Need to Justify Meeting Spend? This Advice Will Help.
Whether you’ve found yourself in the position to have to defend your meeting budget because of hotel commission reductions, or you’ve recently run a data gap audit to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a Strategic Meetings Management Program will give you the insight and transparency you’re looking for. Shimon Avis from Acquis Consulting shared his insight with Business Travel News about six main categories where meeting management programs add value to an organization.
- Procurement savings
- Regulatory compliance
- Logistics enhancements
- Risk mitigation
- Customer satisfaction
- Strategic value
The below has been edited for accuracy and relevant links:
- Procurement savings: Savings are created through a combination of meetings policy, standardized sourcing, and planning processes, savings and demand management initiatives and preferred supplier programs for venues, A/V, and ground transportation.
- Regulatory compliance: Not every company is subject to regulatory compliance, but most in life sciences or financial services are, as are those that have facilities and employees outside the U.S. who interact with foreign government representatives. Creating not only policies, processes, and procedures to prevent regulatory violations but also reporting to document potential violations and remedies mitigates the risks of non-compliance. It is becoming even more essential to ensure compliance as penalties under the GDPR legislation are truly prohibitive.
- Logistics enhancements: One goal for meetings is to provide a positive experience for participants, whether internal employees or paying customers. Frictionless travel to events, seamless registration and sign-in, and an enjoyable event flow significantly contribute to attendees’ perceptions of the event. Measuring how logistics contribute to the program can be accomplished through surveys, especially in real-time through event apps.
- Risk mitigation: Meetings management provides numerous risk-mitigation components: It prevents duty of care lapses, ensures the safety and security of event attendees, and protects the corporate’s intellectual property and attendees’ personal data. Meetings management also mitigates fiduciary breaches like misappropriation of company funds and signature authority breaches. Each of these requires proactive prevention strategies, and some require additional back-end processes like audits.
- Customer satisfaction: Whether an event is attended by internal employees or external customers, participant satisfaction is crucial. For employees, event satisfaction can have a positive correlation with lower employee attrition and can reduce the costs of onboarding and training replacement staff. For external customers, event satisfaction directly contributes to deepening relationships, brand loyalty, and sales. New technologies like event apps, second screen technologies, smart badges, and beacons are emerging to enhance a participant’s event experience and capture engagement and satisfaction data.
- Strategic value: This value category documents whether organizations are holding the right events, and whether those events are achieving goals and producing ROI. Historically, meetings management programs have not clearly articulated ROI because of the difficulty in measuring whether the event goals have been achieved. New technology is making it easier to document participant engagement and satisfaction, session attendance and feedback, lead capture, and overall event health. To document an event or strategic-level ROI, goals must be clearly defined, metrics must be delineated to demonstrate that the goals were achieved and tools like attendee registration apps, event apps, second screen technologies, smart badges, and beacons must be put in place to collect, consolidate, analyze and report on the data.
Working with an experienced meeting partner will ensure you see all the value a meetings management program can bring. Creative Group has strong relationships with every major hotel chain, hundreds of independent properties, destination management companies worldwide, airline carriers, and transportation companies who share our commitment to service. These relationships, industry influence and volume of business afford us tremendous negotiating power.
Our seasoned experts take pride in negotiating the best possible rates for hotels, meeting facilities and services, food and beverage, off-site venues, activities, and any other related services. We can help you learn more about implementing a Strategic Meeting Management program (SMM) or improving your current one.