesn't mean they are off your radar. Be sure to check in to see who is prime on each aspect of the program and verify that arrangements have in fact been made. Introduce yourself to the suppliers to ensure that everything run smoothly.
4. Monitor What the Pace Setters in Your Industry Sector are Doing
If they have permanently rolled back their pricing or introduced small group rates in response to changing market conditions, it's important to re-think your price structure.
Flexibility will be a key success factor for businesses for the foreseeable future. Taking the time to identify how you make programs and services more scalable can be an important strategy for making your services accessible to more clients.
Next week, I'll offer more specific strategies for making events scalable.
For more tips for working with small groups, also consult the Cvent Event Blog's posts with 8 Tips for Planning Small Team Meetings, Planners: 7 Team Building Tips for Small Teams, Small Meeting Secrets: Hotel Concierges, Small Meeting Secrets: Travel Directors, and Small Meeting Secrets: Private Guides.
Photo Credits: Aminimanda