Study: More Companies Consolidating Meetings, Events, Travel Programs

Because meetings require travel, and travel requires meetings, a growing number of companies are combining the two corporate functions, according to a new study published yesterday by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Titled "Meetings, Events, and Travel Programs: Consolidation Drivers and Barriers," the study found that half of travel buyers currently have or are in the process of creating a consolidated meetings, events, and/or travel program, which represents a 14 percent increase in adoption over the past five years and a 28 percent increased in completed consolidation.

Almost all travel buyers with consolidated programs reported that their travel (96 percent) and meetings (94 percent) programs are consolidated, and less than half that their events program is consolidated (43 percent).

"Popular goals and drivers for fully-consolidated programs include better leveraging and maximizing spend, obtaining better negotiated rates and dynamic pricing, and increasing efficiencies and improving service for stakeholders," said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research. "Four in five travel buyers find all facets of consolidated programs appealing, so it's no surprise they are increasing in popularity."

Consolidation represents a growth opportunity for management technology, according to GBTA: Although most buyers are satisfied with the meetings, events, and/or travel management technology used at their company, consolidated programs (48 percent) are more likely than non-consolidated programs (39 percent) to use such technology. Among the latter, GBTA said, there is "huge interest" in the features and benefits of management technology; yet, only one non-consolidated buyer in the survey of more than 200 buyers reported currently using such technology.

"We were excited to support GBTA with this important research, as we've believed for a long time in the consolidation of meetings, events, and travel as a way to provide total transparency around all costs and data to drive savings," said former GBTA President and CEO Kevin Iwamoto, vice president of industry strategy at Lanyon, which sponsored the GBTA Foundation study. "It's clear from this report that those that have achieved consolidation are reaping significant rewards, and that software is core to achieving these outcomes. However, many have still not yet seen these benefits."

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