7 Points to Ponder for Conference Event Budget Talks

Budget Talks?It's that time of year, again. Time to sharpen our pencils and get ready plead our case for 2012 conference events & meetings spend. No doubt, your CFO is locked and loaded. How about you? Are you ready?

Here are 7 points to ponder for conference event budget talks:
  1. Strategy & Mission
    Many organizations are making major strategy shifts and fine-tuning their value proposition. Is this happening at your organization? If so, is your event strategy and mission still in lock-step alignment with this vision? What adjustments can you make to ensure YOU and your events are delivering best possible value in 2012?
  2. Revenues
    In the first two quarters of 2011, the economy showed signs of recovery. Then in Q3, there were a few more hiccups. How's your organization fairing revenue-wise? What impact do conference events have on this picture? Are you working with the latest and greatest event ROI calculations? Be ready to connect the dots, substantiate claims AND support new budget requests with realistic and firm revenue projections.
  3. Costs
    How are you tracking against 2011 meetings & conference event spend forecasts? What steps are you taking to keep costs in line and mitigate risk? Were you successful in negotiating more favorable contracts with hotels and convention centers? What additional concessions did you capture? How might you revisit existing contracts to better protect your organization and steer clear of attrition penalties in the future? 
  4. Staff
    Again, with promising signs in the first half of 2011, organizations eased up on constraints and even started hiring. Concerns in Q3 caused some to re-institute hiring freezes. Is your team adequately staffed to address critical needs? If you're running leaner than you'd like, what impact might this have on profitability? Can you quantify it in dollars & cents? How might you invest in professional development NOW to help your staff drive even more value in 2012? Do you have the RIGHT people on your team? Are they engaged in the RIGHT roles?
  5. Attendees (& Other Conference Event Stakeholders)
    Is your conference event audience growing, shrinking, or remaining about the same? What particular events show greatest promise? Which ones cause greatest concern? How might you change the mix to improve performance? How do sponsors and exhibitors factor into this equation? Are you exploring the hybrid event model to reach new virtual attendees? How are attendee expectations changing and how might you best capitalize on these changes?
  6. Technology
    What investments are you making to improve productivity, control costs, AND enhance the conference event experience? What payback are you seeing from these tech investments? Are you making best use of low and no-cost applicatons, too? (The Cvent Supplier Network has helped thousands of conference event planners to reduce costs, while enhancing processes and performance.) What impact is the Internet Revolution having on your world? How might you better leverage social media channels to improve financials in 2012?
  7. YOU
    Do you enjoy your job? This isn't a fluff question. Your ability to lead, motivate and inspire depends greatly on your mindset. Are you emerging from a particularly demanding period? Do yourself a favor and find a day or two to step away and recharge your battery. Focus on the possibilities, dare to dream of what better might look like, and this will fuel your plan (& resolve) to make 2012 your best year yet.
Last year, I indulged in a more light-hearted approach to this budget dance. Looking for a little comic relief? Try this: Top 10 Lines for Event Budget Talks.
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