All In The Family: Travel, Procurement, Meetings

In the August issue of Monthly Metrics from, there are some interesting statistics that caught my eye. And they back up or confirm some important trends that I see happening at companies today. These numbers come from a survey of 148 corporate travel professionals.
For one, they show just how creating an effective strategic meetings management program is dependent on multiple disciplines within corporations--including travel and procurement managers. The poll asked: "How involved is travel management and/or procurement in planning or sourcing meetings?" While one-third said they were "somewhat involved," for example, assisting another department or individual when needed, an almost equal number said they were "very involved" with tasks such as sourcing suppliers, reviewing contracts or planning elements of most meetings. Meanwhile, 21 percent said travel management and procurement were "involved" through the sourcing of suppliers or by performing other meetings duties; 15 percent said they were not at all involved.

As companies globally continue to create dedicated meetings policies, build preferred bonds with hotels and other meetings suppliers, and as they put structures in place to minimize risk (such as establish standardized terms and conditions), the efforts require the significant cooperation and dedication of both travel and procurement departments. There are many opportunities to work together when building an SMMP, including during the process of discovering the breadth of a company's meetings activity, investigating planning and sourcing processes and, in the end, building a centralized meetings management program that everyone follows and participates in.   
Also, I think it's significant that more than 80 percent indicated that they were involved in sourcing (either assisting someone else in the company or doing it themselves), and it underscores the importance of implementing a centralized, automated system of searching for good space for group events--including a company's existing preferred properties, those that best suit its various event criteria or even canceled space that can be reused at another time.

Procurement and travel managers need to work together for one common goal--to create solid strategic meetings management programs to benefit the whole company. For more information on how travel, meetings and procurement can work beautifully together, check out a recent StarCite whitepaper on the topic.

Kevin Iwamoto is vice president of enterprise strategy at StarCite. This post is syndicated from his blog, Strategic Meetings Management.