Meetings

Event Management: Do Your Policies Match Your Reality?

By / May 30, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

New research by American Express Meetings & Events shows that an organization’s policies on time-tracking, contracts, and budget planning for events are often at odds with what actually happens.

Let’s say you’re planning an event. Despite the fact that you have a system for getting things moving, you’re finding it tough to get all the cogs organized. You don’t know how big your budget is, and that’s making it hard to settle details and establish timelines for when things have to be done. And don’t even get started on the contract hassles.

This research highlights the disparity between the precautions and procedures meetings leaders and planners feel should be or believe to be in place and actual current activity.

Sound familiar? You’re far from alone.

That’s the key finding in a study by American Express Meetings & Events, which reveals that established standards for budgetary issues, crisis planning, and data transparency are lacking or not followed by many event planners. More details:

The budget kerfuffle: Just because you need it doesn’t mean it’s ready. While 82 percent of the leaders surveyed said a budget is recommended or required for events to get off the the ground, 52 percent of event planners said they don’t have one ready at the time the planning starts. And by the end of the process, things are still messy: The study notes that nearly one-third of leaders said they are unable to report all meeting expenses, and more than a quarter said they have no way to track them.

So, who signs? While contracts are a key part of the event-planning process, there’s a disconnect between meeting planners and leadership on who exactly signs those documents. While just 6 percent of leaders said meeting planners are allowed to sign contracts related to events, 23 percent of planners said they actually do. And 37 percent of the planners  said such contracts—often for technical needs—are not forwarded to a manager before being signed.

When things go wrong… Obviously, having a crisis plan is important. (In rare instances, as the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association recently experienced at its conference in Boston, you might have to use it.) But half of the leaders and 64 percent of the planners surveyed said they do not have a way to track attendees in a crisis, and 62 percent of the planners said they don’t have access to medical and security aid.

American Express Meetings & Events says the study underlines the importance of following formal procedures when planning a meeting.

“This research highlights the disparity between the precautions and procedures meetings leaders and planners feel should be or believe to be in place and actual current activity,” Milton Rivera, the company’s vice president of business development, said in a press release. “It demonstrates how crucial it is for companies’ meeting-planning processes to be formalized, documented, and controlled as a means to minimize risk.”

 

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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