4 Meeting Planning Outsourcing Partners

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meeting, outsourcing
A itrip director, or TD, is the face of the company at the meeting.

The meetings industry has so many types of outsourcing partners. Some are brought in to assist internal meeting planners on a single project, while others can be a permanent extension of the staff.

Following are 4 categories of outsourcing companies and the variations within them:

Independent meeting planner

Corporations and associations remain responsible for the meetings’ content, while independent planners typically handle all other details, from finding venues and negotiating contracts to being the liaison with the hotel and attendees. Most of an independent planner’s business depends on a reputation for fair dealing, referrals and continued relationships. The size of an independent planning firm ranges from a single individual to an industry giant like American Express Meetings & Events, which managed over 70,000 meetings in 2016. (Source: Cornell University)

Trip director, travel director, on-site meeting manager

The role of a travel director can vary. For a smaller program, such as a dinner meeting, just one travel director might be on site to serve as host. For a larger event, a range of travel directors could run the program on site. A travel director is the face of the company and the person with whom attendees will interact, and is an important position when the internal meeting planner can not attend a program, or in addition to him or her. (Source: travelcrossing.com)

Site-selection firm, third-party planner

Major players in this arena include HelmsBriscoe and Conference Direct. Site-selection firms secure the best hotel accommodations, meeting space, conference venues and hospitality services available and negotiate the most favorable terms possible at no cost to the planner. In addition to locating hotels, the associates prepare and send meeting RFPs then collect and review all RFP responses to make the best selection. “Anybody with access to the internet can dump a list of 500 properties on your desk, but only a seasoned professional is capable of narrowing that list down to the venues best suited for your event’s timeline, budget and logistical needs.” (Source: Conference Direct)

Incentive marketing/travel company

These companies create, market and plan incentive programs (with both travel and merchandise as the rewards) to accomplish a number of goals, along them: increase sales, move product, raise employee morale, or drive customer or channel loyalty. Services can vary from setting program goals and direction, to contest design, to technology and online registration, to trip planning and delivery. (Source: Landmark Incentive Marketing)

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