Small Meeting Secrets: Designing Scalable Events II

Scalable EventLast week, I discussed some of the factors that have made it necessary for event planners and facilitators to focus on designing or re-designing events that are scalable.

Some of the strategies discussed in that blog post may be all an event planner needs to scale an event to the degree that it is affordable. Here are a few other strategies to try in addition to the 4 suggested in Part I.

5. Source Smaller, More Affordable Venues.

This will reduce overhead and make it possible to reduce the per person price. Boutique hotels, suburban hotels, country inns in nearby towns, heritage venues, community centers, churches, and camps during off-season are a few cost effective options to explore. By carefully selecting venues that fit your theme, event planners can significantly save on decorating costs.

6. Offer Part of the Program or Event Onsite.

7. Remove the Food and Beverage Service from Your Minimum Pricing


  • give small clients the option of providing their own refreshments (some clients may opt to brown bag it for the onsite portions of the program)
  • offer separate food and beverage packages at various price point and let clients make selections from options that fit their budgets.
  • offer the option of half portions or smaller portions to save money

8. Source Smaller Suppliers.

Using smaller (and cheaper) suppliers is a viable option for some programs and services. Catering, pipe and drape, lighting, linen, china, and cutlery rental are examples of service categories in which event planners are likely to find a wide disparity in pricing.

9. Move the Event to a Smaller Venue Before the Confirmation Deadline for the Venue You Originally Suggested.

It is essential for meeting planners to scale events is when registration levels fall well below anticipated levels. Rather than cancelling an event, meeting or workshop outright, taking steps to scale them can make a big difference.

10. Co-Locate the Event or Invite Another Event to Co-Locate at Your Selected Venue.

You can likely get a discount from the venue and share marketing costs.

11. Select a More Affordable Food and Beverage Package.

For example, offer coffee, tea and juice in the morning instead of breakfast. Opt for soup and sandwiches or, in Asia, the Middle East or other parts of the world where this would not be well received, select bento boxes, falafel, or pita wraps for lunch one day. (In Europe try open faced sandwiches or deli sandwiches on hearty bread and rolls.)

12. Make the Event Paperless.

What ever the reason for scaling events, take time to complete the analysis in Part 1 of Designing Scalable Events and try some of the suggested strategies.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Kilgast

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