Every business has a certain range of expertise, capacity and capability. When its needs exceed any of these, it’s time to outsource to an outside agency. If you’re on the fence about whether your company should consider outsourcing your meeting planning consider these three critical questions:
- How big is your budget?
While it might seem like you can save money by doing things in-house, the truth is that not having key relationships, knowing the industry, and so forth can actually cost you more in terms of hidden costs, learning curve, etc.
- How important is your reputation?
If you’re trying to make a lasting impression or ‘wow’ your attendees, every detail needs to be carefully attended to and observed. This means that from the venue to the contracts, and everything in between needs to be reviewed for accuracy, accountability and vendor compliance.
- How replaceable is your top talent?
Key players – whether in management or elsewhere – require special treatment to retain them long-term. This means unique experiences of the outstanding kind where every detail in in place. It also means that those who are working on in-house productions for meeting events need to be cross-training because with each event they have to continue to refine their skills set for better, and better outcomes.
If any of the three questions resonate with you, it may be time to consider outsourcing to a professional meeting planning agency. To ensure that your meeting planning activities excel, here are seven factors that make for a strong agency partner:
Emergency Action Plan
Although implementing an emergency response plan is a vital part of planning, it is a daunting task. If it is not done correctly, it reflects poorly on your company and endangers your attendees. A recent survey by Meeting’s Today reports that an enormous 70% of meeting planners do not have a written emergency response plan in place.1 If this is an area where your company is lacking, consider hiring an outside agency that will put together an emergency action plan for you. A team of professionals will make sure even the more obscure details are taken care of.
Reduce the stress of traveling and let an outside agency take care of the travel details. Professionals will use their expertise to negotiate the best deal on flights while still keeping your travelers comfortable. Don’t worry, these won’t include cramped seats on a red-eye flight! They will also be quick with a solution for delayed or canceled flights. If flying internationally, they will brief your travelers on any medications or souvenirs that might be prohibited when traveling between countries, as well as other needed information for traveling abroad. And, if it’s getting travelers from the airport to the venue, all these details will be worked out as well.
Vendor Partner Relationships
Outsourcing to outside agencies for meeting planning has another advantage: vendor partner relationships. These relationships mean that there’s something special to be gleaned at a local venue – expertise and knowledge that only someone with experience in the area would know about. This translates to the special “wow” experiences that your travelers take home as memories that last a lifetime. From food and drink at local eateries, to local hotspots and nightlife, to the scenic areas and activities that make the meeting more than just business.
Outside agencies will not only use their extensive contact and resources to help you find the best venue for your group, but they will also help you secure the best prices. Did you know that 65% of meeting planners are able to successfully negotiate substantial areas such as food, drink, and room rates?2 Outside agencies know where there is wiggle room to negotiate. They are aware of the main areas of revenue for hotels and can leverage discounts in other areas. Additionally, outside agencies are aware of how to add value by looking for ways to bundle services such as including WiFi at no extra cost.
Businesses lose thousands of dollars from attrition penalties when hotel rooms are not booked. Additionally, cancellation fees can be difficult to navigate when they can be buried in the fine print of the contract details. An experienced outsourced agency will negotiate details of the contract that an in-house planner may miss. They will use their years of experience to negotiate cancellation policies and attrition, ensuring that your event is protected.
Branding and Marketing
Of course, a successful meeting is more than keeping your guests safe and securing optimal prices. An outside agency will further your company’s goals while staying within your budget. They will brainstorm ways to create an event that is consistent with your company’s vision and branding. Look for an agency that will go the extra step and help with marketing your event.
If used correctly, technology can be a great asset to your event. The challenge is staying up to date on the rapid advancements in technology. Outside agencies will help you implement the latest tools and features. Studies have shown that apps provide better communication, engagement, and networking among attendees.3 A well-designed app will also help monitor the success of your event.4 However, a poorly designed app is of little use. A professional planning company can help design an app that includes all features that will maximize the user experience.
While many companies have the capability and capacity for in-house meeting planning, there are many organizations that don’t. For those who are looking for the expertise that an outsourced meeting planning agency can bring, they will find tremendous value. A professional meeting planning agency will help cut costs as well as execute successful events that result in long-term revenue increases and loyal employees.
Looking to outsource your corporate meeting planning? Contact Gavel International to learn more about how working with us can streamline your process.
- https://www.amexglobalbusinesstravel.com/content/uploads/2017/12/2018-Global-Meetings-Forecast-US.pdf, pg 22.
- Ibid, pg 39.