Companies spend billions on corporate meetings in the U.S. every year, yet only a small percentage have this sizable but fragmented spend under management. At the Strategic Travel Symposium, held in mid-March in New York City, the “Building a More Strategic Meetings Management Program” seminar discussed quick wins, risks and long-term ways to maximize the management of meetings.
The panel, moderated by Kevin Iwamoto, vice president of enterprise strategy, StarCite, consisted of Cindy Shumate, executive director, travel & meetings, Estee Lauder Companies, Inc.; Tamara Gordon, director, travel, meetings, fleet at Boston Scientific; and Debi Scholar, founder of The Scholar Consulting Group. During the seminar, they revealed an interesting statistic gathered from StarCite: 80% of meetings are planned in advance but account for only 50% of a company’s meeting budget. It’s those last-minute meetings, perhaps planned spur-of-the-moment, that eat away at half of a company’s program expenditures.
It’s the smaller meetings, those 50 people or less, that are open to the greatest exposure to loss, and those account for 2/3 of all company meetings, noted the presenters. These meetings are usually planned outside of the normal channels, i.e. not through the meeting planning department and instead by personnel in other departments. The reasoning for the loss is five-fold:
1. Smaller meetings are generally sourced by non-professional planners (perhaps a secretary, administrative assistant or marketing coordinator at the firm).
2. They are usually overlooked by upper management.
3. There is no reporting, feedback or tracking of these smaller meetings and their attendee costs, so there’s no accountability structure in place.
4. Because they are not sourced professionally, cost leveraging opportunities are missed (for example, the booking of multiple programs with one vendor, which often result in cost-savings, is not present).
5. The shorter lead times leave less chance for cost comparisons, and ensuing negotiations. Under the gun, planners are forced to just accept what hotels offer to them.
Managing the Unmanaged
What can travel sellers do to help companies with this problem and start handling those unmanaged meetings?
----READ the rest of Dawn Barclay's article in the Travel Market Report here: http://www.travelmarketreport.com/meetings?articleID=2986&LP=1
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Debi has the following designations:
· Wharton Aresty Executive Education/National Business Travel Association (NBTA) Global Leadership Professional (GLP)
· Meeting Professionals International Certificate in Meetings Management (CMM)
· Convention Industry Council Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)
· NBTA Corporate Travel Expert (CTE)
· Six Sigma Green Belt
· Chauncey Certified Technical Trainer (CTT)
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