Meetings and event expenditures can represent up to 60 percent of a company’s transient business travel costs and 1.5 percent of its revenues, but many companies don’t have a cohesive meeting and event spending strategy. If they did, they could save an average of 10 to 25 percent of that meetings and event spend annually, says a new study from Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) and StarCite.
The study points out that savings come from meetings and event (M&E) policies that enforce compliance, designate preferred suppliers and utilize dedicated technology for online registration and strategic meeting management solutions.
In order to optimize savings and return on investment, CWT recommends companies follow this eight-step approach to developing in-house M&E policies:
- Analyze spend and set up a centralized organization to track M&E spend data.
- Create a well-defined M&E policy that supports strategic objectives, stipulates precise rules, and defines standard contract terms and processes for planners to follow.
- Create an annual M&E budget and events calendar that allows planners to view all company resources, including unused meeting space from cancellations and supplier negotiation information.
- Select preferred suppliers and vendors, and use those relationships to leverage outside expertise and drive synergies while reducing costs.
- Establish a formal planning and approval process that is enforced company-wide.
- Implement efficient attendee registration using a strategic meetings management system that also can track processes, sourcing and spend.
- Use a single mode of payment, such as a corporate meeting card, for supplier costs and/or attendees’ reimbursable expenses.
- Evaluate M&E performance and policy compliance by using standardized performance indicators to measure satisfaction, savings, supplier performance and compliance.