Insights

Why a Meetings Management Program is Crucial During a Global Crisis

Are Coronavirus meeting cancellations making you assess your financial liability and duty of care?

Have you been tracking meetings and cancellations manually on a spreadsheet?

Has your meeting policy enforcement failed to reach key stakeholders?

Do your contracts have clauses that protect your organization?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're not alone. COVID-19 has certainly disrupted the meetings and events industry. Now more than ever there is a critical need for companies to invest in a managed meetings program. Why? During crises, organizations need instant responsiveness, full visibility into meetings activity, strong supply chain relationships and access to attendees and their location information to minimize exposure to both their bottom line, and their people. An unmanaged program provides none of this.

 Managed Meeting Benefits During Crisis

A consolidated managed meetings program provides more than guidance and support. Especially, with a seasoned meetings management partner, it allows an organization to respond effectively and efficiently in times of crisis:

  • Meeting activity and locations can be quickly assessed and managed through a single meeting technology platform where all meetings are registered.
  • Attendees can be provided real-time duty of care communications, best practice information on staying well, and location specific updates through the technology platform using information they provided during the registration process. This information can be instantly exported and delivered to security teams for visibility and immediate action.
  • Cancellation costs can be minimized and savings maximized by leveraging supplier relationships to use re-booking credits or bundled contracts. For example, managing your cancelled space centrally will help you re-use space, minimize exposure and maximize dollars already spent when meeting activity resumes.
  • Changes in policy can be automated to reflect meeting escalating approval changes or evolving travel restrictions, using dynamic meetings management technology.
  • Meeting support staff can be flexed in and out in response to changes in meeting volume by utilizing a meetings management company equipped with scalable resources.
  • Guidance and support from a single point of contact in the form of an account manager can share best practices and offer resources to help your organization make the most informed decisions.
  • Meetings calendar can stay on track despite the cancellation of face-to-face meetings by enhancing your strategic approach to meetings management using virtual technology. 
  • Meeting owners can be guided as to the right type of meeting forum to meet their needs. Our teams can help to navigate when a meeting might be more productive or cost effective in a virtual environment vs face to face, and help you to best utilize internal meeting space as a priority.
  • Having your own terms and conditions included in supplier contracts could allow for more flexibility for re-booking when postponing events
  • Peer benchmarking gives ability to understand what measures are being taken by other clients and results achieved
  • A view on the future. Once the dust settles and business starts to return to normal, working with a partner will be able to provide an industry wide view and current trends.

Using best practices produces superior results.

One best practice in meetings management is the use of a Lead Agency model. This agency takes responsibility for venue sourcing at the beginning of a program and reconciliation (with consolidated reporting) at the end.  That offers flexibility in the logistical and planning phases, which can be fulfilled by an internal team, the lead agency or another provider. This model works well for organizations in any industry who are looking to gain visibility and control of their meetings activity, while still allowing flexibility for meeting owner preferences in final decision making and meeting planning process.

Strategic account management raises the bar.

Add in the guidance of strategic account management to your Lead Agency model, and your program can reach a higher level. Our strategic account managers are subject matter experts, and will work in partnership with you to develop, drive and optimize your meetings program. This can include putting measures into place such as SLAs to monitor performance and ensure a consistent experience for your meeting owners; capturing, aggregating and analyzing data to allow you make informed and data driven business decisions; designing a strategy by meeting type that allows for purposeful connections and content relevant to what you are trying to achieve with each meeting; and benchmarking data to identify opportunities and facilitate planning and goal setting, both of which validate a meetings program and demonstrate ROI. 

Whether you’re just starting on your meetings management journey or looking to optimize your program in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it may be time to review your approach to meetings management. 

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