Updated 'Model' Policy Can Help You Defend Events

On the heels of the Treasury Department's release of its own guidelines around event spend for companies that have received Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) assistance, the meetings industry coalition led by the U.S. Travel Association--and including groups like NBTA and SITE--has updated its model meetings policy, now known as the "Revised Model Board Policy Regarding Excessive or Luxury Expenditures for Events." It has created a separate document that cross-references Treasury's rules.
 [more]It's called, you guessed it, "Cross Reference for Treasury Rules to the Revised Model Board Policy," and to get a look, you can visit this link on SITE's, well, site."

I think its important to check out both these documents--whether you're a TARP recipient or not--because they contain some good, commense sense approaches to strategically managing meetings and avoiding scrutiny by the government and media, for example, establishing a company-wide policy on "excessive or luxury" expenditures and setting up approval procedures for events.

As an industry, we want to take the focus off individual companies that may be perceived to be spending too much or being lackadaisical about oversight, and instead educate the outside world that it's possible to have well managed and fiscally responsible meetings and incentive events (that produce good ROI)--even in so-called "vacation" destinations.

I looked at the two-page "Cross Reference" document, and it's fairly easy to read, noting Treasury's guidelines with blue highlighted sections that direct readers to reference back to the coalition's "Revised Model." It's worth the effort to keep up to date on this very important topic--not only to avoid unnecessary criticim of your events, but also to help us change outside negative perceptions of meetings and their destinations.

To quote Ben Franklin, that guy on the $100 bill: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

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