Sips, Not Shots
By Jonathan Vatner
Open bars can be outrageously expensive and can leave attendees falling-down drunk. A system of drink tickets is one solution, but attendees might be annoyed at having to pay for extra alcohol. Instead, try setting up a wine tasting. Karen Shackman and Associates, a destination management company in New York City, brings together vintages from local producers to give attendees some local flavor while keeping their actual consumption to a minimum. Add some locally made cheeses and attendees will be raving.
The Frugal Planner’s Tip of the Week
By Jonathan Vatner
A key way to save big on meetings is to piggyback events, says Karen Shackman, president of Shackman Associates New York, a destination management firm. She recently chose the same menu for two back-to-back meetings, which got her a better price on the food and reduced the hassle of tasting for two separate menus. She recommends asking your hotel supplier what other groups will be meeting at the same time as yours; then, think creatively about what meeting elements – menus, A/V, transportation – you can share.
Adapting to the New Normal (excerpt)
By Steve Winston
Karen Shackman, president of Shackman Associates, a New York-based destination mangement and special events company, noted that, in New York, as eveywheree lese, companies have hd to adapt to the new economic realities.
Shackman mentioned the example of a large insurance company that held an incentive meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria this year. The company had booked the meeting and a large block of rooms sevaral years in advance — before the economic crash. “They didn’t want to cancel,” she said, “because they wanted to reward their people. So they designed a program that would cut costs while still being attractive enough to lure attendees. For example, they dropped the number of large group activities, and gave people more free time instead. Byt they were still able to achieve about 75 percent of the attendance they had planned for before the economy tanked.”
The reason, according to Shackman, is simple. ‘People want to come to New York,” she said. “It’s still the greatest draw in the world. And as it turned out, the fact that the meeting was here actually helped stimulate productivity among their people – they all wanted to achieve their goals, so they could come to New York.”
Shackman advises companies that one way to lower their costs would be to “piggyback” with other companies meeting in the sme hotel… for example, in F&B and audio-visual services.
She sounds a hopeful note, as well, about the coming year in the meetings industry, saying that over the past month or two she’s received more RFPs than for any similar period over the past several years.
Spectacular Events On A Budget (excerpt)
By Steve Winston
Karen Shackman, founder/owner of Shackman Associates, a New York City DMC, is finding ways to lower costs even in the Big Apple.
“We recently worked with two insurance companies on their meetings here,” said Shackman, “and we found a great way to reduce costs. They were scheduled back-to-back at the same hotel, with almost-identical program elements. So we chose the same food and beverage menu for both of them. That means we were able to purchase F&B for 1,800 people, rather than 900 each. The hotel could afford to give us a better price, because they saved on their own supply and delivery costs.”
Shackman also encourages planners to negotiate costs for large dinners if the audio-visual order is also large. And she’s had some success lowering 2009 meeting costs for her clients if they’ll also schedule for next year.
Incentives Go Undercover (excerpt)
By Jeanne O’Brien Coffey
For groups looking to be a little fish in a big pond, DMC Karen Shackman of Shackman Associates, New York, suggests Manhattan. “The sheer size of New York City offers incentive meeting attendees relative anonymity,” she says. “We have been able to schedule low-profile events that offer a unique experience to incentive audiences while avoiding unfair scrutiny and criticism.”
Not to mention that the deals in Manhattan right now are unprecedented, Shackman says. “Not only are hoteliers renegotiating room rates for incentive travel groups, restaurants and downtime attractions are more accessible and affordable than ever.”
For example, she says several notable French restaurants that would be wildly cost-prohibitive in the past are now offering special event options for mid-week groups. Shopping tours at high-end boutiques closed to the general public are featuring more designer and store discounts. Even museums are willing to further negotiate group admissions.
RE: Negoation (excerpt)
By Suzanna de Baca
This year has been one of the most challenging in Karen Shackman’s more than 15 years in the industry, says the president and owner of New York destination and event management company Shackman Associates. Many New York firms have been deeply challenged by the economic downturn, and scores of international clients who hold events in the city have slashed budgets dramatically.
“The keyword for 2009 has been flexibility,” Shackman said. “Negotiations are taking place between all parties in the industry. ”
Events Within Events
Make All The Right Moves (excerpt)
By Stella Johnson
Karen Shackman, president and owner of Shackman Associates, a DMC in New York City, revealed that there are several new trends taking place right now in Gotham City related to events within events.
Groups are taking advantage of mid-week deals at non-touristy restaurants to split into smaller working group luncheons.
Some associations that typically may have one big convention per year in a big city such as New York followed by multiple smaller meetings in other cities, are now combining all of these meetings into one big event in order to save money. “Again, this requires smaller working groups to split off into smaller venues within and away from the main site,” said Shackman.
