Transparency and Data Capture: Success Comes One Meeting at a Time

2017 Changemaker Karen Hutchings is making a difference for Ernst & Young’s global meeting management.

MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list recognizes 20 outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find all the profiles here.

Karen Hutchings
Global Travel, Meetings & Events Leader | Business  Enablement
Ernst & Young
For questioning the status quo and a relentless focus on efficiency

Having won awards both internally and externally for consolidation and innovation, Karen Hutchings and her worldwide colleagues are focused on continuous improvement in efficiency and savings.

Managing a Global Team
The global team, including our offshore India-based support team and event managers, totals 70-plus, people covering an expenditure of over $2 billion in 150 plus countries.  We have an appointed Meeting & Events venue-sourcing agency for the Americas, responsible for sourcing in the U.S. and Canada. We also have an agency assigned in the Asia-Pacific area and we are in the final stages of selecting suppliers in Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa, and in Latin America.

Global Change Management
In 2017, we integrated our online event management tool and online travel booking tool in the U.S. Getting the buy-in to use it as the data capture tool has been challenging, however, compliance has been achieved due to perseverance by our team, as well as senior stakeholders wanting to have visibility into their meetings and events spend in a more granular way, which is what the tool delivers. We are now able to produce expenditure and insightful data, which gives visibility of spend and supports our cost-saving initiatives.

Up Next
We are looking at using the total volume of events we run so we are able to negotiate more broadly and collectively versus on an event-by-event basis. For example, when events are held in the same city, we are seeing if there is an opportunity to negotiate with the same venue for more than one event within the year. Separately, we have automated the process for getting individuals to book their flights when they register to attend a meeting or event in our tool. This results in average ticket price reductions due to booking flights further in advance.

Got a Spare Hour?  
I’d ride one of my horses, Bobby or Brenda.

Giving Back
I have recently taken over [as chairman] of The Institute of Travel Management from Mark Cuschieri. For me, it will be the opportunity to give something back to an industry that I love and that has given me so many opportunities. Additionally, I look forward to the opportunity to help shape and develop travel management, and potentially challenge the status quo if and when appropriate.


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