Best Meetings Practitioners of 2006

Think big. That's what each of Meetings Today's Best Practitioners of 2005-2006 did when looking for the next great frontier of their corporate meetings programs. Large obstacles require large solutions, and these individuals have spent the last year coming up with comprehensive, rational new programs for their unique needs.

Sue Shillam, director of European meetings and travel for Pfizer Inc., faced a daunting task to standardize meetings across the company's global operations, but a clear structure of four regional councils and the use of a common technology solution is helping to accomplish her goal.

Ernest Guerra, director of global travel and meeting services for American Standard Cos., was challenged with maintaining savings in a seller's market. He succeeded by creating a separate process for small meetings that leverages group volume at transient properties.

At Hewlett-Packard Co., Deborah Matarazzo, head of HP's data and spend consolidation and meetings management department, launched an end-to-end tech solution that captures spend in the company's decentralized environment. Her savings are expected to reach over $20 million in the first three years of the project.

This year of rapidly increasing hotel rates and tightening availability has been one of the first true market tests of corporate meetings management programs implemented during the past five years. Buyers are finding out whether the processes that worked so well for them in the past will work in all market cycles. These Best Practitioners not only have implemented successful programs, but also are expanding their efforts to new markets.

Meetings Today solicited nominations for Best Practitioners, whose meetings management programs either completed or began to show verifiable results since the beginning of 2005, from readers.

We appreciate the cooperation of the Best Practitioners and those in the travel and meetings industry who participated in the process.