Untapped Savings Opportunities Revealed in Meetings Spending, According to StarCite Survey

Philadelphia — February 10, 2009 — A new survey from StarCite, Inc., has revealed a wide gap between corporate travel and meetings oversight at a majority of companies. Although meetings and events represent as much as 35 percent or more of many companies' travel spending, less than half the companies surveyed have established meetings policies — in contrast with 95 percent of respondents who said their organization has a travel policy in place.

The survey findings were published in a new whitepaper co-produced by StarCite, a provider of Web-based solutions to manage and automate corporate meetings and events, and ProMedia.travel Content Solutions. The whitepaper also outlined steps for companies to implement a strategic meetings management program and capture savings opportunities in the meetings and events category.

The survey found that meetings also lag well behind travel management programs in the area of strategic sourcing. More than 71 percent of companies have preferred supplier relationships with all three major travel categories (air, hotel and car rental), with only 5 percent of companies lacking preferred relationships altogether.

However, on the meetings side nearly 32 percent of companies lack preferred suppliers entirely. At the same time, nearly half the companies surveyed fail to integrate their travel and meetings data. As a result, companies are missing opportunities to secure potential savings from suppliers while the sourcing ability of overstretched meeting planners is further strained.

The survey also found that 39 percent of respondents apply their existing travel policy to their meetings programs. StarCite said this practice presents challenges for meeting planners because travel policies often lack spending categories that meeting planners use regularly, such as ground transportation.

"With millions of discretionary dollars at stake in a tight economy, meetings and events are a natural target for companies looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency," said Kevin Iwamoto, vice president of enterprise strategy at StarCite. "While our survey shows there is a long way to go for many companies in terms of putting strategic meetings management policies in place, we also know there is a clear roadmap for success. By incorporating procurement strategies and better integrating travel and meetings, companies can realize both quick and ongoing cost savings that will have a real bottom-line impact."

Building on the survey findings, StarCite's whitepaper outlines a systematic approach for companies that are eager to reap the rewards of an integrated meetings management program. Recommended tactics include:

  • Linking disparate travel and meeting data;
  • Identifying synergies between corporate travel and meetings programs;
  • And creating specific meetings management policies that will address the unique challenges presented by corporate meetings.

Nearly 150 travel managers, purchasing executives, meetings managers and other titles related to travel and meetings were polled for this survey to gain insight into common practices and attitudes toward meetings and travel management.

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