Over the last several years, there has been a growing trend among organizations to focus on the consolidation of their meetings, events and travel programs. The benefits to companies are obvious. Travel managers and meeting planners can increase efficiencies, reduce overlaps, leverage negotiating clout, improve client relationships, and ultimately save their organizations time and money.
The pace of consolidation has accelerated in the last few years, as leadership support has increased and greater technology use among meetings, event and travel managers have helped speed results. In addition to some of the benefits already cited are more effective meeting and travel experiences, knowledge sharing across programs, and greater transparency into the overall costs of travel, meetings and events.
Challenges to Travel & Meeting Consolidation
Despite these successes, companies face a number of structural challenges, including:
- Gaining alignment across departments
- Lack of visibility into other departments
- Shortage of resources to manage consolidation
- Lack of centralized technology capabilities and departmental resources
To overcome these obstacles and streamline the consolidation process, travel managers and meeting/event planners point to the following best practices:
Build a Strong Foundation
Conduct in-depth research on impacts to the organization and target departments, and then convey these benefits to senior management and internal stakeholders.
Gain Strategic Buy-in
Gain executive and stakeholder support before beginning the process by establishing a network across departments to promote consolidation plans.
Sample and validate the consolidation plan, which will help to identify possible roadblocks, cultivate best practices, and lay the groundwork for broader program mergers in the future.
Apply Technology Wisely
Applying and integrating technology smartly and strategically can help ease the process and facilitate future programs down the road. Consider adding support from a third-party technology provider that is well versed in the best technology tools for your program goals.
For more information on travel and meetings consolidation, read Cvent & the GBTA Foundation's research report here.