Archive for Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

Cvent CONNECT 2018 Recap and Highlights

Written by Dan Tarpey, HMCC | Vice President, Marketing & Sales

Our M&IW team just returned from Cvent CONNECT, one of the most well-attended conferences targeted to event professionals and geared toward user groups and system experts. We experienced essential face-to-face connections with our clients as well as potential clients, gained crucial industry knowledge, and of course, had some fun along the way!

Cvent CONNECT is an opportunity for users of any level to connect, collaborate and learn. Many of the sessions are focused on novices to provide a solid foundation for using the tool successfully. The advanced sessions, however, contain the juice! This is where our team discovers how to optimize, streamline and fine tune processes to get the most out of the platform.

As an organization, we are extremely excited to take all we gained from this event and put it back into the services we provide to our valued clients. Enjoy some of our team highlights.

What’s on the Cvent Horizon?

  • FLEX has a release date of October with full functionality slated for Q1 in 2019.
  • Direct Book Solution and Project Stargate (new Portals and MRF’s) coming in 2019.
  • Certain components of Lanyon will be integrated into Cvent for a better tool.
  • Lastly, 15 core languages are coming to an RFP near you soon!

What does it mean to be Cvent Certified?

M&IW is a Cvent Certified partner and proud to have several individuals with Cvent Event Management Professional Certifications. We are also extremely happy to share that Chip Begley, Sr. Manager, Event Technology, earned his Cvent Management Advanced Certification for Enterprise level users. The test includes everything from the admin functions, best practices for complex registration set ups, event budgets, multi-language events, advanced rules, managing speakers and sessions effectively, discounts, taxes and service fee configuration, travel/hotel modules, onsite features and more.

What is our team is most excited about?

When Kelly Moore, Meetings Management Consultant, was asked what she is most excited about, she replied “my biggest take away is the FLEX project and the general availability of the tool coming up in October. The training camp session allowed for hands-on practice with an excellent moderator/instructor. The tool itself will make things much easier for those people who need to make and manage attendee registration sites and is far less intimidating than the current tool.”

Chip agreed, “embracing the FLEX revolution, which is the latest and most modern version of the Cvent UX. FLEX is an intuitive drag and drop concept that allows you to manipulate and customize the registration experience which is fully responsive and operational on desktop, tablet or phone.  For my team, we’re excited for the opportunity to spend less time coding and more time designing.”

Marte Meighan, Meetings Management Consultant, chimed in “additionally, Cvent is making progress on adding new SMM functionality that will change the way our clients use their MRFs today. Some examples include decision tree logic, multiple levels of sub-questions and sections appearing based on previous questions/answers. This will allow companies who have existing MRFs to re-evaluate and refine their forms. New clients will now be able to create more streamlined and straight forward MRFs from the start.”

What advice would you give to a first-time attendee?

“Choose your sessions wisely, but don’t be overwhelmed by the number of them,” said Kelly. “Whatever you choose, you’ll learn something valuable. If attending with a coworker, divide and conquer to get the most out of the content being offered. And, make time for the Innovation Pavilion to get one on one time with product experts.”

What other trends emerged?

On the key components of the event is the Leadership Summit which was comprised of 285 industry leaders within the meetings and hospitality industry. Lisa Palmeri, our Vice President of Global Enterprise Solutions was in attendance and shared the following four key trends:

  • Personalization (the power of live in a digital world)
  • Experience (to be remembered)
  • Privacy (GDPR, it’s a human right in the EU!)
  • ROI (Cost per attendee going up, all the above costs more money)

From a sales and marketing perspective it is a great show to connect with many of our current clients and potential clients. We have been exhibiting at the event for the past five years and this was certainly the largest in terms of overall attendance. A big thanks to our M&IW team – Lisa, Chip, Marte and Kelly for sharing their expertise and experience.

All in all, the Cvent CONNECT provided a valuable networking opportunity with clients and potential clients as well as a good view into what is on the horizon with the Cvent platform.

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Is your Organization GDPR Compliant?

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategy

We live in an increasingly digital world where the value of personal data is immense. At M&IW, the safety and security of our customers, employees, and attendees has always been a priority. We have long understood the importance sensitive and personally identifiable information (SPII) and have taken steps to ensure its protection.

However, a lot is happening in the world of the internet and data security. As a result, the EU government has been working on a new legislation known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that goes into effect on May 25, 2018. This reform is intended to help EU Residents to improve control of their personal data.

“Even though this regulation only applies to citizens that reside in the European Union (including the United Kingdom), we believe it will become a new global standard for data privacy,” said Jean Johnson, Co-CEO and Chief People Officer at Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. “We are approaching GDPR proactively by applying these EU digital communication standards both domestically and internationally.”

M&IW is Privacy Shield certified, and we have worked with Radius Worldwide to complete our analysis of our processes and systems for the GDPR. This analysis and creation of an action plan ensures that we will be compliant with the GDPR regulations by the required deadline as set forth by the EU/UK. To learn more, please check out our report entitled, GDPR 101: The Basics. You may also view our Website Privacy Statement which describes the current policies and practices of Meetings & Incentives Worldwide with regards to Personal Data.