Shopping tours for spouses now include more venues, more designers and more promotional giveaways, which drives additional retail traffic in Manhattan to offset reduced traffic from regular consumers in the current economy.
Down But Not Out
New York Event Pros Say There Is
Light At The End Of The Tunnel (excerpt)
“Our clients are still meeting and that is partially due to the fact that many meetings—especially large ones— were booked months, if not years in advance. The challenging economy has not altered the importance well-run companies place on face-to-face gatherings. [These companies] understand that incentive travel for top performers is more important than ever in a tough business climate. What has changed are some of the after-hours events that were once automatically part of the overall meeting budget. In 2009, attendees are receiving small stipends for activities such as shopping and dining off-site.”
New York – Flavors of the Empire State (excerpt)
New York City
Taking a bite of the Big Apple can be a daunting experience, with nearly 25,000 dining establishments throughout the city. One option is planning a meetingaround New York City Restaurant Week, with more than 250 restaurants participating—a cross section of the city’s culinary scene.
Manhattan itself is a haven for celebrity chefs, such as Daniel Boulud of restaurant Daniel and Bar Boulud, among others; Bobby Flay of Mesa Grill and Bar American fame; Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis New York; and Craft Restaurant’s Tom Colicchio.
“New York is the culinary capital of the world,” says Karen Shackman, president and founder of DMC Shackman Associates New York, offering culinary tours, dinners and events, as well as team-building options.
New York: Liberty Belle (excerpt)
by Alex Olliver
Karen Shackman of Shackman Associates…move[s] to provide programmes that allow guests to experience New York rather than merely observe it.
“There are a number of different areas we know people look to incorporate into any event – namely shopping, theatre, dining, culture or sports,” she says. “So we have worked with our extensive local contacts in each of these areas to develop exclusive customised experiences which give guests the true ‘inside track,’ rather than the same mass-market options they would find on the internet or through a hotel concierge.
152 Ways To Save (excerpt)
82. Consider scheduling parallel dinner menus with other conference groups at the hotel to reduce costs for all parties involved.
86. “Local flavor” packages, featuring wines from local vineyards or beers from local breweries, is less expensive than importing premium choice brands and exposes attendees to the local culture.
Do Event Planners Still Hold a Torch For the Big Apple? (excerpt)
By Brooke Jester
Karen Shackman of Shackman Associates shares this view, and it underpins the organisation’s move to provide programmes that allow guests to experience New York rather than merely observe it. “There are a number of different areas we know people look to incorporate into any event – namely shopping, theatre, dining, culture or sports,” she says. “So we have worked with our extensive local contacts in each of these areas to develop exclusive customised experiences which give guests the true ‘inside track,’ rather than the same mass-market options they would find on the internet or through a hotel concierge.”
“Depending on the demographics of the group, we could highlight alternative takes on New York – from the trendy to the arty, from classic New York to the hidden gems we save for our proposals. Clients are even visiting the amazing multicultural areas of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, which, not so long ago, even the locals didn’t fully appreciate. And for those groups with more than a few days, they can get out of the city entirely to experience different aspects of New York State – be they artistic, culinary, military, historical or otherwise.”
Breakfast Increasingly Means Business
For NYC’s Corporate Travelers (excerpt)
By Alexandra Alexeeva
Karen Shackman, president of independent meetings management firm Shackman Associates International, said, “An average New York City breakfast costs $16 or more, and the service fees are usually very high. In order to save money, companies often tend to move their morning events out of the hotels to the nearby diners and restaurants.”
In addition, a lot of companies are seeking unique meeting space in lieu of traditional meetings in hotel conference rooms. Last year, PRA New York held a number of original, catered breakfast meetings, in such venues as the Whitney Museum, the Museum of New York and in Gracie Mansion. PRA also combined an official business breakfast and a picnic on the water for one client by holding a meeting on The Zephyr, a luxury yacht, while cruising the Hudson and East rivers around Manhattan.
According to Shackman, the corporate demand for breakfast meeting spaces and services has changed not only quantitatively but also qualitatively.
“The nature of food that corporate clients want to see on their tables for breakfast has changed. Today, companies are looking for more healthy breakfast food: yogurts, fresh fruit and low-calorie muesli instead of heavy traditional meals,” Shackman said.
Pampering Gains a Following in the Big Apple (excerpt)
By Donna M. Airoldi
Karen Shackman, president of New York’s Shackman Associates International, finds that the traditional spas, such as Elizabeth Arden and Georgette Klinger, can move more people through. But she also has sent incentive clients to Cornelia, to the new Great Jones Spa in Greenwich Village, and the two-year-old Exhale, with Midtown and Upper East Side locales.