|By: Lesley O’Bryan
Practice Area Lead, Integrated Travel and Meetings
ITM and sourcing
Integrated travel and meetings (ITM) is the practice of combining and leveraging small meetings spend when negotiating transient programs. While the reality of supplier negotiations is usually more complex than A + B = C (airlines generally negotiate route-by-route, while hotels negotiate city-by-city or property-by-property), combining meetings and transient spend can have a big impact on your travel program.
For instance, your company’s transient hotel spend in Boston or Budapest may not be enough to negotiate a corporate rate, but when you add three or four meetings, even small ones, the total amount will look much more attractive to a property. And, if you can secure a chain-wide agreement, the rewards are potentially even greater. With this approach, you may also find opportunities to negotiate inclusive extras for both transient and meetings, like complimentary breakfast or Wi-Fi.
To achieve the maximum benefits of ITM, you must have a mature program for both transient travel and meetings. Best in class candidates have a high adherence rate to their corporate travel and meetings policies. Most importantly, a strategic meetings management program (SMMP) will ease your transition to an integrated program.
Strategic meetings management programs (SMMPs) and integrating travel and meetings
A strategic meetings management program (SMMP) provides the framework for managing company-wide meeting-related processes, spend, volume, standards and suppliers. This more structured approach to meetings helps deliver cost savings, mitigate risks and deliver better service.
Integrating meetings with transient travel is more likely to work well when a company already has an SMMP in place, providing greater clarity and control of their meetings activity. SMMPs drive process standardization and encourage the consolidation of spend among preferred suppliers. With an SMMP, fragmented meetings activity becomes more organized, thereby paving a smoother path for integration with transient travel spending.
Combine travel and meetings spend to reap benefits from suppliers
With a better understanding of the benefits potential, more and more companies are starting to realize that the rewards of combining spend on transient travel and meetings are within reach.