Additionally, we are happy to share that our Data Protection Officer, David Guse, CPA, has achieved the ISO 17024-accredited EU GDPR Foundation (EU GDPR F) qualification from IBITGQ.

We value your partnership and thank you for visiting our website. If you subscribe to our communications, you will soon receive a request to your inbox to ensure you still want to hear from us. If you are not currently a subscriber, we encourage you to Stay in Touch and Get Connected. You will receive fresh, timely, and relevant content on the latest news, industry updates, and emerging trends. You will also be among the first to receive invitations for special offers, complimentary webinars and hosted events.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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7 Secrets to Professionally Managed Meeting Procurement

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Written by Denise Farrell | Director, Global Procurement

Many meeting stakeholders have a general understanding of how outsourced meeting procurement works, but there are things that can happen behind the scenes that may surprise even savvy meeting managers. I have unveiled a few of those “secrets” below to show how these activities may benefit your organization.

Before we reveal the secrets, let’s explore what we mean by “professionally managed meeting procurement.” It can easily be defined as letting someone else, such as an event management company, handle the procurement of your meeting venue. Third parties bring expertise gained from experience in various industry positions and with numerous clients to your meeting. They employ buyers who are specialists, solely dedicated to that craft.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the secrets of professionally managed meeting procurement!

Secret #1: Chances are, third parties have BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT… At least, someone at their organization probably has.

You probably know that there are millions of worthwhile destinations and venues around the world. You can find them just by Googling a location. But then what?

But did you know that it takes an enormous amount of knowledge just to sift through all the possibilities to find the venue that’s right for your event? In fact, a database like Cvent, built for planners, has more than 245,000 venues!

The secret is third parties bring the cumulative knowledge of their entire team to the selection process. Chances are, someone has been to that location, even to that venue.

For example, on average corporate event teams place between 2-100 meetings a year. Whereas, the average third party books thousands of events per year. That’s a lot of knowledge and experience in one place. They have a set of tools and skills that they use to perfect their ability to easily evaluate destinations and venues. Some are external, and others are internal, such as the working with the sales team in the initial contracting process all the way though the onsite experience and billing experience. The third party knows how to communicate to deliver a mutually agreeable contract considering what matters most to the client and marrying that with understanding how those requests will be executed at the hotel level. They can bring both parties to an understanding that provides a smooth execution.

Secret #2: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PACKAGE. What do we mean by that? Well, it’s important to have ALL the information before deciding which venue will best suit your needs.

You probably know that there are many pricing options available to host your meeting.

But did you know that there are many factors beyond room rates that can have a huge impact on the success of your meeting? How do you choose the venue that is the “best” for your meeting?

The secret is that third parties evaluate a venue based on tangible and intangible factors, such as space, rooms and quality. They also read the fine print.

For example, third parties will confirm if the venue can accommodate the needs of the program, including factors such as; will the meeting space be conducive to the meeting objectives, can the attendees easily access the venue, and will they feel well taken care of once they get there. Additionally, some intangible ways they assist is in their ability to consult and look at the entire package. Does the meeting have to take place in 1 ½ days so near the airport? Is this a group that shares rooms so are enough doubled bedded rooms available? Does the meeting need quiet or space to move? Is it more about aesthetics or function, will pillars in the middle of the meeting room hamper the attendees being able to see or hear the content?  These are the things a third party can help you look for and evaluate.

Secret #3 – Third parties SPEAK “EVENT” IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES… and it’s more than just having translators.

You probably know that it is challenging to book a program at an international destination.

But did you know that many third parties have people on staff who not only speak the language, but also understand the business customs, terminology, common contract terms and potential risks of working pretty much anywhere in the world?

The secret is that third parties book international destinations on a regular basis, and have “boots on the ground” around the world.

For example, things are ever changing and if you have not worked in an area for several months or years you need someone who can provide you the knowledge. A new Russian law declares that all contracts must state that Russian language must prevail.  A third party will have run into this situation and be able to tell you when this would apply to your event. They will be able to work with the venue to have English and Russian terms and conditions listed side-by-side to compare them.

Secret #4 – They RUN A TIGHT SHIP and can help your department be more efficient as well.

You probably know that working with a procurement department includes providing a lot of details, from contract terms, to data points, to funding limits.

But did you know that good third parties keep tabs on all that critical information and can help you with that paperwork? They can also improve your relationship with your procurement department.

The secret is that third parties will not only save you money through efficiency gains, but they can also help procurement better understand what you do.

For example, a third party can evaluate your internal process and procedures using their industry and technology experience. Some third parties can share best practices to help you streamline processes to gain efficiency. They often act as a buffer between the numbers people and the meeting planner, and during that process, help procurement better understand the meetings industry.

Secret #5 – THEY’RE A LITTLE OCD and that level of attention to detail is a good thing sometimes.

You probably know that there are regulations in certain industries that meeting planners need to know.

