Archive for Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

Lighting a New Fire: Finding Purpose and Intent (Part 2 of 3)

WBENC Tuck Executive Course

Written by Tina Madden, CAP | Co-CEO and Chief Customer Officer

As business leaders, we are often caught up in dealing with things in real time. People rely on us to help solve immediate challenges and make quick decisions, all while pushing our team leaders to the next level. It is incredibly difficult to take a break from the work that is in front of us to strategically plan for the future. It’s a commitment to make something abstract the main priority.  In Part 1 of this series, published last month, I wrote about my experience at the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program at the Tuck School of Business, how it lit a fire beneath me and what it means for our colleagues and partners moving forward. I want to take a moment to expand on this further.

Going into it this program, I knew the basics of what to expect. I knew we would work on business operations and marketing strategy, hear from various business experts, and learn about some of the challenges and solutions experienced by our peers. But what I didn’t expect, was that I would get so passionate about empowerment. Empowerment has always been a part of my purpose as a leader, but I discovered during this program that there was more I could be delivering and that my excitement for creating purpose runs deeper than I could have ever imagined.

During the program, we were asked to consider what legacy we wanted to leave and how we could continue to give back. In experiencing the ‘transformative’ moments my peers had during this program and thinking about my own leadership journey, it became clear to me how fascinated, and passionate I was about women empowering other women. I saw women being lifted by their peers. I saw breakthroughs because of the support and ideas being shared among the group. I saw very established women leaders let go of the “woman-doubting guard” they had been carrying and honestly realizing that they were right where they were supposed to be. It wasn’t just luck. It was hard work, dedication and focus, not happenstance.

So, there you have it. The legacy I want to leave is to become the best women leader I can be and intentionally work to support other leaders. It is a harsh society today. In an age of technology, transparency, and social media there is a lot of criticism on what we are all doing “wrong.” What if we stopped focusing on what we are doing “wrong” and start to focus on what we are doing right and how to continue to create opportunities and successes? Magic may happen.

What does this mean for all of you?

At M&IW, we are very passionate about our culture. It is essential to my sister, Jean, and I as Co-CEOs that we create an environment where our employees, leaders and executive teams feel empowered and empower others. To continue to build and sustain a culture free of criticism to let creativity thrive, one full of support even when mistakes are made, one that allows different types and levels of leaders — program leaders, account leaders, thought leaders, and people leaders – to all THRIVE. The best leaders really do see beyond what people currently are to what they have the potential to become. This applies to our clients and suppliers, as well, because we are in partnership together to create amazing outcomes through the power of human energy and live events.

I look forward to sharing the final part in this series next month in which I will dive deeper into our business and vision into 2019 and beyond.

 

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

Benefits of Attending IMEX America 2018

conferences, attending, benefits, IMEX, 2018

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

Offering dozens of brilliant speakers, days of fresh ideas and continuous inspiration at 180-plus educational and networking events over four days, IMEX America is a must attend event in the industry. M&IW had a large team of meeting industry professionals within various disciplines attend this year’s event. We couldn’t wait for their return to dive in to discuss their experience, biggest take-aways and how they can use their newfound knowledge to better serve our clients. And, of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t share it with our community.

Here is what our team had to say about IMEX America 2018:

Q. What were your biggest take-aways?

“Networking! It was so great to meet hoteliers that I book business with regularly and meet new friends at different properties/chains.” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“Face to face communication is still and always will be the best way to do business. In this time of increasing efficiencies, email and phone are going to be our primary modes of communication, but it is fundamental to build relationships and live meetings help us to better communicate the needs of our client, as well as sharing our issues, concerns and successes.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“It was amazing to see the respect our partners and colleagues have for our organization. I felt a lot of love for M&IW. It was priceless experiencing the interactions our entire team had with other attendees and suppliers.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. What were the newest trends or hot topics that were widely discussed?

“Busy, busy, busy. All hotels, especially US hotels, expressed that the industry is busier than ever and have very little availability for large programs through 2020. Some hotels could name only one or two weeks in the entire 2020 calendar year where they knew they had availability.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“It was apparent that wellness and self-care are definitely an emerging event trend. There was a dedicated meditation and self-care room that was available during the entire conference. There were two rooms with low lights, essential oils and sound-proofing. One room featured padded mats and pillows. The other room featured quiet stations that allowed for intimate discussions. An amazing moment of calm to escape the event chaos for a moment if needed.” – Sarah Piggott, CMP – Meeting & Tradeshow Specialist, Attendee Registration
“I loved the cool custom-made gifts. They displayed amazing samples at IMEX and were super impressive with the level of customization that we do for our clients.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. What was your favorite moment during the event?

“The concert put on by Marriott! All acts were amazing – but Journey was my favorite!” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“I greatly enjoyed having a special dinner with my host group and learning about hotels in special destinations in Asia and Europe. Several in which I will have a chance to visit in person over the next year.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“Being invited to toast the anniversaries and success with two of our valued partners. It was very cool to be considered a special partner and be valued to be present at those moments.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. How did the event help you grow in your area of expertise?

