The dining, travel, and accommodations spending that goes along with corporate meetings, not to mention the cost of securing a proper meeting venue, can be extremely costly for companies.

More than half of companies, however, have never tried to implement any meetings management strategy from a corporate travel management company, according to a new report from Carlson Wagonlit Travel and BTN Group.

The report finds that while 54 percent of companies polled have never tried to implement a meetings management program, 70 percent of those that have implemented a program plan to expand their existing program.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel surveyed 246 professionals involved in meeting planning and conducted interviews with more than 20 travel and meetings experts to produce the report.

The results of the report show that many companies simply don’t engage travel management companies to manage their meetings programs. It should also be noted that Carlson Wagonlit Travel offers the kinds of meeting management services the report suggests are needed by businesses.

“What we found is that practically everyone who runs a strategic meetings management program defines their program as successful,” said Kari Wendel, senior director of global SMM strategy & solutions at Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s CWT Meetings & Events. “All the experts agreed that a strategic meetings management (SMM) program doesn’t have to be complicated and the returns can come very quickly. The advice that emerged from our research is that if you’re starting out, it’s a question of keeping it simple and focusing on strategy. Tactical implementation will follow quickly.”

A third of respondents who have implemented a program reported savings of 11 to 15 percent as a result of managing their meetings spending, while 17 percent reported savings of 15 percent or more.

Here are four graphics from the report that highlight the role of meetings management in corporate travel.

More than half of companies polled don’t have a meetings management program

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Just 27 percent of the companies polled have already implemented a meetings management program. More than half have never tried to implement a program, and five percent don’t currently have a program but have tried one in the past.

Better information, and not savings, are the top goals

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When companies first implement a meetings management program, the goal is usually simply to increase the understanding and information surrounding meetings spending. Just nine percent did so for cost savings.

Meetings management is a long-term project

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Almost half of companies with an existing meetings management program put it into place two to five years ago. Just 14 percent have implemented a program in the last year.

Companies are seeing wrong compliance

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Three-in-four respondents reported that 50 percent or more of their meetings spend took place inside the company’s meetings policy. Just six percent said their organization sees less than 25 percent compliance.

Tags: cwt, meetings
Photo Credit: Holmesglen at Eildon in Eildon, Australia hosts corporate events. Corporate Meeting Planners