Gaining Control of Unmanaged Spend and Risk in Strategic Meetings Management Programs

Strategic meetings management (SMM) programs range from the basic to the highly complex, however, there are three basic steps required in gaining control over unmanaged expense and containing risk.  The three steps are highlighted in red in the following graphic.  The other six elements shown in the graphic represent components of an SMM program that might be appropriate for larger and more complex organizations, such as those under specific regulatory requirements, or those in multiple locales or countries.

  • Establish a comprehensive Meetings policy
  • Develop and implement strategic sourcing and meeting planning processes
  • Design and implement a data management program to collect, evaluate, and report on supplier usage and compliance to the program

Black Wheel with Comment and C

Why Policy?

Policy is the fundamental tool to:

  • Control spend – a missed opportunity of 15-25% of meeting spend
  • Prevent regulatory violations – mitigating exposure to government penalties
  • Prevent signature authority violations – executing transactions above role limits
  • Prevent cancellation and attrition penalties – since 25% of all meetings are cancelled
  • Prevent duty of care lapses – creating a safe travel experience for employees and other meeting attendees

Why a Sourcing/Planning Strategy?

Sourcing and planning processes are needed that address the following areas of the Meetings program:

  • Policy elements
  • Stakeholder needs
  • Data management requirements
  • Risk and compliance management needs
  • Agency capabilities

Part of the strategy also includes deciding if the sourcing and planning processes will be delivered by internal corporate or external agency resources, with agencies providing the following benefits:

  • Negotiation professionals, focused on delivering savings
  • Risk management focus, including traveler security and adherence to regulatory and compliance requirements

Why Data Management?

Data provides the necessary insight to:

  • Leverage volume to generate savings
  • Create a preferred hotel program
  • Maintain compliance to regulatory requirements
  • Evaluate and mitigate risk
  • Benchmark spend against peers

Data quality management is necessary to:

  • Ensure accuracy of data

Over the coming months I will provide more detailed views into these three key components of an SMM program, and with time a closer look at the remaining six areas.