npower is a leading energy company that supplies gas and electricity to residential and business customers across the UK. We began working with npower in 2004 and are responsible for managing the company’s spend on external meetings and events as well as booking group accommodation for conferences.
In 2015 npower adopted a new ‘agile working’ model that involved reducing its corporate buildings’ footprint. Following this streamlining exercise the company’s spend on external meeting venues rose to £987,000 in 2015.
The npower Travel Manager was keen to understand why so many of its employees were now booking external meetings and turned to Inntel for support with the investigation.
Previously, when venue booking enquiries came in, Inntel would record the reason for the meeting and the number of attendees. Once it became clear that there was an upward trend in the number of smaller spaces that were being booked, especially for meetings involving between 5 and 8 delegates, npower proposed reviewing the quality of the questions in the booking process. It was recommended they ask fewer questions but ones that gave better quality data to understand why a meeting space was being booked, whether the host was meeting colleagues or clients, if hospitality was involved, and whether internal meeting space had been considered. This greatly improved the quality of the data that was delivered to npower and gave a clear picture story.
Over 6 months Inntel were able to identify that the main reason spend on internal meetings had risen was that bookers felt they did not have sufficient appropriate meeting facilities within their own buildings. We also discovered that the company was using a basic internal booking system to book out internal meeting space, rather than a dedicated and dynamic space, which had limited functionality that couldn’t confirm if space that had been booked out was actually used on the day, and this was compounding the problem.
Once the evidence was processed, and the problems identified, the Travel Manager engaged with senior team leaders within the business to raise their awareness of what they were booking and what it was costing the company. This helped them to focus on their requirements and budgets and think about when it would be better to meet onsite, using break out areas or a video conferencing link.
Naturally there are still some internal meetings that need to be held offsite. To enable the company to keep the cost of these meetings under control, Inntel manages a preferred meetings programme for the client (in line with npower’s terms and conditions for external meetings) and drives the company’s spend into agreed venues to achieve the best rates.
Inntel has also arranged for a ‘Day Delegate Lite’ package to be available at the main venues. Bookers can now select this reduced lunch option to ensure the company is not funding expensive three course meals just because the meeting attendees are convening out of the office. This can save up to 20% off per delegate.
Inntel provided npower with the comprehensive data they needed to see and take control of their meeting spend. npower used the information to tackle the problem immediately at its source, issuing clear communication that enabled the management teams to make informed choices.
Working in partnership to improve the quality of the data in this way has strengthened the already excellent business relationship between Inntel and npower. And our collective efforts have delivered some very positive financial results. Going by the reduced spend in the months following the business engagement, npower is on track to achieve a very impressive 78% saving year on year.