Meetings data – how to decide what’s essential & what’s not

Data – such a small word for a huge topic. Data is an essential element of effective meetings management. The challenge lies in differentiating between what information is essential –and what isn’t.

More and more companies want to drive more value from their meetings programme through implementation of Strategic Meetings Management Programmes (SMMPs), consolidation with business travel expenditure – or both.

The Aberdeen Group’s 2014 report on trends in Strategic Meetings Management identified a consistent drive from corporates to reduce costs, capture and improve savings, and the increased use of technology to enable comprehensive reporting on, and analysis of, SMM performance.

The top reasons for implementing SMMP are to standardise policy, identify preferred customers and improved leverage in negotiations to drive cost costs. Essential data is therefore the information required to achieve these goals.

The problem is this can vary from organisation to organisation, so here is Inntel’s guide to deciding what data you will need to make your meeting spend visible and thereafter to measure the effectiveness of your SMMP.

  1. Find out exactly what your organisation buys where, and when; what types of external venues; event management services, technical production & so on, as well as internal meetings space, delegate registration software and supporting services.
  2. Segment demand by type of event, high, medium and low volume users by spend and transactions.
  3. Do the same by company department, location or division.
  4. Ensure that you capture meetings data from every available payment channel including credit card expenses to create a full picture.
  5. Don’t forget to include internal space usage and the time/cost spend by staff managing that space and supporting logistics
  6. Interview key stakeholders, such as finance, training, sales & marketing to find out what data, reports and metrics they need.
  7. Agree Key Performance Indicators that can be measured to quantity Return on Investment year-on-year.
  8. Gather data on current and future spend by centralising all meetings activity through a single point or channel.
  9. Benchmark the value generated by the programme by comparing
    1. Spend by department, location & division
    2. Spend by local venue
    3. Rate composition – whether breakfast, card parking, WiFi etc are included
    4. Event feedback including planner and delegate satisfaction ratings
  10. Analyse, refine and channel the available data to encourage senior management buy-in and organization-wide compliance.

Don’t worry though. At Inntel we are here to guide you along every step of the way, to create meetings programmes that will deliver against your objectives, and to define the reports that will demonstrate the progress made towards achieving those goals. Just ask your Inntel Account Manager.