Hedge against Budget Risks

Planning a meeting or a conference in Shanghai during the World Expo 2010 from May 1 to October 31 might be a risky business.

Prices are already going up. For instance, published fees in July 2009 for a daily rent of a 45-seat coach were ranging between CNY1,000 (US$147) and CNY1,200 (US$176). Currently, the daily rental fee for the same vehicle in the six months of the Expo is up to CNY2,400 (US$352).

That is a stunning 100 percent increase and we hear it may be just the beginning. Rates for other professional services, including qualified part-timers, AV operators and technicians, are expected to rise as well.

How does an event planner hedge against the risk of uncontrolled raising prices in key components of the budget?

• Do your homework and research the most efficient way to secure the right service

For example, the supply of 19-seater Toyota Coaster is limited in Shanghai. This vehicle is the Chinese government’s favourite. So it is wise to plan with other vehicles.

Select venues that will be less affected, distance from the Expo site could an indicator in this case.

• Book, sign a contract and pay the deposit well in advance

The usual long lead time to a conference – six months or more – could be an extra advantage to secure reasonable rates. It is important to let the client know that payment terms and conditions will be extremely critical in this scenario.

• Select a reliable partner in Shanghai

Whether it is transportation, accommodation or other services, it is critical to rely on a formal agreement with clear and transparent clauses.

In a city where everybody claims to be able to do anything, legal accountability is a key feature to consider when selecting a partner.

• Insert an additional line in the budget for unforeseeable events

Compile a list of reasons for this emergency pocket money and reassure the client that if unused, the sum will be given back. This shows a thought-through approach and provides extra room in case of last-minute emergencies.


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