But did you know that these regulations are not uniform for all industries or destinations? Attention to detail can save your organization a lot of time, money and headaches

The secret is that third parties should be familiar with these regulations, so they can ensure that you’re following the laws.

For example, a third party should use a consistent sourcing approach and contract language that dovetails with your company’s compliance standards and load all critical items into the systems at the end of a meeting. This will save your compliance department time in locating documents for an audit.

Secret #6 – They PINCH EVERY PENNY for you.

You probably know that there are negotiable items when reviewing a hotel contract.

But do you know all the items that are negotiable, which ones bring the greatest value, and which are easier for hotels to agree to than others?

The secret is that third parties do this all day, know the hotel’s market and the pressures they’re under, often have leverage with hotels because of the number of events they book, and know how to negotiate a win-win contract for the client and the venue.

For example, a third party is able to leverage multi-year agreements to help clients realize additional savings on room rate and enhanced concession packages; package a smaller meeting with a larger one to enhance savings; stay on top of cancellations that might put a hotel in a position to be more open to negotiations; understand which concessions bring value to the client and which ones may not cost the hotel as much.

Secret #7 – THIRD PARTIES CAN SEE THE FUTURE. How? You ask…

You probably know that BIG data is a hot topic in the meetings industry.

But did you know that data is only BIG if you know how to use it?

The secret is that third parties can help you gather data accurately to discover trends that can help you make buying and process decisions.

For example, at M&IW our business intelligence tool and data told us that larger clients with multiple procurement teams were having difficulty managing all the moving parts. To address this need, we developed a consolidated single sourcing program that provides essential governance yet allows the flexibility of multiple sourcing providers. We also determined that small meetings often don’t have the same tools available to be as efficient and as they could be, so we’re investigating new technologies for small meetings.

To learn more on this topic, please enjoy our Industry Insights Webinar on Demand: 7 Secrets of Professionally Managed Meeting Procurement. Or, if you are interested in connecting with our procurement team regarding an upcoming program, please email sourcing@meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Negotiated Hotel Group Rates versus Online Deals

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Written by Lisa Palmeri | Vice President, Global Enterprise Solutions

It’s the thrill of the chase, and ultimately the deal, that leads one to scour the internet for the best possible price on a hotel room. I admit to thoroughly enjoying this challenge which often leads to prolonged research, not unlike that of a scientist researching a new theory or invention. With a myriad of hotel booking sites from which to capture that holy grail of accomplishments – the cheapest room rate – it’s no wonder group rates are often perceived as overpriced. So why are professionally negotiated rates sometimes higher than a room rate any consumer can readily book online?

It boils down to simple math and sophisticated revenue management. Online pricing applies to limited inventory which fluctuates hour by hour based on the volume of internet booking activity. Hotels offer different prices based on the type of room (single, double, suite), the view (ocean, parking lot), weekday versus weekend, and other factors. Hotel revenue managers are constantly monitoring their daily income and inventory. Revenue management software works behind the scenes looking at past history and predictive behavior to determine how many rooms will be offered at a discount either via the hotel website or online booking channels.

Guestrooms are a perishable commodity so hotels don’t want to miss the opportunity to put “heads in beds.” They want their hotel rooms available for sale in as many online outlets as possible and will offer early-bird online specials. Likewise, as the check-in date draws near and if the hotel has excess inventory, they might offer a deal to stimulate demand. Keep in mind, the most favorable online rates are restrictive; usually non-refundable, need to be purchased immediately and paid in full at the time of purchase.

“While it’s quite easy to find a competitive room rate for one or two rooms, the exercise becomes more difficult when searching for ten or more rooms,” said Denise Farrell, Director, Global Procurement. This is because these group blocks often need meeting space, special amenities, concessions (cost waived items and/or discounts on hotel-provided group services). They also require preferential business and legal terms governing the transaction (company specific hotel addendum) which are especially important for risk mitigation and duty of care. “We had a client incentive program near Naples, Florida the week after Hurricane Irma. The property was not damaged, but the area was severely flooded and their offsite activities impacted. Because of our solid relationship with the hotel and protection clauses in the contract, we were able to reschedule for a later date at no additional cost. Plus, our buyer and program manager, will take care of all the details,” said Denise.

In addition to evaluating the requested dates and space, revenue managers also score the potential group booking based on several factors including, but not limited to:

  • Ratio of guestrooms to meeting space requested – if rooms are few, but space is heavy, room rates may be increased
  • Value of the concessions – every upgrade, waiver and discount has a cost factor
  • Revenue generated by other services – group food and beverage functions, meeting room rental, and spending in other hotel outlets
  • Percentage of the property’s overall inventory that the group booking constitutes
  • Group’s performance history – filling rooms blocked and meeting revenue targets
  • Seasonality and pattern of stay – high demand dates and preferred days of the week
  • Potential to book another, more lucrative group over the same period

Group rates are the result of a rather complex algorithm based on the overall scope and revenue potential of the meeting. It’s a delicate balance. As procurement professionals, we’re also negotiating for favorable terms relating to attrition (reduction of rooms), cancellation policies, payment terms, cut-off dates for rooming list submission, competitors in house, force majeure, mutual indemnification, as well as other business and legal terms.

