So what’s the behind-the-scenes magic about the UK Meet money?
Like all of you, we’re interested in value for money. We know everyone has a million demands tugging at every pound/dollar we earn (or it feels like it!). The aim of the UK Meet Team is for us to have a great time, with everything available to all, without breaking the bank.
We’ve never sought to make a profit, though it’s not always easy to juggle things so the receipts and payments match up exactly. But, overall, at the end of the day? We’ve had a few years’ practice, and they usually do.
The only leeway we allow ourselves is to leave enough in the bank to pay the early deposit on the following event’s venue, as this is billed to us before we even start selling tickets.
Our general strategy goes like this!
- The attendee fees pay for all the meeting room facilities, and the daily refreshments including lunch.
- The Saturday dinner, and any Friday entertainment we arrange, is funded separately, and has to cover its own cost. That’s why we offer separate tickets, and make these events entirely optional.
- The money from sponsors covers the other running costs of the Meet.
Yes, it’s not just the free-flowing coffee and those free pads, pens, and mints! We have to cover a lot of other housekeeping things.
- The PayPal fees we are charged on all receipts.
- Event insurance, as extra security in case anything goes wrong on the day.
- Printed programmes.
- Site visit expenses, when we’re exploring potential venues for the next event.
- Planning meeting(s) expenses. Team members are scattered miles apart, and even though we deal with a lot of the organisation through email, there’s no substitute for getting together occasionally and thrashing out the details (ouch!).
- The souvenir memory sticks that authors and publishers so kindly contribute to.
- The AV equipment and displays – hotels will usually only offer the basic and we like to have our own arrangements to rely on.
- The branded and different coloured lanyards / badges / ID cards.
- Website registration (the minimum, as daily maintenance and updating is done by us).
Some of our treasured sponsors also fund specific items like the goody bags, the branded lanyards, and programme printing costs.
Then, once tickets go on sale, Charlie and I keep a monstrous spreadsheet of the tickets that are allocated and to whom, and I match up the money when it arrives in PayPal.
(If I say that quickly enough, it sounds like a complete breeze LOL).
This system for attendee payments works well enough for us, and at the moment we don’t envisage automating things any further. We like the personal touch of staying in contact with attendees as and when their payments arrive, and being on hand for any queries. We’ve kept the attendance at a similar level over several years, partly because we know what we can deal with efficiently and comfortably.
And like I said at the beginning – then we can all have a great time at the event itself!
Clare London, May 2019