Still fumbling with spreadsheets to get a handle on your company’s meeting spend? You're not alone.
In most organizations, this spend is decentralized, scattered across multiple business units and regions. That makes it difficult to understand total spend by brand and report on the savings your team generates.
There’s no way to know, for example, if you’re negotiating based on $5 million in brand spend when it’s actually $8 million. Or if the company’s No Walk clause is always included on RFPs …or just sometimes. Or if a shortlisted hotel has a history of overcharging your company or providing poor service. Or if the savings you’re realizing come at too high a cost.
The fact is, if you want to make informed decisions that fuel your company’s success, you need full visibility into meeting and event activity throughout your organization. And spreadsheets simply won’t get you there.
The good news is a new generation of sourcing solutions eliminates the guesswork. The technology captures sourcing data automatically to provide a comprehensive picture. You get the business intelligence you need to make strategic decisions about controlling and leveraging your company’s meeting spend.
These solutions are easy to deploy. With little-to-no training required, first-time planners and pros can start using them to increase savings and reduce risk from Day 1.
How can you put sourcing data to work for you?
These next-level sourcing solutions make your life so much easier. They do the heavy lifting you need to align meetings and events with the goals of your organization and play a key role in driving success. Let me explain exactly how with these nine examples from Aventri venue sourcing:
The Key Benefits of Using a Top Venue Sourcing Solution
- Using these tools, you’ll get a crystal-clear picture. You can see meetings and events sourced at every stage of the process, from finding to negotiating to contracting venues. Information is instantly available all in one place. With enhanced visibility, planners can view the progress of bids as they come in. Plus, they can see side-by-side bid comparisons in real time to supercharge bargaining power.
- You’ll get detailed spend and savings intelligence by planner and occasional planners, as well as third parties. Advanced sourcing solutions can go remarkably deep. You can structure the data any number of ways to gain valuable insights. For example:
- Savings and cost avoidance by hotels and brands
- Spend and cost avoidance by meeting owner, business unit and region
- Volume with preferred vendors
- Rebook canceled meetings with venues to recoup deposits
- Compliance with travel policies
- Cities where your company holds the most meetings
- You’ll maximize buying power. Got a training session to plan in Orlando? A single dashboard will show all the meetings your company has shortlisted there as well as those booked or operated during the last 12 months. Why focus on one-off events? Develop policies to funnel multiple meetings to the same brand or venues. Also, piggyback smaller meetings off larger ones at the same hotel. So your team realizes the full benefits of your company’s spend.
- You’ll drive powerful savings. Check what your company spends with each brand for every dollar it saves. The new generation of sourcing solutions calculates savings-to-spend ratios for you and serve up results in one click. Armed with this insight, you can develop more strategic partnerships, shifting business to brands that go the extra mile to earn your business.
- You’ll share team intelligence. The technology makes it easy to share planner experiences across the organization. Using Aventri, for example, team members can view their favorite venues and those of their coworkers directly from the search screen. They can even see other planners’ notes. This includes hotels that have provided inadequate service and other key details like upcoming renovations, even cancellation credits.
- You’ll have everything at your fingertips. A single portal provides instant access to the team’s collective intelligence on venues. What’s more, the platform presents relevant information in bite-size pieces at the time it’s most relevant – when planners are researching venues to add to their RFPs.
- You’ll encourage collaboration and manage your team better. With a clear line of sight, you’ll know at a glance who’s slammed and who’s available to lend a hand. This kind of transparency also fosters team collaboration. When planners have full visibility into sourcing and booking activity, they can quickly pick up where coworkers leave off and keep the momentum going strong.
- You’ll generate robust reports – easily. One-click reporting dashboards make it a breeze to spotlight team successes and report results to C-suite executives and other stakeholders. With a process so streamlined, you can keep stakeholders in the loop, delivering detailed reports on a regular monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
- You’ll make the business case for meetings. No need to spend hours, even days, compiling metrics manually onto spreadsheets. Advanced sourcing solutions like Aventri require hotels – not meetings teams – to quantify values on concessions, guest rooms, meeting space, and F&B. So it’s easier to deliver on savings goals to your CFO and make a clear, data-driven case for meeting ROI.
In short, the new generation of sourcing solutions add value, cut costs, reduce contractual risk, improve planner productivity, show meeting ROI and enhance the overall attendee experience.
By the way, as you keep using the technology, data about venues and what value they add (or not) aggregates. So you’ll be able to see which strategies work best and make data-driven decisions about future events.
Check out more of our tips to help travel leaders power hotel negotiations and control spend:
- 4 KPIs Every Travel Manager Should Track for Meetings & Events
- Gain Control of Small Meeting Spend in 5 Easy Ways
- How to Leverage Your Meeting Spend to Drive Bigger Savings
This blog post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for relevance and clarity.