Professionally sourced group room blocks provide many benefits that a guest may not realize at first glance, thus an explanation of these is recommended when sending out meeting invitations. Common benefits include an upgraded room if the group block was booked in an upgraded category (internet rates are typically offered for standard room types), better amenities (complimentary WiFi, breakfast, parking, late check-out), more flexible payment terms (or billing to a master account if company paid), and heightened duty of care in the event of an emergency, by being associated with a group in which onsite support resources may be available. In the end, the value of professionally procured group room blocks far outweigh the discounted room rate one or two attendees might be able to book online.

It is difficult to make a direct comparison, but important to consider the ease of use, overall value and total cost, not just the room rate. Our award-winning procurement team has unparalleled experience and is results driven. “We maintain a focus on superior site selection/sourcing to secure the optimal venues and best-in-class contract negotiation to ensure your event budget produces the highest value to meet your expectations. We leverage our depth of experience, rigorous processes, superior technology, industry relationships and buying power to contract the best rates and terms for your program and organization,” said Denise. Interested in learning more about how our team can save you both time and money, contact us directly at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Company News, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Incentive Travel Trends and Journey Mapping

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Written by Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS | Director, Global Incentive Services

As 2017 sales incentive contests head into their final quarter and 2018 award trip planning starts to kick into high gear for a new and exciting season of winner incentive trips, it is a great time to get a sneak peek at M&IW’s leading incentive trends. I had the privilege of presenting on this topic at our recent Client Summit with Nicole Raudabaugh, CMP, CIS, Account Lead/Sr. Buyer, Global Incentive Services.

State of the Industry

To help us better understand the trends, let’s take a brief look at the state of the industry. Recent survey data illustrates how organizations have fully realized the role incentives play to engage their sales teams, employees and channel partners and their results in both bottom line and top-line growth. More than 84% of American companies use incentive programs. US firms alone invest more than $90 billion dollars annually in non-cash incentives such as incentive travel, merchandise and gift cards, according to IRF 2107 Trends Study & SITE Index 2017.

Journey Mapping

The stakes are higher and expectations greater. The incentive trip planner isn’t just planning an event, they are designing engaging experiences. And, not cookie-cutter, one size fits all – but rather experiences that match the energy flow of the group and the individual award winners. Personas and journey mapping is a hot new concept with incentive travel design.

The objective is to create a “Journey Map” based on personas as opposed to demographics. Identifying groups of people who share similar attitudes, behaviors and motivations and outline specific elements each day of the program based on the different personas’ appeal. For example, “Fit-to-Travel,” “All Things Social,” “Work B4 Play,” etc. Each persona values different elements so it critical to match the group activities and experiences with their journeys. Applying this principle to the travel incentive program design not only helps improve the attendee experience, but also the company’s bottom line.

An All Encompassing, Immersed Experience

As an industry, we are moving away from just providing “unique and WOW experiences” and moving toward total engagement. With the use of technologies from the mobile app experience to virtual reality, we can engage the qualifier before they even leave their doorstep. Experiential travel is now about fostering emotional attachment to the brand. Next-level experiences tap the true emotional engagement. Capturing the experiences from unique angles, such as drones or Go-Pro devices, provides lasting impressions long after the trip has concluded.

Destination 2018

The strength of the US dollar, has created a resurgence in international destinations. Tenerife/Canary Islands, southern France and less traveled areas of Italy are emerging as an exciting European alternative. Iceland, where the infrastructure is finally starting to catch up, is capturing the imagination of a true Icelandic expedition and discovery. Panama continues to grow in experiences and infrastructure.  Adventure hot spots are trending including Banff/Whistler, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and South Africa.

Giving Back is Not Going Away

Seventy percent of programs include a corporate social responsibility component and we expect that number to continue to grow. The industry has seen a definite uptick in the last three years and new types of experiences are popping up as a result. Tying a group activity or corporate team building to foster employee teamwork with the outcome of significantly stimulating income generation for people in a developing country is the top of the list. Attendees not only want to have a great experience themselves, but want to leave a destination knowing they made an impact in the community and world.

Health and Fitness

Health and fitness is becoming an increasing element of every program. Healthy meal options, allowing time for workouts, group activities that focus on wellness events, and gifting experiences that include athletic wearables, sneakers, yoga mats, on-site personalized athletic wear and classes are all the rage.

In summary, incentive travel programs still need to be life-affirming, jaw-dropping and create memories that connect to a bigger purpose. Being memorable and exclusive hasn’t changed. However, what is trending is how the incentive planner’s role involves creating “personalized” journeys that ignites the senses, recognizes stellar achievements, and inspires winners to work even harder to be part of your elite incentive trip year after year!

Want to learn more about journey mapping and the newest incentive industry trends as well as take away some trip ideas to implement into your 2018 program? Join our Global Incentives Services team in November for our Incentive Trends webinar where we will go into greater detail on this topic and much, much more!

