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New Thoughts on an Old Tool: The Quarterly Business Review

New Thoughts on an Old Tool: The Quarterly Business Review

What’s wrong with the traditional Quarterly Business Review between meeting suppliers and clients? Maybe nothing—if the best use of your time is reviewing a mind-numbing PowerPoint. I’m convinced it’s time to rethink how we use this valuable face-to-face time. With a thanks to MGM Resorts International’s Michael Dominguez for his inspiration, here’s how the QBR format can be quickly and dramatically improved to provide both parties with far more strategic and critical information. 

In a traditional QBR, the parties review:
• Overall meeting metrics
• Achievement of Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
• Adherence to Service Level Agreements (SLA)
• Client feedback on performance
• Supplier capabilities

I agree that it is critical to share this information on a regular basis. However, my new perspective is that much of the meeting metrics, KPI, and SLA data should be shared in a report in advance of the meeting, saving the valuable face-to-face time for more strategic discussions on marketplace conditions. I propose that the strategic discussion focus on trends relating to political, economic, social, or technological issues that are positively or negatively affecting our industry in general.

Some of you might recognize this as a “PEST” analysis.  For example in this quarter, specific topics could include how hotel expansion or contraction in specific markets will affect hotel rates, the effect of world events on duty of care and destination selection, how cost increases for specific food & beverage items are changing menu prices, how labor laws that are increasing minimum wages and overtime regulations may affect cost and service levels, and the impact of huge data consumption increases by attendees on hotel infrastructure costs and, as a result, meeting costs.

An outcome of the QBR should be a commitment to incorporate these trends into a strategic plan to optimize the sourcing and contracting of meetings and events. A component of the plan should be conversations with key budget holders and decision makers to make them aware of how changing market conditions are affecting the options for and costs of their meetings. Your sourcing strategy could include tactics such as taking advantage of oversaturated markets to keep hotel costs down, proactively sharing the food & beverage budget with the hotel in order to develop wholesome and creative menus that meet your needs, or changing your arrival/departure pattern to be a more appealing piece of business for your preferred hotel.

Most buyers have I spoken with would love to get this information from their suppliers, but few are receiving it.  So my call to action for buyers is to clarify your expectations with your suppliers. Update the QBR agenda and share why you want to see this trending information. For suppliers, if you are not already sharing this type of marketplace intelligence, proactively suggest to your client that you would like to change the QBR into a more strategic discussion in order to position them for greater success in the future. As a result, this will position you as a “trusted advisor” to your clients.

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