Category Archives: Frugal Planner


Fly High with Airline Savings

While some airlines have dropped out of the meetings business, others haven’t. Those that remain – including American, Delta, and Continental – each have special offers. They include:

American Airlines

Groups of 10 or more traveling to the same destination can take advantage of special discounts. If travel dates are confirmed, the airline can guarantee a fare up to 11 months in advance, block the space, assign seats, and delay ticketing requirements. American also guarantees competitive fares from different geographic originations to one destination.

American Airlines destinations include more than 250 cities in 40 countries where American, American Eagle® and AmericanConnection® fly across the country and around the globe. The airline is also a member of the oneworld® Global Alliance and can arrange group travel discounts to more than 700 destinations in the oneworld network.

Groups can also receive reduced rates for Avis® car rentals.  Click here for more information.

Delta Air Lines

Through its Delta Meeting Network®, this airline offers discounts off published fares and competitive Zone Fares for groups of 10 or more on all Delta, KLM/AirFrance and Alitalia “Delta coded flights”, Delta Connection Carriers and “Delta coded” code-share partners AT/OK/UH. Discount rates can be used three days before/after a meeting for events in the United States and Canada and up to seven days before/after a meeting in all other countries.

Discounts can be based on single events or multi-meeting agreements. Delta also awards one free ticket for every 40 tickets purchased. Zone Fares offer flexible rules and make it simple to manage airline costs.

With its unsurpassed global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 369 destinations in 67 countries on six continents. Click here for more information.

Continental Airlines

Continental’s GroupWorks program offers special benefits for groups of 10 or more passengers traveling together. GroupWorks provides a flat rate for the group, priority check-in, priority boarding, and priority baggage service.

Continental’s MeetingWorks program offers special discounts to attendees of conferences, meetings, or events with 20 or more passengers traveling from multiple origins to one destination. MeetingWorks provides percentage discounts off airfares and credits redeemable for travel certificates, upgrades, and more.

Continental Airlines is the world’s fifth largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 2,600 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 132 domestic and 137 international destinations. Continental is a member of Star Alliance, which overall offers more than 21,200 daily flights to 1,172 airports in 181 countries through its 28 member airlines. With more than 40,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with its regional partners, carries approximately 63 million passengers per year.

Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture. For nine consecutive years, FORTUNE magazine has ranked Continental as the top U.S. airline on its “World’s Most Admired Companies” airline industry list. For more information, click here.

Frugal Meeting Planner’s Guide to Saving Money

What’s ahead for 2009? Nobody knows for sure, but it seems certain that it will be a year to save money wherever possible, anticipating probable declines in meeting attendance, exhibits, and sponsorships.

With that in mind, presents the following money-saving meeting tips gleaned from the popular Stellar Tip Archives on

If you have a number of events to book within a 12 month period and most of the attendees at each event are unique, use the same host city and hotel to leverage buying power. There are other advantages as well, particularly relationships with vendors where they learn your expectations, you learn (after event 1) what should be improved upon and you are not reinventing each event, saving you time and dollars.
Submitted by: Sherry Cummins, Enterprise Events Coordinator, with Con-way Inc. Ann Arbor, Michigan

AV is more and more necessary in today’s meeting environment. AV has come to be in the double digits of my budget. Know that this too is negotiable and event planners can use outside companies to supply the AV, not just the in-house provider! Know the choices and options to negotiate!
Submitted by: Keri-Dawn Selinger, Director Events & Programs, with The Likeable Lawyer, Austin, Texas

When negotiating your contract, make sure you include into your negotiation for the hotel to comp hanging of three or four banners. If you designate your location on the contract you are limited and the cost of rigging can cost you more money. If you write on the contract, “client to chose locations of banners,” you can save yourself thousands of dollars of rigging costs.
Submitted by: Madeline Cancel, Conference and Event Director, with Benchmarc360, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia

If you’re having a reception, pass/butler the more expensive items (you’ll be able to make them last longer and save money), don’t set plates on the display table – use only napkins (this will ensure your attendees get to sample all the offerings but won’t walk away from the display station with a mound of food) and stick with beer and wine at the bar
Submitted by: Debbie DeJacques, Senior Manager, with GMA, Washington, DC

If your budget for breakfast is tight, ask the catering director to cut your pastries (muffins, bagels, etc.) in half. They go a lot farther, as some people will tend to take a smaller piece, especially in this “carb-aware” era!
Submitted by: Laura Johnson, VP, Conferences, with Market*Access, Arlington, Virginia

Save money on the beverage bill – when I do my BEOs I let the manager know at that time that I would like to be with the beverage manager when they tally the bars and empties. Liquor is counted by tenths of a bottle and then billed accordingly, If I disagree with a count and the measurement is changed it could be the equivalent to 10-12 drinks. It also keeps the beverage manager on his toes! I have saved hundreds of dollars just by checking the bars before the totals are finalized.
Submitted by: Stacy Wald, Director of Meeting Events, with Orthopaedic Asoociations, Towson, Maryland

When negotiating best rates with a hotel, try to find other meetings being held in the hotel and see what kind of rates they are getting. I usually simply “Google” hotel name, location and “conference” or “convention.” This gives you good negotiating power.
Submitted by: Victoria Umin, Project Manager, with CSCA, Winnipeg, Manitoba

When working with a limited budget for a full day of meals I provide my total dollar amount to the chef or catering manager and request that they customize menus for me, keeping in mind any specific requirements I have for each event. This allows them to use seasonal or local specials, piggyback onto other events being held that day, take advantage of specials offered by their food suppliers, and offer smaller, healthier portions. I stay within my budget, my attendees are offered healthier options, and the chef is able to use some creativity instead of the same old banquet menus. It’s a win-win for all.
Submitted by: Kathleen Zwart, Management Development Specialist, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

Rather than pay the exorbitant prices for bottled water at our breaks, I have the hotel bring pitchers of ice water with bowls of lemon slices. The participants love the added lemon and it prevents them from stashing 2-3 bottles of $4 water in their purses when they leave.
Submitted by: Linda Testa, Course Coordinator, with AO North America, Paoli, Pennsylvania