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February 05, 2009

New StarCite Survey Exposes Gap Between Corporate Travel and Meetings Oversight

By Raju Shanbhag, TMCnet Contributing Editor

In the majority of firms, there exists a wide gap between corporate travel and meetings oversight, according to a new survey from StarCite. The survey states that most companies do not have established meeting policies even though meetings constitute as much as 35 percent or more of many companies’ travel spending.

The economic recession has forced many companies to enforce strict rules and regulations about the travel of their executives. But somehow, the same alertness is not shown in planning and executing the meetings.
The survey states that when it comes to strategic sourcing, over 71 percent of companies have preferred supplier relationships with all three major travel categories (air, hotel and car rental), with only 5 percent of companies lacking preferred relationships altogether. But when it comes to meeting, 32 percent of companies lack preferred suppliers entirely, the survey says.
“With millions of discretionary dollars at stake in a tight economy, meetings and events are a natural target for companies looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency,” said Kevin Iwamoto, vice president of enterprise strategy at StarCite.
“While our survey shows there is a long way to go for many companies in terms of putting strategic meetings management policies in place, we also know there is a clear roadmap for success,” Iwamoto added.
The StarCite states that nearly half the companies surveyed fail to integrate their travel and meetings data. While this puts a high amount of pressure on overstretched meeting planners, the companies are also missing opportunities to secure potential savings from suppliers, states the StarCite survey.
To put integrated meetings management program in place, StarCite offers methods such as identifying synergies between corporate travel and meetings programs by connecting disparate travel and meeting data; and meeting the unique challenges presented by corporate meetings by creating specific meetings management policies.
Recently, the company introduced two new products designed to extend the benefits of strategic meeting management to small- and medium-sized businesses. The products – StarCite Express and StarCite Professional – enable mid-market companies to achieve the meeting cost-savings and efficiency benefits that large market companies have been experiencing for years.

Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raju’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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