Event Tech Strategy, Insights & Trends.

Manage Venue Sourcing More Strategically: Trade in Your Spreadsheets for Technology

Great meeting planning isn’t about spreadsheets. It’s about understanding the vision and managing meetings strategically – to be a leader who creates value and plays a crucial role in the company’s success.

If you’re managing meetings and events manually, you’re probably sinking a lot of time into spreadsheet work. That leaves you less time to focus on the big picture – advising senior leadership on how to drive more value and ROI from their meetings investment. Thankfully, help is on the way.

Compelling new sourcing solutions provide a crystal-clear picture of meetings spend, savings and compliance throughout your company. All the data is captured automatically in real-time. What’s more, you can onboard employees – first-time planners and pros – in a matter of minutes.

For meeting leaders who want to manage planning teams super effectively, these solutions get you there faster and smarter.

For example: They provide instant visibility into the progress of meetings sourced at every stage to help you proactively manage the sourcing process. You also get a bird’s-eye view of spend and negotiated savings by brand, meeting owner, business unit and region.

In short, these next-level solutions deliver the business intelligence you need to elevate your role from order taker to trusted advisor. Plus, the added transparency demonstrates to C-level executives your department is working hard, controlling spend and driving savings at every opportunity.

There’s no more time wasted gathering metrics manually for the CFO and procurement leaders. Plus, no more tedious spreadsheet work; all the data you need is right at your fingertips, ready to pull up at a moment’s notice.

Strategic Sourcing Quick-Start
You see, venue sourcing has changed a lot since the eRFP made its debut more than a decade ago. Today’s advanced sourcing solutions are more comprehensive, going well beyond the eRFP to help you through the entire planning process, from sourcing to negotiating, contracting and capturing data.

As a result, they capture 10x more data than traditional eRFP tools. Just to name a few, you get vital metrics on:

  1. Quantified negotiated savings
  2. Spend and savings by brand and venue
  3. Spend and savings by user, team, department and region companywide
  4. Volume of meeting types (internal, external, virtual, face-to-face, training, sales, board, etc.)
  5. Number of canceled meetings
  6. Volume with preferred vendors
  7. Cities where your company holds the most meetings

The fact is, if you’re not harnessing the full power of sourcing technology, it’s time to take a fresh look. There are innovative new features and functionalities to help you manage meetings more efficiently and strategically to drive meeting value and ROI. Here are some examples from etouches:

  • Easy Access to Data – You can pull data-driven reports in a matter of minutes instead of spending hours collecting metrics from your team and creating/updating spreadsheets manually. One-click reporting dashboards make it simple. Every data point the CFO and procurement could want is instantly available in one place. With this type of immediacy, you can anticipate their questions and have answers before they even ask.
  • Robust Reporting– Of course, it’s not only about analyzing metrics; it’s also essential to communicate results to stakeholders. Sourcing technology makes it almost effortless to show your department is doing its part to optimize savings. With reporting so easy, keep key stakeholders in the loop with monthly, quarterly and annual reports.
  • Gain Visibility – Don’t let the simplicity fool you; these solutions can go incredibly deep. Part of the fun of the technology is finding creative ways to approach the data from different angles. For example, view the sourcing activity of each planner, including third parties and every employee with meeting organizing responsibilities throughout your organization. For example, you’ll see in an instant if team members are:
    • Following a three-bid RFP process for competitive pricing
    • Stacking multiple meetings with the same brands and venues to secure bulk pricing
    • Piggybacking smaller meetings off larger events your company has at the same venue to leverage volume
    • Using preferred suppliers

Let data-driven insights lead the way so all team members maximize opportunities to add value and control spend.

  • Quantified Value – Stop wasting time trying to provide concession values manually. Next-level sourcing solutions eliminate the guesswork, not to mention the tedium. They require venues – not meetings teams – to quantify concession values. You build credibility with the C-suite by highlighting the proven value your team is generating and the effort put forth to deliver the best options.
  • Better Benchmarking – The better the data, the better the benchmarking. With quantified savings, events become more predictive. Give your team valuable tools to drive additional savings and sound decisions on venue selection.
  • Powerful Negotiations – Forget all the back-and-forth with hotels. In an industry first, advanced sourcing technology captures the entire bid evolution for each venue. Simple graphs show changes in costs and savings over time. Are planners accepting first bids or pushing negotiations to the max? Now it’s easy to know with data that’s instantly available and up-to-date. Give planners powerful tools and ensure opportunities to save don’t slip through the cracks.

Don’t Get Left Behind
The simple truth is: event technology is no longer optional; it’s fundamental to your success.

Meeting leaders who ignore this shift will be left behind. A new generation of millennial planners are adept at all things technology, and they’re using data-driven solutions to improve event value and ROI.

Things are only going to intensify, as meetings and events become increasingly important for organizations across a range of industries. The M&E sector is hot, says MPI’s Meetings Outlook, 2017 Summer Edition; the latest installment of this quarterly report forecasts a continued healthy market, with growth in both live and virtual attendance.

Don’t miss out on the opportunities of a growing market. Exciting new technologies give you the visibility you need to move the meetings program forward, aligning your team with precision with the goals of your company.

In our experience, event leaders who leverage technology advance faster and reap added benefits from enhanced efficiency, communications and ROI. What’s more, they gain confidence with the C-suite by aligning planning team with the goals of their organization.

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