Government Connections - Summer 2013 - (Page 28)
THE MEETING MINUTE
Tips to Lower the Cost of Your Meeting
When You’re Worried about
By Virginia Hessels, CMP
North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System
BUDGET SEQUESTRATION IS
a U.S. law that was instituted to limit the
size of the federal government’s budget. This
law outlines procedures that involve setting
a ﬁrm cap on the amount of government
spending within certain categories as a way
to curb costs. However, if Congress later
approves spending that exceeds the caps,
an across-the-board spending cut is automatically imposed. The caps affect all of the
departments and programs in a category by
an equal percentage. The amount exceeding
the budget limit is held back by the Treasury
and not transferred to the agencies speciﬁed
in the appropriation bills.
On March 6, 2013, the House voted to
leave sequestration in place, but approved
a bipartisan bill to extend the continuing
resolution from March 27 to September 30,
2013 to keep the federal government from
shutting down. The bill also provides the
Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans
Affairs some flexibility to fine-tune the
Earlier in the year, the Congressional
Budget Office projected that under sequestration and Budget Control Act caps, DOD
spending will be reduced from $670.3 billion in 2012 to approximately $627.6 billion in 2013, a decrease of $42.7 billion.
Economists predict that sequestration will
slow the 2013 recovery of the U.S. labor
market, which, prior to sequestration, had
been predicted to produce approximately
750,000 more fulltime jobs.
Because many agencies are facing budget
cuts as part of the sequestration, management
may limit the number of off-site meetings.
The perception of management traveling
while employees are taking days without pay
will have a negative impact. Understandably,
government planners may be hesitant to book
conferences too far in advance and may need
to whittle away at their already lean budgets.
Smaller meetings will suffer paring down
from the same knife – or may be sliced out
of the budget completely. As a government
planner, how can you make do with less?
Across the country, planners will need to take
a hard look at their budgets, consider client
needs and come up with a win-win strategy.
For the foreseeable future, planners may
need to be more willing to consider secondtier cities or might choose dates that they
have traditionally avoided. They might consider using e-meetings for groups that do
not require networking. They might rethink
destinations and timing or meeting in an
airport hotel to save attendees money. And
now might be a good time to revisit which
days of the week are best for your meetings;
air travel is generally cheaper for Wednesday
flights and room rates are lower Sunday
Government planners are certainly not
new to squeezing and stretching every dollar and have become quite adept at getting
their money’s worth. It’s all part of the job,
and it looks like that won’t be changing any
WAYS TO CUT COSTS
• Encourage the use of e-agendas and agenda apps.
• If you’ve found a hotel brand that meets your needs, try negotiating a package deal for
your upcoming meetings, either using the same brand or family of brands.
• Reuse as many collateral pieces as possible: name badges, lanyards, signs, company
brochures. It’s cheaper AND it’s environmentally friendly.
• For smaller meetings (board, committee, etc.) within a larger conference, consider off-site
venues, such as restaurants. It gives attendees a break from the hotel and saves on F&B.
• Don’t forget the value of the concierge floor for staff, VIPs, etc. It’s a good idea to include
it in your contract as a perk.
• Use the in-house AV company if comparable to outside vendors to avoid transportation,
load-in/out, storage, etc. costs.
• Use your CVB to cut your upfront costs – your time is money, too.
• If approved by your agency ethics officer, take advantage of FAMs as site visits. Be sure to
scope out city attractions, public transportation, restaurants, family activities and shops
while you’re there – your attendees will want to know this information, too.
GOVERNMENT CONNECTIONS | SUMMER 2013
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Summer 2013
Dieting on a Per Diem
What SGMP is Doing for You as Washington Tightens its Belt
2013 National Education Conference & Expo Focuses on Education
Extending the Value of Your Events
The Meeting Minute
Government Connections - Summer 2013