Is Poor Meetings Oversight to Blame for the State of the Industry?

Do you know how much your organization spends on meetings? If your answer is No, you're not alone. Many meeting planners have little to no insight into meetings spend.

This poor control over meetings is the industry's "dirty little secret" and what may have led to its downfall, at least that's what some experts told Corporate & Incentive Travel recently. In the article "The Meetings Industry Fights Back," Sharon Marsh, CMM, CMP, meetings group manager at Medtronic Cardiovascular, attests to the fact that meeting planners and their management teams can't account for meetings spend nor demonstrate return on investment (ROI).

"I’ve been in this industry a long time and I’ve seen how little thought is put into the decisions that are made," Marsh said.

Rhonda Marko, CMP, CMM, DMCP, president and CEO of Destination Nashville and president of the Association of Destination Management Executives (ADME), agrees, and says that planners need to start changing their ways now.

"There is now a negative perception about having meetings,” Marko told C&IT. "But the truth is, you have to have meetings—if there is a reason to have a meeting. If there is not a genuinely good reason in the first place, you shouldn’t be holding the meeting. So the job of a meeting planner right now is that if they haven’t been doing it already, they have to start measuring ROI now. They have to be very clear about the measurable objectives and the results of their meetings."

Most of the planners quoted in the article seem to agree that right now planners need to first set the record straight about meetings and events to the public, then "walk the talk," if you will," by becoming accountable for their meetings spend.

Marko summed it up: "Don’t cancel the meeting. Instead, demonstrate the value and ROI of the meeting."

What are your thoughts? Could the backlash against meetings have been avoided—or at least curtailed—if planners stayed accountable for their events using Strategic Meetings Management programs and meeting policies?

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