 

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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The Art and Science of Data for Meetings Management

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Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director of Marketing and Strategy

Data is key to a successful meetings management program. But the larger question is how to make sense of the data and gain insights to drive decisions that can positively impact your organization. This is where the art and science aspect comes into play. Data science is about methods, processes, and systems to extract knowledge from data in various forms. More sophisticated analytical skills also require more sophisticated visual presentation skills. It is important to combine elements of design, such as harmony, rhythm, flow, balance, and focus, together in appropriate proportions to convey the messages in interesting and informative ways that grab and keep the attention of your audience.

In practice, the art of data for meetings management is often a team sport. The creative process includes divergent thinking, which involves the generation of multiple answers to a problem; conceptual blending, in which solutions arise from the intersection of different frames of reference; and, honing, in which an acceptable solution emerges from iterating over many successive unacceptable versions of the solution. The art is the ability to bring together individuals with diverse backgrounds, look at things differently, and solve real business challenges.

Then there is this idea of “big data.” But, what exactly is it and how does it relate to meetings management? In 2001, Gartner analyst Doug Laney came up with the famous three V’s of volume, variety and velocity of data that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. In 2011, Gartner expanded this to definition of data management. “Big data” is high-volume, -velocity and -variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.

But it’s not the amount of data that’s most important. It is what organizations do with their data that matters. Business Intelligence (BI) technologies can handle large amounts of structured and sometimes unstructured data to help identify, develop and otherwise create new strategic business opportunities. They also provide a historical, current and predictive view of business operations. Whereas business intelligence comprises the set of strategies, processes, applications and technical architectures used to support the collection, data analysis, presentation and dissemination of business information.

Recently, Lisa Palmeri, Vice President of Global Enterprise Solutions with Meetings & Incentives Worldwide and Linsey Giant, Technical Event Consultant with Anthem, presented on this topic at Cvent Connect 2017. Specifically, they focused on leveraging BI tools with Cvent and shared their knowledge of meeting management applications such as; team management and workload distribution, benchmarking and strategic decision-making. They discussed the business information that can be gained from meeting data and how to apply those insights and make an impact in your organization. They stressed that acting upon the insights is imperative.

So, the question we are often asked by our clients is how to get started, connect data, tell a story and benefit their organization’s meetings management goals. “In response to an ever-increasing need for business insights, BI software has flooded the market. And, with the benefits of BI being numerous and the cost of not having BI growing, it is easy to want to quickly adopt a solution,” said Mona Lebied, Online Marketing with Datapine. But, she also cautions this approach could be disastrous and investing in BI shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Understanding what drives success in your organization is tough stuff, and you should not expect to get it right the first time. It is an iterative process. And, before you get started you need a strategy and roadmap if you are looking to launch and manage your business intelligence. Even the best BI software needs some initial heavy lifting to maximize its potential. It involves stakeholders, sponsors, technology, data cleansing, KPIs, the right tool and/or partner, and a phased approach according to Lebied.

M&IW was on the verge of working with a third party to create a data warehouse. However, what we learned is that the effort is always in construction. ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) is a process in data warehousing responsible for pulling data out of the source systems, normalizing the data, cleaning, applying filters, loading it into the data repository for other reporting applications and then pulling data to run queries,” said Lisa.

Duplicating the data in a DW and transporting data from multiple sources to a centralized repository eats up network bandwidth and time and consumes endless CPU cycles in the transformation process. Whereas, in a BI system, you leave the data in the sources where it exists. BI without a DW is a valid approach for some organizations if you trust the raw data in your systems. You are then essentially creating a virtualized data warehouse environment that allows for continuous data loading for dynamic elements that can render real-time dashboards and scorecards. You are not dealing with huge volumes of data. You are extracting only what you need to answer the business question at hand.

There are a lot of BI technologies in the marketplace and this is not an endorsement of any one tool. We determined DOMO to be the best solution based on our needs and requirements. One of the benefits of using DOMO is early “dirty data” detection. We can apply business rules to a meeting request and see if the results don’t look right at the time of extract. This helps to ensure the data is going in correctly.

Columns and rows are great for storing data, but not for telling stories. Whereas the Domo card builder interprets the data and suggests how to visualize it for maximum impact and clarity. Or, a multitude of other options for charts, cards and more are available essentially making complex data sets consumable and meaningful for answering a specific business question. Dynamic cards allow for instant filtering, date range updates and can be readily shared.

By way of example, let’s say we want to answer what was the average hotel rate for programs held in the United States in 2016? We source thousands of hotels representing hundreds of thousand contracted room nights annually. For this exercise, Domo is connected to three data sources, two through Cvent and one flat file in a financial system. Those three data sources are 579 MBs of flow. And, after the output it represents only 21MBs which is much more manageable.

