“When Covid first hit, everyone was just trying to put out fires,” says Betsy Bondurant, CMM, CMT, president of Bondurant Consulting. However, we have now firmly shifted into the “new normal” phase, she says. “Now that hybrid events are going to be an everyday part of our meetings programs, we have to get control of the spending just like we would with any other part of the program.”
This means tracking and consolidating what your organization is doing in terms of online meeting technologies, among other considerations. “There could be four, five, or even more platforms being used that may or may not have gone through an IT technical review process to make sure that they’re appropriate for the organization and not putting them at risk because of what’s on the back end,” she says.
While many organizations are including virtual events in their strategic meeting management programs to manage spend, the results of a benchmarking study that Bondurant’s group did last summer found that executives don’t always understand the new meeting strategies. In some cases, senior leadership is not entirely aware of the extent of the digital and live programs their organizations are offering, nor how much more time and expense hybrid meetings entail. The study also found some tension around who oversees the newly digital programs.
“The best-case scenario that we’re seeing is where organizations develop some type of matrix that redefines the roles and responsibilities for live and virtual—and how to put them together for hybrid events,” says Bondurant. “The best-in-class case is where you have a cross-functional team that’s not looking at each event as a one-off but rather at the full portfolio so they can do a proper RFP and make sure that they’re getting the right overall business solution.”
The New Meetings Team
Strategic Meetings Management in a Post-Pandemic World