Spend Management: Businesses Closely Monitor Event Budgets in 2013

While business travel is expected to pick up in 2013, it appears that trends for corporate events, such as meetings and conferences, are shifting to reflect new economic realities. The Active Network recently published a study which followed meeting planning patterns from 2008-2012, and showed a distinct change in how companies approach organizing corporate gatherings. Though plans for events are up quite a bit from their recessionary lows, the need for more careful spend management has prompted an increased interest in maximizing every dollar.

According to the details reported by Daily Finance, companies are:

  • Assembling smaller, more budget friendly meetings. Half of all organized meetings are now attended by 50 people or less.
  • Reducing the length of events so they take no more than 1-2 days. Prevalence of same day events has risen 14% in the last 4 years.
  • Organizing meetings at the last second to accommodate fluctuating budgets. 30% of meetings were organized with a lead time of less than 60 days in 2012.

Despite the extra caution companies are taking with their expense management, eRFPs (electronic requests for proposal) for the 5 cities involved in the study (Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Orlando) show a 46% increase in scheduled events when compared to the lowest point in 2009, when the country was knee-deep in recession.

“Companies still value meeting face to face, but this study documents how the meetings and events landscape has changed over the past four years,” said JR Sherman, Senior Vice President of Business Solutions at ACTIVE Network. “Organizations are adopting strategies such as trimming event size, switching to local destinations and holding shorter meetings in order to reduce and control meeting costs.”

With the shift in corporate event planning requiring people to make the most of less time and money, more applications are hitting the market to help employees deal with hectic business travel. Downloadable agendas, calendars and meeting organizers, expense management software and travel booking applications are all expected to become much more prevalent — and vital to the “sanity” of organizers and attendees alike.

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