Two things we know to be true… nobody is getting any younger and running meetings is not getting any cheaper.

This is a massive issue that plagues meetings year after year and it always seems that the simple fix is to increase fees – primarily on the exhibitor side. I believe, very strongly, that these vendor fee increases have to stop.

Exhibitors are getting more and more frustrated with rising costs, especially when foot traffic in the hall is not increasing at the same rate. The cost per lead is getting too high to be able to achieve ROI.

Below are some meeting elements I believe are high-cost, but low-value. Keep in mind, this is my personal opinion, but consider taking this list to your meeting committee to gain a stronger sense of whether these items can be cut from the budget. You would probably find useful information by surveying your previous attendees as well.
Badge printers
Super convenient? Yes. Totally necessary? No.
I recognize the desire to use this fantastic tool, but if you’re trying to cut expenses, this is one of those where we can suck it up and do the printing ourselves before registration.
Ann is going to scold me for this one as she is a big fan of soda on site, but we have all seen the ticket price on a single can. With hotels gauging items like soft drinks, my vote is water and coffee ONLY. Anyone who would like anything else has options in the hotel gift shop.
Unless a sponsor is providing breakfast that consists of more than bread, this is another “nice to have,” but an easy one to scratch off the list. At any rate, lessen the amount of food provided. Simply put, nobody is up and at ’em to eat the amount of food that is ordered. Then, by the time people do start coming in droves, the food is usually getting rolled out of the room by hotel staff.
This is another one that may ruffle some feathers and to be honest, I’m on the fence about it. If apps can cut down on your printing costs, great, but I also know that the developer fees can get really high. Plus, most meetings that utilize apps continue to print materials anyway. Until the development of apps is easier/cheaper and/or can completely replace printing, my vote is old school.
Pipe and drape
Depending on the size of your meeting, this isn’t always possible, but I have exhibited at small-to-medium sized events with pipe and drape when the 10 x 10 space, alone, would have sufficed.
Faculty members with high honorarium demands
This one, like some of the others, is a case-by-case situation. If you have a speaker that is critical to your meeting success, then there may be no wiggle room here. Additionally, this may only become an issue if there are multiple faculty members who are breaking the bank. Continue to keep your eyes peeled for up-and-comers who are engaging in innovative and interesting research and are excited to take advantage of any speaking opportunity regardless of honorarium. DO PAY PEOPLE WHAT THEY ARE WORTH! I am not recommending to under-value speakers; just make sure that everything adds maximum value and it makes sense for your goals.
Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
Sarah Breymeier:

-Sarah Breymeier