by Matt Alderton | July 06, 2014
No two meetings are exactly the same. And yet, they all have at least one thing in common: They all have a budget.

Because of that budget, meeting planners are forever in search of affordable meeting destinations. To find the perfect one, Successful Meetings Senior Editor Deanna Ting recommends expanding your search to include more than room rates.

"Measuring the true affordability of a meeting destination involves much more than just room rates," she says. "It involves taxes, union labor fees, ancillary hotel fees and so much more. Taking a more holistic approach to budgeting for your group, and anticipating any and all expenses, can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line."

To separate the truly affordable destinations from pretenders, you also should consider the cost of getting there. "For example, according to a recent study compiled by Oliver Wyman's, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International is the most expensive airport to fly into among the largest 75 airports in the U.S.," Ting explains. "Passengers who traveled to the Midwest city during the last quarter of 2013 paid, on average, 22.2 cents per mile traveled. By comparison, those headed to Honolulu only paid 10.8 cents per mile traveled in the same time period, and travelers bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico paid 10.7 cents -- the lowest cost per mile."

The reason Cincinnati is so much more expensive than other airports is: 83 percent of its flights operate on regional jets with limited seats, and Delta Air Lines carries 75 percent of the airport's passengers.

"The study notes that airfare prices are impacted by plane type (i.e., number of seats) and the passenger population," Ting continues. "Airports located in comparatively wealthier communities, or those that service many business travelers, typically had higher average airfares than those airports that catered to budget-friendly leisure travelers."

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Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.