Because it notifies us of missing data points, null values, or invalid data, nothing falls through the cracks. In our example above, the average negotiated domestic rate was showing as $277. But, a quick look at the data revealed that one rate was not divided by the number of individuals so the real average, once the anomaly was fixed, was $198. That is the beauty of having that level of data transparency. There is lots of information we can glean to make decisions. When we look at cost savings, we save the most on sleeping rooms. However, we can dig deeper to see where are the best opportunities for additional savings for our clients.

Another benefit for us as a third-party is scheduling and assigning workload. We can get a view of our team to see when we have multiple resources out and time constraints to work around. This helps us ensure we are responsive to our clients by assigning an individual that has the bandwidth to fully support the request and meet the deadline. Domo also assists us in continuing to provide world class sourcing services and outperform our competition by using it as a performance monitoring tool in looking at the number of projects per buyer, average hours to contract, cost savings achieved, and more to ensure they are exceeding established goals. “Our clients expect us to be as efficient and productive as possible. And, having a BI strategy and software platform helps us drive results based on facts. It is an iterative process. The more you learn, the more application it has and the more opportunities you have to use it,” said Lisa.

Because of interest we received at Cvent Connect regarding this topic, Lisa presented a follow up webinar in June. It was the first of a two-part series and will be available on demand soon. Or, if you are interested in receiving copy of the presentation or connecting with Lisa, email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com. The second webinar will take place in September so stay tuned for more information.

 

Posted in: Company News, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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ROI of Event Sponsorship: Stakeholders vs. Sponsors

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Written by Jill Pearson | Manager, Digital Marketing and Media

Sponsorship, by definition, is the financial or material support of an event, activity or organization by an unrelated partner. Sponsoring a relevant event is a great way to increase brand awareness and strengthen relationships. This, in turn, helps generate consumer preference and foster brand loyalty. A company can reinforce awareness among its target market by sponsoring an event that attracts a desired target market. A sponsorship can be a meaningful part of a brands success, but also material to an event’s success.

Sponsoring an event is no means an act of charity – they must show some form of positive return on investment (ROI) for both stakeholders and sponsors. With ROI in mind, we would like to explore two separate perspectives in the sponsorship journey: the event stakeholder and the sponsoring organization.

As we near M&IW Campus Week, our annual company event, we reflect on the role of our industry partners. From an event stakeholder viewpoint, sponsors are of the utmost importance as they not only help to generate revenue for the event itself, but also offset costs for items that will enhance the overall attendee experience. For example, because of our platinum sponsors, we are including live meeting analytics from Educational Measures, over-the-top decor and style concepts from Kehoe Designs, professional event production from DMP and collaborative team building sessions from Banding People Together.

While sponsor and exhibitor relationships are key to these types of events, they can also be tricky to manage. To be successful, it is crucial to understand what matters most to the sponsoring organization. Do they prefer promotional opportunities leading up to the event, brand visibility on the registration site, advertising on a mobile app, relationship building with key contacts, ability to present at the event or sit on an industry panel, and of course, being able to connect with attendees post event.

You want to ensure they receive a solid return from their both investment and participation so that they continue to sign on year after year. And, it is also important to make sure that the sponsors and exhibitors selected are a good fit for the audience. Otherwise, the attendees will feel like the event was “sold” without consideration of their interests and time. Because we provide hotel sourcing and contracting services for our clients, hotels and resorts are a perfect fit. In fact, we have three platinum sponsors in this category: Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Rosewood.

Likewise, sponsoring organizations need to know that the audience is a fit for them. “To be successful, our employees need to be knowledgeable about new products, event-related services, hot destinations and more says Lindsay Perez, Assistant Manager, Program Management for Global Operations. She explains that “event sponsors and exhibitors gain valuable face time with those who have their ‘boots on the ground’ so to speak. They benefit from a rare opportunity to get in front of the individuals that use their services. Or, from a more general standpoint, individuals who may have key input, make recommendations to our clients or are involved in the decision-making process. It’s an overall win for the attendees and the sponsors, alike.”

A lot of organizations, including ours, use a tiered system to help differentiate the level of exposure or marketing that an organization will receive based on their support. This helps the hosting organization to keep the playing field level and manage expectations of the sponsoring and exhibiting companies.

“While it’s beneficial to participate as an exhibitor in the Supplier Showcase to network and make personal introductions, being a sponsor brings this educational value to the next level. It gives the organization an opportunity to be front and center of all M&IW employees and a chance to highlight the value they can offer to us, as a company, and to our clients,” explained Vicki Schmitz, HMCC, Senior Manager of Hotel Procurement. This is especially true for companies that have just started working with M&IW, a sponsorship can help them foster relationships and generate business opportunities faster.

We also have industry partners like Marriott International that have participated for several years. So, we asked Elizabeth Moynihan. CMP, Global Account Executive, her thoughts on the criteria her team uses when deciding to become a sponsor? Elizabeth responded, “Marriott values our long-term global partnership with M&IW. As strategic partners, we understand the importance and mutual benefit of sponsoring Campus Week. We take many components into consideration when determining our level of support. The opportunity for our hotel partners and GSO to engage face-to-face, and further cultivate and strengthen relationships is invaluable. We enjoy participating in Campus Week annually, and appreciate the opportunity to be a platinum sponsor.”

