At a time of continuing economic pressures, the nation’s meeting planners are taking concrete steps to reduce costs, according to a new survey of corporate meeting planners conducted by GO Airport Express, the ground transportation company that serves Midway and O’Hare International airports.
Nearly 70 percent of the survey respondents reported negotiating more aggressively with hotels within the past year to reduce fees, and include extra services such as transportation. Nearly half have negotiated multi-year deals designed to offset expected cost increases for corporate travel. Not surprisingly, about 80 percent of the respondents in the GO Airport Express survey cited price as the most important criteria when selecting a city for their events.
In the last 12 months, 20 percent have eliminated or reduced the number of meetings held annually or reduced the number of days for each gathering to save money, an approach the same percentage said would apply to future meetings. Nearly one-third of the survey group also reduced the amount spent on meals.
“With the U.S. economy expected to face continuing problems well into 2009, meeting planners feel a need to address the top-line costs of attending or hosting trade shows in order to make them more cost effective,” says GO Airport Express President John McCarthy.
GO Airport Express polled about 300 meeting planners, who collectively were responsible for coordinating meetings in more than 35 cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Most of the respondents (61.9 percent) plan meetings outside of the area in which their companies are located, an indication that the need to better manage corporate travel costs is a major concern among the group.
Founded in 1853 as the Parmelee Transportation Company, Chicago-based GO Airport Express currently transports more than 1 million passengers annually to and from Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports. Its door-to-door services are offered to and from downtown Chicago, as well as most Chicago neighborhoods and its surrounding suburbs. It is also a founding member of GO Airport Shuttle, offering transportation from more than 100 airports worldwide. For more information or to book transportation online visit www.airportexpress.com.