Written by Shauna McNaughton, HMCC | Sr. Director, Strategic Account Management
Small meetings are getting a lot more attention lately and for good reason. Many planners have known for some time that small meetings account for a lot of an organization’s overall meeting spend. But, it wasn’t until recently that they are starting to truly understand their impact.
A groundbreaking study by GBTA and MPI last year marked the first-ever joint survey from the two largest hospitality and travel professional organizations. The survey shines a bright light on sizable opportunities for progress in the management of small “simple” meetings.
The study gathered information regarding the percentage of simple meetings, location, small meeting booking process, and the use of KPI’s to measure their success. Another key component targeted the difference in approach for simple meetings versus traditional larger programs.
The findings were clear. Not surprising, the research revealed these smaller, easily-replicable meetings made up 50% of an average company’s meetings spend; the research details existing inefficiencies, as well as, the successes companies record when they adopt streamlined processes and efficient meeting planning technologies.
Note: Study conducted by GBTA & MPI on Small and Simple Meetings
Even more startling was the fact that even though simple meetings are common, many companies do not manage them in a rigorous way.
If you look at where these meetings are taking place, the largest piece of the pie stays at corporate premises with 45%. However, hotel conference space and offsite venues without conference space make up 57%. That’s a lot of opportunity at risk.
For years, small meetings were considered too numerous and cumbersome to manage. However, new technologies and service providers are helping planners rethink their small meeting strategy. Some solutions allow controls and provide data which is essential for strategic meetings management programs.
So, while there is a rise in companies who are now effectively managing small meetings, only 22% of respondents indicated they use an eRFP platform. And, 52% said weren’t planning to move forward in the next twelve months. However, the encouraging news is that for organizations that have not stood still, an overwhelming percentage of respondents (72%) said the eRFP platform is their preferred method for simple meetings. We are excited to announce the formation of a partnership with the leading technology provider in this space, Bizly. Stay tuned for more information on this development.
Perhaps one of the more surprising findings in the study was around KPIs and spend. While most respondents indicated they track spending in some fashion or form, the vast majority have not established KPIs for both simple as well as high spend programs.
M&IW has implemented many successful small meetings programs over the past few years. Just as with the larger meeting programs, policy, training, technology and KPI’s are key components to these programs. When implemented correctly, the benefits of small meetings programs include the following:
- Balanced workloads when resources are matched to events that need their level of expertise
- Efficiency of process to get the meeting owner from A to Z quicker
- Transparency into spending habits – monitor compliance on spend
- Drive volume into preferred hotel and venue program and leverage spend for greater savings with hotel brands
- Duty of Care more transparent for all attendees
- Control contracting liability with hotels and venues
At the 2019 M&IW Summit, we will continue to explore the benefits of small meetings management during a deep dive panel discussion with industry thought leaders who have successfully implemented, leveraged technology, and measured the impact of a small meetings program. Interested in learning more and joining us, email firstname.lastname@example.org.