How finding cheaper accommodation can help you get your conference trip approved

If you go on a lot of business trips and your budget is tight, choosing the right place to stay can be a difficult choice, especially when it’s for a major conference or exhibition. Networking is hugely important for some businesses so keeping costs as low as possible means you can attend more events. Typically major events can cause surrounding accommodations to ramp up their prices, as they know people will be too lazy or too tired to travel further and therefore are willing to pay a premium for the convenience.

Major cities around the world are known to do this, such as the major tech expos or comic conventions in the United States and London, with accommodation booking out months in advance.

Smaller regional areas, with fewer options can also completely sell out at premium prices when they have their town’s major annual event. For example, Darwin for a few years saw a surge in booking from overseas workers who were working on local gas plants as demand was so high.

The following tips can help you avoid disappointment for your conference trip.

  1. Book in advance. This is quite obvious, but most conferences are announced up to a year in advance and yet many people still seem to decide that last minute bookings are optimal. To be fair this can often be due to budgeting restraints, and internal approval processes. Other barriers to early bookings can be down to people wanting to know more about the speakers before they commit. But if you are adamant that you’re going to go to this each year, you can start planting your seeds early. Not only will you get cheaper accommodation, but you might also get early bird discount tickets and cheaper flights as well.
  2. Shop around. There’s a multitude of different websites out there for comparing prices for accommodation. These sites also have different discount codes and booking rates so shop around for the best deal. There are also different types of accommodation. There’s more than just hotels and motels out there. Most cities also offer serviced apartments and private short-term holiday rentals.
  3. Try booking direct. Comparison sites often offer discounts, but they will also take a commission on your stay. Sometimes if you go direct and call the place, they might be able to do something even better, especially if they’re a smaller operation. Sometimes the bigger websites will outrank the official hotel website in Google, so it might take a little digging to find it.
  4. Stay further out. If you want to extend your trip without paying the higher nightly prices, you might like to stay a little closer to other things you’re interested in. Some cities with good public transport will still get you there quickly and cheaply. Ride shares are other viable options for getting around cities. If you are going to an event at the Melbourne Convention Centre but are also interested in going to the Queen Victoria Market and the Melbourne Museum, you might choose accommodation near the Royal Melbourne Hospital or Peter Mac rather than the convention centre itself and pay a reduced rate per night.
  5. Pre-purchase your public transport tickets, or ensure you buy one as soon as you get the chance. You don’t want to get to your accommodation only to find you can’t buy a ticket on the actual transport you’re trying to board and then scramble for an expensive taxi.

At the end of the day, where you stay isn’t nearly as important as what you learn at your conference or the deals you make. It’s super frustrating to have any form of annoyance right before a long day of conferencing, exhibiting and networking. It’s important to find and plan the cheapest way to make the trip work as this could be the difference between getting it approved and attending or not.

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