Small meetings are the bugaboo of strategic meetings management programs. Because these meetings are often organized by occasional planners, there’s a good chance that hotel spending isn’t tracked and event policy isn’t followed. Companies are left with risk-management issues and an incomplete picture of their meeting spend.
“The legacy challenge has been the ability to ‘right-size’ a solution for this book of business, where Cvent and an elaborate M&E intake process can be overkill,” says Lisa Palmeri, vice president, principal consultant Intent Strategy Group, the consulting division of Caledonia, Wis.-based Meetings & Incentives Worldwide.
Palmeri is tackling this challenge with a new product called Simplified+. The small-meetings solution includes meeting and event policies written for do-it-yourself planners, a support system for those planners, and a streamlined technology component.
Critically, Simplified+ integrates the technology piece of the solution, which is Bizly, with the meeting team’s meeting management platform (typically Cvent), allowing for consolidated reporting. And the hands-on support system, or “professional concierges,” can guide small-meeting planners on policy as well as using the Bizly technology.
“ISG sought to fully understand and break down the barriers associated with small-meeting technology adoption, and we have invested a significant amount of time to develop and test the entire end-to-end solution so that clients can confidently and quickly launch a proven small-meetings solution,” says Palmeri.
Bizly’s chief customer officer Kevin Iwamoto, GLP, GTP, says that integrating Bizly into your meeting request form (MRF) isn’t unique, but that his small-meetings booking technology hasn’t been part of an end-to-end product like Simplified+. He emphasizes the central reason for developing a small-meetings program in the first place: “It’s the last frontier of managed meetings,” he says. “Everybody focuses on the bigger-ticket events and meetings, which is understandable, but they tend to neglect the spend around small meetings.”
Why? Because most small meetings are mundane with few cost-saving opportunities. However, “there are savings opportunities if you aggregate all of it together…. Companies don't understand how large it is because they don't see it holistically,” he adds. “They just see piecemeal, so it flies under the radar.”