Miami, FL – June 2008 – Last month, Miami-based Landry & Kling released a survey that might just put some resort managers and hoteliers out of joint. Their latest pricing survey, a cost comparison between a 4-star all-inclusive cruise meeting and 4-star resort meeting, comes at a time when the meetings industry is divided by whether or not it’s being impacted by the weaker economy. But while the analysts analyze, it is a reality that marketing and event budgets are under much closer scrutiny. Cut-backs might not be as aggressive as in other industries, but the fact remains – meeting planners are looking for more value; they’re looking to deliver successful meetings and exceptional incentive travel programs with shrinking or landlocked budgets.

Landry & Kling’s cost comparison reveals a number of jolting facts; holding a 200-person meeting aboard ship is almost $100,000 cheaper than on land. Or that a cruise event virtually eliminates the F&B line item, which can account for almost 40% of a meeting’s budget. And from an intangible perspective, meetings at sea offer participants a far-wider variety of activities, experiential programs and exotic choices in one place – all designed to produce a highly memorable (and productive) experience. That is, after all, the purpose of corporate meetings, team building events and incentive travel programs in general.

According to Jo Kling, president of Landry & Kling and pioneer of the meetings at sea concept, planners looking to get more bang for their buck should also consider cruise events as a great way to structure a European travel incentive program. Contracted in US dollars instead of the obscenely costly Euro, planners won’t lose any sleep over currency fluctuations.

A Tidal Wave of Savings
While hosting corporate events and incentive programs aboard these “floating hotels” was an underutilized option in the past, the current climate is also propelling smaller and mid-sized companies looking for value-add programs without a painful price tag, to get on board.

Landry & Kling’s cost comparison is now available by clicking here.

With almost 13% of 2007-’08 corporate meeting budgets ranging from $100k-$500, expect to see a lot more planners turning the tide on this “recession” by holding their meetings at sea.