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Lesley's Column

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5th December 2016

Integrating meetings spend into your corporate programme

Meetings often represent a fragmented and uncontrolled spend category. By integrating travel and meetings departments, companies position themselves to reap big rewards through increased spend visibility, control and compliance.

While many have proposed managing meetings activities more tightly in the past, such efforts have often been passed over as companies simply could not see how to move forward.
The knowledge that organisations may leave more than a third of their leveraging power on the table should be an impetus for action.
In order to achieve an integrated approach companies should take the following steps:
• Overcome decentralisation of booking and data collection.
• Identify the synergies between travel and meetings that allow common goals.
• Create specific meetings policies.
• Acquire the tools to guide processes.
• Aggregate data to increase leverage with suppliers.
Maintaining an integrated travel and meetings management program is an ongoing effort. Executive involvement is a must. Travel managers know that as market conditions change supplier management techniques and market share must be continuously refined.
With an integrated program, the same goes for meetings and the market drivers can be different for that segment. The key to creating the most effective program is to balance the needs of both sides of the travel/meetings equation. Each side will need to compromise, work to minimise differences and concentrate on higher level goals to find success.
More and more companies are reversing the tide and applying the principles of effective travel management to their meetings and events.