'and now for the serious bit.......'

IBTM Events, 16 Feb 2011 09:00

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I am sure many of you would love to be a fly on the wall in the board rooms of event directors within corporations like Microsoft to gather insights into the strategies and processes in place to run effective meetings and events within the confines of the tightening purse strings of the current economic environment.

Yesterday’s Business Event Forum at AIME 2011 in Melbourne, gave visitors this precise opportunity with industry leaders including Kati Quigley, Director Event Marketing Microsoft Corporation, describing their challenges in the changing economic environment and how the consolidation of corporate travel is affecting strategies around meetings after the global financial crisis. In her key note address, Kati Quigley, stressed that efficiency and effectiveness are now central but it is not all about saving, it is about spending money wisely and getting genuine value. This is having a real impact on the processes for procurement at Microsoft where there is a new level of collaboration between marketing and procurement teams.

In the panel discussion that followed I was left with little doubt that although there are increasing levels of cost containment in the industry, business confidence is up, meetings and events are still central but for meeting planners, value and flexibility from suppliers is key.

Most corporations recognise that although business confidence is up, the spend per event is generally declining and event planners want to share these challenges with suppliers and work with them upfront to come up with innovative solutions to do events well in a financially tighter environment.

The session really drove home that efficiency and effectiveness are central for all the corporations but this is not resulting in less events. Companies that may have moved towards virtual meetings or reduced incentives to bring down costs are now re-instating their programmes but looking for more innovative ways to deliver them cost effectively.