Our M&IW Campus Week taking place August 21-24, 2017 which includes our Client Summit and Supplier Showcase is the one time of year we bring together in one place our talented associates, valued clients, and industry partners. If you are interested in learning more about sponsor opportunities still available, please email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com and we will send you the prospectus.

 

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Cvent and Lanyon Announce Merger – Are You Ready?

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Written by Dan Tarpey, HMCC | Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Last week was momentous for Cvent, Inc. and Lanyon Solutions, Inc., two industry leading cloud-based enterprise event management technology solutions, as they announced the completion of their merger. While the companies have met an important milestone in legally and financially merging under Vista Equity Partners, the work of combining their business operations and respective products appears to be just beginning. The announcement cited Cvent’s founder and CEO Reggie Aggarwal has been named the CEO of the new combined company that will operate under the Cvent brand.

“As an early adopter and long-time Cvent customer, we are optimistic the resulting Cvent will continue to be an innovator of cutting-edge event management technology solutions that propel our industry forward,” said Tina Madden, CFO and Partner of Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. M&IW has supported our clients with expertise in both Cvent and Lanyon platforms throughout the entire event lifecycle. We are proud to be two-time winners of the Cvent Planner Awards for Savvy Sourcing and Power of the Platform as well as a 2016 finalist. Additionally, we have employees that are Cvent Certified that will leverage their knowledge to take advantage of new functionality and enhancements.

Over the past two decades, Lanyon and Cvent have delivered some of the most innovative and successful technology solutions including event management, strategic meetings management, sourcing solutions, room block management, and mobile and onsite solutions. Combined, the companies have more than 800 technology professionals and 700 customer-facing support staff. “Our employees have been the DNA of our success and we’re excited to add the talent, experience, and the products of the Lanyon team,” said Reggie Aggarwal. As the undisputed market leader with approximately 28,000 customers in 100 countries, the new Cvent will continue to drive technology innovation while providing customers with world-class levels of support for all Cvent and Lanyon solutions.

At the same time, we also recognize that this news may be met with initial apprehension or uncertainty about the impacts of the merger on your business, whether you are a Cvent or Lanyon customer. At our annual M&IW Client Summit in September, Lisa Palmeri, Vice President of Global Enterprise Solutions, announced our plan to offer more comprehensive Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) and Cvent Technology consulting services beginning the first quarter of 2017. The current offering is being expanded with additional resources and expertise to provide a wide array of support. If you are considering a new Cvent implementation, a transition from Lanyon or another product to Cvent, or you want to optimize your use of meeting management technology solutions, sign up to receive a complimentary one-hour SMMart Action project assessment.

“M&IW is committed to embracing the latest industry technology solutions and remaining at the forefront of thought leadership in this exciting area of our business. As we learn more about the details of the Cvent/Lanyon merger, we will share our observations and perspectives with you,” said Lisa Palmeri.

Posted in: Company News, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Why Certify? A Closer Look at the Value of the CIS

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Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications & Creative Services

As members of M&IW’s Global Procurement team and Incentive Buyers descend upon Las Vegas (aka Sin City) for #IMEX16, we thought we would take a closer look at the Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) and the value this designation brings our team and our clients. In my discovery, I had the privilege to interview select members of our Global Incentive & Event Services team, specifically Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS, Director; Beth Reetz, CIS, Senior Incentive Buyer; and Senior Program Managers, Cara Turkowski, CIS and Katie Wiesner, CIS.

Let’s hear what they had to say….

A More Knowledgeable and Connected Team

By an overwhelming majority, one of the first benefits served up by each team member was that the CIS designation brought with it a new and valuable network of fellow incentive travel professionals. Cara put it best when she stated, “The class for the certification was a really great way to connect with others in the industry. It is especially helpful when planning international programs, as there are many destination management companies from around the world involved. It reassures me when partnering with them that they take incentive programs as serious as we do.”

The certification process brought incentive professionals with varied experience levels and skill sets together. The group cited that they learned a great deal simply by sharing best practices with each other during the course. Additionally, the more seasoned professionals, such as our M&IW team members, were called upon to share their insights and experiences with the group. This allowed for different vantage points from all around the world.

Katie pointed out that on a day-to-day basis the resources made available to CIS designees are extremely beneficial. The reference materials and newsletters keep the team current on destinations, new hot properties, popular CSR activities and industry insights.

A Confident Client

Clients have more confidence that our team is dedicated to incentives. Holding the designation helps M&IW stand out in the global marketplace. Prospective and current clients have noticed the CIS designation at the end of their names and it has sparked conversations about the credentials and dedication to staying educated in the field and building strong worldwide relationships. Tracy explains, “Obtaining the certification shows our commitment to staying on top of the industry. It holds the industry to a set of professional standards and shows that we are pursuing relevant education and looking to the future needs of our incentive clients.”

