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Need to Know: Meetings Management in 2022

“Disruption” has always been an industry buzz word, but we’re not sure anyone could have predicted just how disruptive these past two years would be to our industry.

While painful in the moment, the long-term benefits that have caused organizations and the industry to think differently about their meetings programs will continue to unfold.

The pandemic has forced organizations to transform and reevaluate their structures and operating principles. For meetings programs specifically, it forced a broader connection across areas that were once siloed from the program. Marketing, IT/Technology, Procurement have found commonalities that both minimize duplication and maximize opportunity.

A graphic showing stats from BD M&E's 2022 trends report | Global Agency. BCD Meetings & Events

BCD M&E Client Survey, 2021

Five things you should consider for your meetings program in 2022

1. New program initiatives – D&I, Wellness & Sustainability

Focus on these areas has increased dramatically. In recognition of this, we have added those elements to the ever-evolving BCD M&E Maturity Model. Your Meetings Program can help track, impact and drive results in all of these areas. Do you have committees or people responsible for these areas with whom you can connect, to brainstorm how the meetings program can contribute to your company’s goals? This can help evolve your program, while strengthening its connection to the wider organization and enhancing stakeholder engagement.

2. Virtual meetings are here to stay

This is not a groundbreaking statement, but it is a pivotal change. Organizations were forced to switch to virtual formats to ensure business continuity. On the flip side, the pandemic has confirmed to many the importance of face-to-face connection to achieve a meeting’s goals. When looking at your virtual strategy beyond the pandemic, you need to consider which meetings can remain virtual and which work better in a live environment. For some companies this entails a goal of 20% of all meetings being virtual. In a recent survey, 81% of organizations have a “Performing” or “Leading” virtual meetings strategy, which is an increase of 50% from 2021.

3. Risk mitigation & duty-of-care are core program drivers

Risk mitigation and duty of care have become increasingly important as key drivers for an organization’s meetings program. In our survey, these areas came out as most important for 33% of organizations (followed by cost savings at 26%). The pandemic contractually and financially exposed organizations who did not have a consolidated venue sourcing program. Also, in an effort to ensure duty of care protocols are considered, companies have added new approval processes that involve security and/or health & safety or HR teams. You should also consider re-visiting duty of care reporting requirements across meetings and travel to ensure your internal stakeholders are getting the information they need to keep your employees safe. In addition, a refreshed review of your suppliers based on trustworthy partnerships, will further strengthen a supplier network that is committed to supporting and upholding these important areas on your behalf.

4. An organization’s structure is the biggest barrier for many

It pays to be aware of the factors that are impeding the expansion of a meetings program. It could be a lack of leadership endorsement – if so, a refreshed business case needs to be presented. Or perhaps there is low adoption across different regions, requiring an assessment and review that considers the needs of regional stakeholders, commercial models, and a localized change management strategy. For some organizations a fully consolidated meetings program is not possible due a decentralized structure. In this instance we recommend focusing on a few key areas that can create a level of program connectivity and governance. This could include identifying a set of data points to be consistently collected, stakeholder engagement activities to educate and inform or the creation of a toolkit of resources.

5. You need to have a strategy to find and retain the best talent

This applies whether you are working with a third party or managing your meetings internally. Without such a strategy, companies will struggle to build a successful culture that in turn creates a meetings team that is happy, well supported and provides excellent service to your meeting owners. Be aware of the positive effect of flexibility when it comes to virtual or hybrid schedules, especially in this new competitive environment. Also, ensure your third-party has a solid resource modeling framework so that workload peaks can be forecasted and managed effectively with additional resources. Ask your agency about their culture, how they look after their employees and what their internal employee surveys tell them. Also, the power of a simple thank you, or appreciation of a job well done should never be overlooked

BCD M&E uses our Maturity Model to provide a thorough assessment of an organization’s meetings program and provide guidance on initiatives in each of the 16 program component areas.

Meetings Maturity Model Diagram | Global Agency. BCD Meetings and events

Are you ready to take a fresh look at your meetings program?

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Originally published Feb 21, 2022 1:10:46 PM
Last updated on Dec 23, 2022 12:41:35 PM

Written by Charlotte Leo


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