“This event helped me grow because it allowed me time face-to-face with hotels that I do not see on a regular basis. It gave me time to create a deeper partnership with that hotel/sales manager that will benefit both my client and the hotel. We also were able to brainstorm ways to make the small meetings fit within the hotel as well as work for my client.” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“Making face-to face connections and shaking hands really solidifies many of my partnerships. Now we are able to communicate and work together on a more personal level which makes business that much easier and more effective. We have a better sense of TEAM and partnership.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

“I came home with much more information than I had when I left. It helps to sit down with a hotel and see visuals of the property and how that property could be a potential good fit for my groups. Learning about location of the hotel and what is nearby for groups for offsite events, dinner, and shopping was an added bonus!” – Jennifer Kamps – Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“By meeting face-to-face with so many of our supplier partners and expanding my relationships and connections in the industry, I feel this will directly improve my ability to find good availability and negotiate on behalf of my clients. I also expanded my knowledge of legal issues on Smart Monday and learned about some new destinations.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

In Closing:

M&IW is committed to the professional development and personal enrichment of our team members. The focused nature of learning at a conference gives our team members tools and skills which cannot be taught in-house or online. The recurring theme we hear is the ability to network. There is no direct message, Skype, email or tweet that can rival a face to face meet up. Social media makes it easy for us to stay connected with our current network, but it also hinders branching out and expanding our networks.

As an innovative organization, it is imperative for us to stay on top of emerging trends and positive changes in our industry. So, keep an eye out for our team at other industry-leading events. Upcoming conferences are posted on our homepage. If you want to set up a time to connect with any of our team members attending, email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

Project Global Give Back, Ain’t No Stopping Us Now

Written by: Kristie Rogers | Manager, Recruiting & Training

If you asked me what M&IW’s biggest strength is, my answer would be simple – it’s the hearts of our employees. It is not uncommon for the M&IW family go above and beyond for our client, but they go above and beyond for our communities as well!

In the past, we have worked, as a company, for causes such as Make-A-Wish and Relay for Life. Together, we’ve granted two wishes for children in 2016 and have raised thousands of dollars towards cancer research since 2001.

As we celebrated our 50th anniversary, we brainstormed how we could push the envelope and make our 50th year Global Give Back program one to remember. We created the 50 Years/50 Charities initiative. The company was split into 50 teams based on their global location. Each team ranged from four to eight people and were given the opportunity to choose a charity that was close to their hearts. Some chose national charities, such a Big Brothers Big Sisters. Other teams chose local charities, such as the River Bend Nature Center in Racine, WI and the Chestnut Tree House in Sussex, UK. The teams had an entire year to give back to that charity.

Of course, there was also a bit of friendly competition. Teams were competing to raise the most money for their charity or contribute the most volunteer hours. Some teams raised money for their charity by selling bracelets, raffling off baskets of goodies, holding bake sales, and collecting in-kind donations such as school supplies. Others gave back by volunteering as a team, harvesting vegetables for a food pantry, spending time with underprivileged youth, and walking dogs at their local animal shelter.

When it came time to tally the funds raised and time spent volunteering, I was astonished at the results. Together as a company, M&IW volunteered 1,913 hours and raised $28,630 for charities all over the world! It gave me goosebumps to look at the numbers and think about the difference that our company made in just one year. I am so proud of the passion that M&IW has for giving back! The Fox Cities team, Big Hearts, Little Hands, selected Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region and were awarded the 2018 Community Partner Award. “The Meetings & Incentives Worldwide team has been a tremendous blessing throughout the past year. They have volunteered their time at BBBS events, organized a basic needs supply drive in 2017 and a school supply drive for 2018, helped to paint and organize the BBBS Appleton office, and adopted a family in need last holiday season. They barely finish completing one volunteer project before they ask for another. They are a model of philanthropic giving and we are thankful to have them as one of our key partners,” said Lindsay Felon, Executive Director, BBBS.

Our 50 Years/50 Charities drive may have come to an end, but there is no stopping us now! So how do we top that? This year, our focus is on WORLD HUNGER. More than 815 million people, or roughly 1 in 9, suffer from chronic hunger. Even in the United States, 41 million people struggle with hunger.

Our Community:
The first initiative was close to our Global Headquarters in Wisconsin. Our Co-CEO, Jean Johnson, CMP, is helping to start a food pantry in the heart of Racine, WI. At our M&IW Summit, employees were encouraged to donate hygiene items and non-perishable food which were delivered to the food pantry. The shelves will now be stocked when they open later this year. If you are interested in learning more about this give back initiative or supporting the cause, please email marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

The World:
The second initiative was global. We worked with Rise Against Hunger to pack 25,144 meals for children all over the world. That’s right, we put on some stylish hair nets and got to work! It was a really rewarding experience to work as a team to package these meals for those in need. To see our amazing team in action, check out our RISE AGAINST HUNGER video.

We invite you to join us in ending WORLD HUNGER by donating to your local food pantry, starting a food drive at work, volunteering to pack meal,s or make a donation to Rise Against Hunger at www.riseagainsthunger.org.

