The Cost of Meetings

One of the most frequent questions we encounter about our meeting room facility is cost: “What am I paying for, and why does it cost what it does?”

This question isn’t unique to us, and it’s a perfectly reasonable question. Many meeting planners are trying to find room in their belts to take care of the costs of doing business while watching the budget.

While we do our best to address questions, inevitably this is one area where people always want to know a little more. We’ve decided to proactively provide more detailed answers about our fee structure, and a case example unique to one business.

Before you ask ‘Why does this cost so much?’, it’s important to consider the elements that make up the total package and contribute to the fee. As the organizer, it’s also good to visit what your meetings are attempting to accomplish so you can organize for greatest return-on-effort (RoE).

À-la-Carte vs Package Deals

We’re big believers in providing à-la-carte pricing instead of a rigid package. The reasons for this are simple:

  1. Packages are often more expensive than required.
  2. They don’t fit many people’s needs.

The average hotel meeting package tends to be based on a meeting of a dozen people and is a full-day booking. This routinely costs around $80-100 per head, and the package is just that – a package. You don’t save anything for services you don’t use. If you need to present to the group, these packages usually only come with a clipboard; you have to pay extra for use of a projector or audio-visual equipment (usually an extra $5-10 per head).

Many hotel meeting facilities are dependent on the food services that come in the packages, because that’s where they make their money. They include continental breakfast, lunch, and coffee service, but they expect you to eat in the hotel. Some hotels offer excellent cuisine, but many don’t: this doesn’t leave you a lot of options if you want to use your own caterer, or take into account entertaining business guests and visiting speakers at area restaurants.

Unless the facilities have been recently renovated, many hotel meeting and conference rooms look like the set of a Molly Ringwood film. Hotels that do have renovated facilities charge commensurately higher fees for their meeting packages. You could be looking at put to $120 per head if you commit to a package.

Furthermore, if the hotel is anywhere in the Metro Vancouver core, daily parking can cost upwards of $35 a day per vehicle, with some parking lots being $17.50 for the first hour! How much of those transportation and meeting costs does your company commit to paying?

It’s not just a matter of cost. What if you don’t need a full-day booking? A big part of the real expense of off-site meetings is the lost opportunity cost in having your entire senior management team, or team leads, participating in training and closed-door meetings. Efficient use of time is as important as is the economy of your options.

We offer half-day bookings for our meeting room, and services are à-la-carte: you only pay for what you use. If you’re only looking for a half-day, with coffee service, you’re only committed to the room rental and $30-35 per head. For thirty people that’s a fee of $1750, instead of the $2400 if you went with a hotel package. Our facilities are fully-equipped with premium A/V equipment and are professional, clean, modern, and brightly lit.

RoE: Recurring vs Full-Day Meetings

While you’re weighing the costs of your meeting, consider holding your meetings as more frequent, recurrent meetings rather than quarterly full-day meetings. Since 2010, charge-out rates for professional services have continued to rise.

This is all about RoE: consider the cost of having your senior resources tied up in meetings when they could be more efficiently engaged in working.

Let’s take the example of a project management firm: Charge-out rates for experienced project managers range between $175-$350 an hour; split the difference and call it $225/hr. If you’ve got 30 project management professionals engaged in a meeting for eight hours that’s a whopping $54,000 a day in lost productivity.

If you’re only holding meetings every three months, chances are there’s a lot to cover, and the more bodies that participate, the higher the chance exists that questions and discussions will slow the pace. It may end up taking you three or four days to get through all the relevant topics. These types of meetings are routinely held so that the executive and management teams are able to get on the same page.

If you’re able to hold smaller management meetings bi-monthly (for example: a half day every other Friday) and keep the checkins between teams more frequent, you’ll not only be able to get through the quarterly meetings more quickly, but you’ll likely also get ahead of any risks before they get to the level where the executive team needs to engage.

You benefit by having lower overall meeting expenses, improved communication, and lower lost opportunity cost; by keeping the highest bill members out of unnecessary meetings and discussions you free them up to focus on driving value and strategy.


The Deeley Benefit

We are able to accommodate business meetings, lectures, and seminars for up to a hundred people in our meeting space, and we benefit from being close to restaurants and lounges for entertaining business prospects, guests, and dignitaries. We have relationships with several high-profile caterers as well.

Deeley Exhibition centre has ample free parking, is conveniently located adjacent Highway 1, and is accessible by transit. We are fully accessible and wheelchair friendly.