Successful Meetings polled planners in late October of last year and found out a key nugget of information: Meeting net budgets are projected to get smaller this year as compared to last. The rationale is most budgets are expected to remain flat or slightly increase, but expenses such as hotels, airfare, F&B and renting audio visual equipment are projected to be on the rise.

So what oh what is a meeting planner to do? Below is the raw data as reported by Successful Meetings, as well as, some thoughts on how to keep your budget intact.  


How does your overall meetings budget in 2014 compare to 2013? 

  • ​42% said it was unchanged
  • 23% said it increased slightly
  • 22% stated it decreased slightly
  • 11% responded it decreased significantly
  • 2% said it increased significantly

With 75% of meeting budgets remaining the same or decreasing, is it any wonder planners are looking for more creative ways to increase sponsors or reduce expenses? 

What cost-cutting measures is your organization implementing in 2014? 

  • 47% are offering fewer optional activities
  • 43% are reducing their food and beverage budget
  • 30% are booking at lower-tier hotels
  • 26% are avoiding resort destinations
  • 16% are eliminating all optional activities

The emphasis here is on reduction or elimination of budget items instead of increasing revenue sources. 

If your organization is canceling a meeting in 2014, how are you maintaining the engagement levels? 

  • 39% are taking no action
  • 28% are combining meetings
  • 25% are increasing the level of internal communication
  • 24% are replacing the meeting with a virtual event
  • 19% are replacing the off-site meeting with an on-site meeting

Three of these items – combining meetings, increasing comm levels and moving the meeting on-site – are all positive initiatives to keeping the face-to-face element going and maintaining engagement levels. Doing nothing or replacing a live event with a virtual one is just going to continue to erode your C-Suite's confidence in the value of meetings. 

How does the number of meetings you will run in 2014 compare with 2013? 

Number of Meetings – Change Percentage
Type of Meeting More Meetings Less Meetings The Same
Virtual 49% 7% 44%
Hybrid 28% 14% 58%
Training 22% 27% 51%
Incentives 9% 37% 54%
Trade Shows 17% 34% 49%
Association 11% 29% 60%

With virtual, hybrid and training meetings taking off, it is important that your meeting room be armed with the right equipment to accommodate all attendees. One thing you will need to take a hard look at is the meeting venue's bandwidth to determine whether or not they can handle all the video requirements across the wireless network. Chance are you will need to look into a Wi-Fi network array rental unit.  

What is your projection for your attendee levels in 2014 compared to 2013? 

Number of Attendees by Percentage
Type of Meeting Increased Attendance Decreased Attendance About the Same
Virtual 44% 16% 40%
Marketing 33% 27% 40%
Training 33% 28% 39%
Association 19% 31% 50%
Trade Shows 19% 31% 50%
Sales 23% 29% 48%

Looking again to an increase of attendees with virtual and training meetings, it looks as if more individuals will learn how to do their job better at their desk through a series of webinars. 

I think the message conveyed in the two tables above is it is important to be aware of the lure of virtual, especially as a cost cutting measure.  For more on this, read this blog post: Virtual or In-Person Meeting: What Makes Sense When

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