Simple Meetings: Companies Lose Big Bucks on Small Meetings

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Companies doesn’t have a handle on their small meeting spend, the new GBTA survey shows.

New research by the Global Business Travel Association shows that compliance and cost savings for many of the small meetings companies hold—known as simple meetings—are slipping through the cracks.

Simple meetings—small meetings with basic, replicable requirements—make up half of corporate meetings, yet 52 percent of companies book these meetings outside of “managed” meetings channels, the survey of both GBTA and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) members found.

The survey defined simple meetings as those with between 10 and 50 attendees having the following common characteristics: meeting rooms, optional room nights, basic AV and a formula/format that can be replicated.

A few other findings:

  • 70 percent of respondents don’t follow a required bidding process for shopping/booking simple meetings
  • When companies don’t use a simple meetings solution, 77 percent search for hotels or venues exclusively through consumer channels
  • 52 percent of companies don’t have an e-RFP technology for simple meetings, with no plans to acquire one.

“These lax policies may prevent companies from making the rigorous comparisons needed to realize the full benefits of a managed meetings program, such as better discounts and improved duty of care and compliance with internal policies,” the survey concluded.

In addition, almost three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents do not have key performance indicators in place to measure the success of simple meetings. “Managing spend is only one component of a successful meetings program,” the survey concluded. “It is important to focus on additional metrics such as attendee satisfaction and efficiency of internal processes, which can have a significant long-term impact on a company’s bottom line.”

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.