Beth shared that it has been very helpful having the designation when sourcing incentive programs. Suppliers in the industry recognize and respect the credentials and treat you as a knowledgeable buyer. This allows the buying and negotiation process to be more effective for our clients’ programs and giving them more confidence in the sourcing and contracting process. All in all, the amount of detail and planning that goes into an incentive program takes an experienced and knowledgeable buyer and having the CIS allows the team to perform at a higher level for our clients.

A Satisfied Employee

Investing in employees continuing education goes far deeper than the benefits it brings; it creates a culture of satisfied and fulfilled employees. M&IW has always valued and promoted industry certifications for their employees illustrated by the 65% of planners and account management at M&IW who hold either a CIS, CMP, CMM, HMCC, etc. This focus helps M&IW create promotable associates leading to a more satisfied and productive team. Cara spoke from her first-hand experience when she stated, “It has really opened a lot of doors for me and allowed me to manage more elite incentive programs. The whole experience has changed the way I approach incentive program design and execution.”

“The CIS designation is important for developing incentive professionals as it demonstrates proficiency in the fundamentals of motivational programs. It is helping to raise the quality of professionals in the incentive industry. At M&IW, we believe it shows to our clients and our associates that M&IW truly cares and invests in the professional development and advancement of our team.” Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS.

A Final Thought

Obtaining designations such as the CIS take time and investment, however, the return is multi-faceted. Invest in your employees’ education and they will invest more in your clients and be leaders among their peers when sharing best practices and resources.

Posted in: Event Marketing & Communications, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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M&IW Campus Week Brings Industry Leading Content

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Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications and Creative Services

During the M&IW Client Summit on Thursday, September 8, our resident subject matter experts will be leading engaging roundtable discussions designed to Go the Distance for today’s travel and event professional. We had the opportunity to catch a sneak peek of the topics and presenters. Here is a highlight of what they told us in our one-on-one interviews:

Tech Talk
Hosted by Tim LaFleur, CMP, Director, Mobile Strategy and Global Procurement – Suppliers & Chip Begley, Manager, Program Website & Mobile App Services, IT & Web Design

Our techies plan to cover two extremely hot topics that still cause a bit of confusion and mystery for most planners – Mobile Apps and WiFi/Internet.  Many planners want to know the variety of features and how various solution providers manages those features. When it comes to App solutions the devil is in the details and the details can make or break an effective meeting app. Similarly, there is so much still to learn about WiFi. Our tech experts will demystify the often confusing and misunderstood topic to allow planners to better manage internet needs for their meetings and events.

Participants will take away some basic next level thinking and be able to answer, “What does this all mean for me the planner?” This discussion will dive deep into the practicality of the topic by covering all the considerations that go along with it that can affect your work, the app and the attendee experience.

Talk Tech goes the distance by going further and digging deeper into a commonly discussed topic and challenge for today’s planners.  Much of the discussion that people are having regarding these topics only go about halfway leaving all sides without the proper understanding about what the other is saying.  This engaging roundtable discussion will aim to “Go the Distance” to create good, enriching and intelligent conversations about these topics where there hasn’t necessarily been in the past.

Event Planning Trends and Best Practices
Hosted by Christine Matias, MA, Director, Global Program Management Services, Steve Lorenz, CMP, HMCC, Senior Program Manager, Global Meeting Services & Ella Darby, Program Manager, Global Program Management Services

Our Event Planning Specialists will cover a plethora of topics during their engaging roundtable discussion from paperless meetings to shorter lead times and from the latest F&B trends to virtual meetings. Participants will leave with a great overview of the current trends affecting the industry and a better understanding of how we can all collaborate together to keep up with and change alongside them.

Event Planning Trends and Best Practices goes the distance by bringing to light current trends and trends on the horizon. Planners need to know where these trends are headed to know which road will help them “Go the Distance.”

Small Meeting Hotel Contracting
Hosted by Vicki Schmitz, VICKI SCHMITZ, HMCC, Manager, Global Procurement – Hotels

Small Meeting Hotel Contracting will reveal best practices in contracting specifically for small meetings. A high percentage of our client’s meetings are 75 guest rooms on peak or less and in most cases, these meetings have less than three months of lead time. During this engaging discussion, we will offer best practices that have helped today’s small meeting planner streamline the contracting process in order to expedite the final contract and give our clients the tools and resources to effectively prepare and plan for a successful meeting. Our featured hotel partners will disclose how they manage their small meeting contracts so participants will get an inside look from the hotelier viewpoint leading to a real discussion on ways to collaborate together to achieve success on both sides.

The audience will learn ways their industry partners are handling short term meetings and be able to take some of these ideas back to their own team to implement. In most cases, we all face the same challenges – especially in a seller’s market.   From a sourcing perspective, we all run into similar obstacles… limited availability, competitive rates and less flexibility.

Go the Distance is a constant theme for Sourcing. Buyers continue to strive to find clients the best possible options for their meetings to assist in achieving their meeting goals. We continuously work with our hotel partners to find the best possible fit and pricing. Understanding the dynamics from all angles and how to best collaborate together is where we all can “Go the Distance.”

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Incentive Travel Programs, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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