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The Benefits Of Centralizing Congress Spend

Three female healthcare professionals at a pharmaceutical congress meeting | Global Agency. BCD Meetings & Events

The benefits of centralizing your congress spend

Congress spend has historically been very decentralized. Sponsorship costs are managed by brand teams, often with no tracking against a specific meeting or congress.

Registration, housing, and travel costs are paid for by the individual attending the congress and billed to their individual T&E budgets.

Country affiliates fund local delegations (including HCPs) at the local level using country budgets for travel and registration costs.

This leaves the parent organization with no insight into the full list of corporate-funded attendees, or the total spend associated with any given congress.

Without visibility of the total spend at a congress, the parent organization cannot:

  • Quantify their investment. This eliminates any possibility of calculating ROI and limits the organization’s ability to set budget parameters around future events.
  • Verify total spend that determines a company’s ranking with the society. The higher the spend, the higher the ranking. A high ranking’s benefits vary by society, but typically include priority selection of housing blocks and exhibit space. If markets manage this locally through an unregulated process, their spend may not be clearly associated with the global organization as it should.
  • Capture spend with preferred partners. In some cases, housing may be contracted directly with hotels, and this spend should be included in overall meeting spend for negotiation with hotel chains. DMC and production spend should be also be globalized across all meeting and congress activity. Finally, congress specific partners like housing brokers may be identified as consistently used vendors that should be brought into the organizations preferred vendor program.

Learn about how BCD M&E helps clients manage their congress activities through our Congress Practice Area.

By creating a centralized view of all congress spend, an organization then has the ability to build informed processes and policies to maximize cost savings and avoidance, while reducing risk. Specific opportunities include:

  • Creation of an attendance strategy to define who should attend congresses. This ensures that the organizations funds are invested in delegates with the highest ROI potential.
  • Implementation of a specific process timeline to maximize early-bird savings when purchasing registrations. Missed early-bird savings can be measured to determine timeline compliance and identify stakeholder education opportunities.
  • Development of a system to cross-sell unused sleeping rooms between countries. As delegations are finalized, often the size of the delegation shifts slightly up or down. Cross-selling housing secured for one country to another minimizes attrition and cancellation fees at the global level.
  • Implementation of a sourcing strategy to shift spend to preferred partners wherever possible, maximizing the benefits of an organization’s existing supplier contracts, and reducing risk.

Ideally, a global congress strategy includes all areas of the business (commercial, medical, R&D), and all regions and countries.  Successful implementation of a new congress policy requires the same level of stakeholder communications and education as a meetings or travel policy.

Creating and implementing a policy can be daunting.  BCD Meetings & Events can partner with you to design a policy and implementation plan appropriate for your organization’s current state.  Using BCD M&E’s congress maturity model, we can work together to create an actionable plan to advance your congress program to your desired maturity.




Originally published Apr 11, 2022 12:21:01 PM
Last updated on Dec 23, 2022 10:23:04 AM

Written by Liz Dodson


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