Mailbag: How to budget for Y’all Connect 2015

Wile E. Coyote's budget

Source: GraphJam

Q: Hey, Wade: I’m now the PR director. I’m hoping to send one of our staffers to Y’all Connect. She’s always wanted to go, and I want to make it happen this year. Have you established the conference fee yet? I’m planning my budget for the year and need to know what to expect. —B

A: Great question, and kudos on planning ahead. Ticket prices for Y’all Connect Presented by Alabama Power will be the same as 2013 and 2014: $129 for regular tickets, $199 for VIP tickets (see the amenities for both).

Newsletter subscribers, as B knows, receive discounts on regular tickets and special access to preview sales. Subscribe here.

Alabama gas prices

Alabama gas prices in the last 5 years, from AlabamaGasPrices.com

Her colleague will drive about 140 miles round trip to Birmingham, so let’s just count on a 10-gallon tank of gas at about $3.50 a gallon, or $35. Or if reimbursed at the federal rate (for 2014) of 56 cents per mile, that’s $78.40 total.

If her colleague drives home after the conference, she probably won’t need a per diem for dinner. We serve breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack — they’re included in the ticket.

That’s about $200 for a full-day conference plus meals in Birmingham within a short drive.

Wile E. Coyote, genius• Let’s say another 2015 attendee is driving in from Mobile or Memphis. If we factor in a hotel room for one night at a special rate for our guests, let’s add $150 (that includes all the taxes and surcharges) or for two nights, $300. We do encourage our guests to explore Birmingham on the following day, a Saturday, before heading home. Each additional meal will run $15 to $30.

And since those cities are farther away, be sure to increase the total gas or mileage costs. Perhaps $310 total for a one-night stay.

• Let’s say a third 2015 attendee is coming in from Raleigh. Budget $400 to $450 for airfare, plus $24 for home airport parking. The hotel will have a free airport shuttle, plus dining and entertainment within walking distance.  I’ll say $650 total for a two-night stay with a round-trip ticket bought in advance.

• And if you’re in the Birmingham metro area … $129 for a ticket, plus $25 for a nice dinner after with old and new friends, or about $155 total.

Having traveled across the South on business, I can say that even $650 is a bargain when it comes to training and professional development for colleagues. Especially if you can work it into the 2015 budget now, barely $50 a month to learn the latest in blogging, social media and digital marketing.

(But if $129 is still too high for a training budget, consider our Y’all Connect videos, only $19 each. We have 27 hours of expertise from our speakers over the last 2 years.)

Plan ahead to ensure you won’t miss Y’all Connect 2015!

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About Wade Kwon

Wade Kwon is conference director for Y’all Connect. See his full bio.

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