Delegate Rates

‘I want something different, but not that different’ – creating the perfect conference package with advice from Andrew White.

Multi coloured chairs
Photo: Getty Images

Despite corporate event organisers wanting something different from the venue they choose for their conference or corporate powwow, they want to buy a standard package; a day delegate rate.

A day delegate rate is literal terminology; the cost per person to spend a 9am-5pm day meeting and networking. Corporates and agents like a day delegate rate as it’s simple to work out the financial impact of putting on an event from 10-10,000. More importantly it can be easily compared to other options or venues they may be considering for their event.
There needs to be a minimum number for a day delegate rate – this is generally 10 people. Any less and you are eating into your fixed costs.
The secret for venues is to ensure that there are no hidden costs; quite simply a day delegate rate should include:
• Arrival teas and coffees
• The exclusive use of a room for delegates to meet in
• Water for the delegates
• Pads and pencils for each delegate
• Elevenses
• Lunch
• Afternoon refreshments
• Basic tech for presentations from a laptop.
Pricing up a day delegate rate with these core components enables organisers to telephone four or five venues and hotels in their desired area and get an idea of cost. It goes without saying costs reflect the standard of property; a local restaurant with a private dining room, a 4* chain hotel or a landmark property will give a very broad range with costs from £20 per delegate to £90. Bear in mind too that in London it’s widely accepted that these rates are + VAT.
Competitor venues generally have a comparable rate; however, they differentiate their offering with value adds or tweaking their offering. When it comes to planning your day delegate rate, some of the things to look at to differentiate yourself could be:
Arrival teas and coffees
With healthy eating at the top of the agenda consider adding in smoothies. Biscuits and muffins are great additions, but also think about your guests. Do they really need to be carb loaded before the first session?
The exclusive use of a room for delegates to meet in
It goes without saying the room needs to be big enough for your guests. Natural daylight is often a decider and try and keep decor subtle. Meetings will often involve brainstorming sessions so consider the fact that large flip charts sheets may be Blu-Tacked to the walls. It may be worth investing in a rail system to stop unsightly marks.
Two women working
Photo: Getty Images

Water for delegates

Bottled, tap or home spring – water is a must and an absolute requisite. Bottles cost and tap doesn’t but a home spring is infinitely more attractive.
Much like arrival teas and coffees, think about health. Also consider that delegates have already had at least two hours of presentations and therefore may be getting weary. Ginger shots work well and a plentiful selection of teas is good too. As for coffee, we’ve become very used to barista service so make sure your caffeine is good quality as all too often delegates’ main gripe is about the coffee.
Three course formal affairs don’t really fit with today’s more laid back lifestyle. Therefore a buffet style service or sharing boards are the way to feed. Where possible use the local supply chain and for sure use market fresh seasonal produce. Seasonal is more plentiful and plentiful means more cost effective. Build the menu plant-based upwards – all too often meat has been the focus. There’s no longer the need to provide meat for 100 per cent of delegates due to the huge growth in a flexitarian lifestyle. Plant-based, vegetarian dishes are the bigger hitters and can be cheaper on the bottom line than beef. Wine, unless specified by the organiser, is a no-no.
Afternoon refreshments
Light and healthy are again the order of the day. And think about different beverage options such as iced tea or iced coffee. Ice-creams work too and can be a deal breaker if a buyer is comparing your property with another.
Basic tech for presentations from a laptop
Most people will want to present from their laptop and therefore it’s imperative that you have the right kit. And most importantly a person who understands how to use it! Corporates have a good habit of forgetting how technology works when they are away from the office.
Day delegate rates, eight hour rates, and conference packages are for daytime events. If you have accommodation available you may look at creating a 24 hour rate. This simply includes accommodation, dinner and breakfast.
It goes without saying you need sufficient people to provide great service both front of house and back of house. And always see what your fellow properties are offering as competitor analysis of pricing and packaging will help create a realistic price.
When it comes to creating a day delegate rate, standardisation is the watchword – make it easy to buy. But be different in the components that you offer; after all corporates want something different, but not that different!
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