 

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

How to be Empowered for Global Travel Safety and Security

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

Sometimes empowerment is about feeling like you are in control in situations which are out of your control. When it comes to global travel safety and security, we all know there are many things that are out of our control. Security is perhaps not the most enjoyable event management topic. But, it is certainly the most important, and one that M&IW takes seriously.

So, what is the best way to take control of situations in which you have very little control over? With managing thousands of events in more than 75 countries, we have seen a fair share of undesirable situations. It is critical to have a plan and be prepared for the unexpected. Recently, we experienced natural disasters such as volcano eruptions in Hawaii to storms in Florida that displaced entire events. In one instance, we had an employee in Costa Rica when a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast, in which we were immediately notified and able to contact them to ensure their safety.

When I asked Samantha Gerke, Manager, Global Group Travel, what M&IW does to make sure our group travelers stay safe, she answered, “We partner with one of the best organizations in the world. M&IW is an expert in travel services and meeting management and versed in emergency preparedness and planning. However, we rely on a WorldAware (formerly known as iJet) to provide a single system of intelligence, communication and assistance services to help mitigate risk and respond when necessary. WorldAware is an excellent tool to have under our belt hear at M&IW. It empowers us to communicate with our employees around the world in a quick and efficient manner in times of threat exposure.”

Because we believe that this is not a topic to keep close to the chest, we thought it prudent to share this valuable information with our community. I had the opportunity to ask George Taylor, VP Global Operations, of WorldAware, a few questions and here is what he had to say:

Q. How do you feel that your service empowers employees and organizations?

A. WorldAware helps organizations operate with confidence by enabling them to protect their people, facilities and brand. The company provides a single ecosystem that unites intelligence, communications and assistance services, so organizations and their people can mitigate the risk posed by emerging threats. WorldAware provides expertise across intelligence categories such as terrorism, geopolitics, environment, transportation and health, along with geographic and regional analysis, providing clients with actionable insights that allow them to make fast, accurate risk mitigation decisions. WorldAware’s Worldcue® solutions deliver real-time dashboard views of threats and their intersect with people, along with two-way communications and location-based alerts. WorldAware’s assistance and response services are available 24/7, ready to answer travel-related questions, support business continuity efforts and coordinate response operations if the need arises. WorldAware’s experts review business continuity plans, conduct training, test crisis management plans, and more. By providing intelligence, communications and assistance within a single, unified ecosystem, WorldAware empowers organizations and their employees to make well-informed, critical decisions to mitigate risk and ensure safety.

Q. What trends are you seeing in the industry?

A. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that nowhere is safe. Enterprises are realizing that threats can occur to anyone at any time. In the past, risk management and security teams tended to focus on the traveler, particularly the traveler headed to a location typically considered high risk. However, recent events have shown us that threats occur even in locations typically thought of as low risk – New York, Las Vegas, London, Brussels, etc. This realization means that enterprises now must think about protecting all of their people, not just their travelers.

The vast majority of enterprises are up for this challenge, they just need expertise and guidance. In fact, some of the world’s largest organizations describe themselves as “paternal” – they want to do the right thing for their employees. Along these lines, the concept of “duty of care” resonates, but risk and security leadership is often quick to point out that it is not a duty or an obligation that drives them, it’s a commitment to doing the right thing. This trend continues to prioritize the need for an integrated risk management policy that covers not just business travel, but all personnel and facilities, both at home and abroad.

Q. We are intrigued by your business. Tell us about more about WorldAware. What is your history and where you are now and where you are going?

A. In 1999, WorldAware became one of the first companies to offer intelligence-driven risk management to the travel industry — a change that ultimately transformed travel and security departments worldwide. WorldAware’s Travel Intelligence® and Worldcue® risk-management software revolutionized corporate and government business travel with the promise of keeping employees safe — not just on time.

We understand that you are faced with many challenges and decisions every day. As the world evolves, we need to stay one step ahead to ensure you appropriate decision support. We subscribe to a process of continuous innovation to drive continuous improvement and value. Trust, speed, security, and innovation can’t happen independently. We are committed to creating value for all of our stakeholders, colleagues, clients, partners, suppliers, and the communities in which we serve.

Our team will be partaking in a mandatory three-hour training hosted by WorldAware at our annual M&IW Summit: Employee Exchange. M&IW puts our client attendees and associates at the center of what we do and WorldAware puts intelligence at the center of what they do. This makes the perfect partnership when it comes to risk mitigation because they prioritize the availability of fast, accurate threat intelligence, and combine that intelligence with state-of-the-art technology and assistance services. The result is that M&IW receives a single, integrated ecosystem from which we can protect our people, clients, passengers and business operations. And, this is more important to us than anything else that we do!

 

 

 

Posted in: Company News, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

Leave a Comment (0) →

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

7 Secrets to Professionally Managed Meeting Procurement

Blog - 7 Secrets to Professionally Managed Meetings.png

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

Negotiated Hotel Group Rates versus Online Deals

Image_One_Many

 

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

Incentive Travel Trends and Journey Mapping

Incentive_Industry_Trends_Image2

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

The Art and Science of Data for Meetings Management

Palmeri_Art_Science_Blog_Resized
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

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 2 of 3 123