Strategic Meetings Management Success Story
Mitigating Manual Processes
As one of the top insurance providers in the U.S., this large financial/insurance company located in the Midwest hosts more than 1,000 meetings and events each year. Despite such an expansive meetings schedule, the company lacked a disciplined approach to managing venue sourcing for its meetings and events activities.
The company had been using a decentralized sourcing process in which approval for financial and legal risks, as well as event expenses, was conducted on an inconsistent, ad-hoc basis. This led to a lack of visibility for those outside the planning team and affected spending levels, savings, meeting numbers, deposits, credits, and reporting. Controls over these and other line items including event governance and signatory protocols did not exist. Without oversight into the process, incentive payments from suppliers were sent directly to planners, thereby raising concerns about possible supplier influence on venue decisions.
Creating a Strategic Meetings Management Strategy
In August 2017, the company's Sourcing & Procurement Solutions department launched a new Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP) and meeting and events policy for employees who plan company meetings or incentive events. The program encompasses departmental, sponsorship, and recognition events defined within their new meetings and events policy. The SMMP was rebranded and powered by Cvent’s Strategic Meetings Management solution. The company's new strategy was driven by its Director of Travel and Travel Team along with collaboration from the company’s Travel and Transport (TMC) partner. They worked closely with Cvent to develop a centralized sourcing process to manage venue sourcing across all the insurer’s meetings and events.
The company also hired a dedicated SMM Manager and sourcing specialists to work with Cvent to help develop a meeting and event policy. An implementation consultant at Cvent collaborated with their travel team on the development of a standardized meeting and event policy for the insurer. Under the new policy, they established a clear definition of qualifying meetings and events for the company. They also defined qualifying meetings and events as having 10 or more room nights booked and a contract and/or cumulative contract valuing at $20,000 or more. Moving forward, any meetings and events that met these criteria must go through the centralized sourcing process. This provides company planners with a disciplined approach to venue sourcing, using the latest technology, industry benchmarking, automated workflows, and processes. The implementation of this policy ffor venue sourcing at the company aimed to provide:
- Governance controls with respect to contracts
- Validation of rates and contract terms using historical and market data
- Detailed reporting on key metrics with meetings: meeting type, spend level, savings, and number of meetings
- Visibility into credits or deposits for reuse with future meetings
- Enablement of benefits of the company's Duty of Care Program for event attendees
- Better use of the company's onsite facilities for meetings, when applicable
- Improved tools for meetings of all sizes, from small DIY meetings to full production support for large-scale events for close coordination with conference planning teams