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Gambling on the future?

As is obvious from this article from hotelinteractive.com on the First Annual Meetings Industry Trend Summit held at Mohegan Sun recently, "It’s a safe bet to say the free wheeling days of the last 1990s are a thing of the past as those operating the purse strings are taking a greater interest in finding ways to lower meeting costs through such efforts as consolidation and procurement."

Calling meetings consolidation "inevitable," Ed Rigsbee, CSP, President, Rigsbee International, said that "41 percent of companies that hold meetings consolidate meeting expenditures for negotiating purposes and that number is only expected to increase." Also, he said, "Technology is enabling the executive suite to look closer at things," according to the article.

It worries me that, in the quest to do more for less, companies may overlook the fact that sometimes the "best deal" will turn out to be a really bad idea when it comes to meetings. We see it already when it comes to medical meetings, where folks are afraid to use any facility with the words "spa" or "resort" in the name—even if AnyResort & Spa is actually offering more for less in terms of overall attendee experience.

Let’s face it: The meetings and events world is too nuanced to be viewed realistically as a commodity—it’s just a very different beast than a paperclip or a chair. That’s why I disagree with Scott Eames, Manager Business Development with American Express Corporate Meeting Solutions, when he says in the article, "Procurement allows companies to strip away the levels and find true value for services. It all fits in concert with travel."

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