The vast majority of smaller or “simple” business meetings are booked directly with venues rather than through corporate booking tools, according to new research.
A global study, carried out by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and hotel booking specialist HRS, revealed that those organising simple meetings mostly booked by calling the hotel or venue directly (67%) or through the property’s website (28%).
Only 19% of bookers made reservations through a meetings and events online platform, while 20% used an online booking tool provided by their organisation or travel management company (TMC), and 23% used a venue-sourcing service. Booking directly through an online travel agency lagged further behind at just 9%.
Elsehere, the study also found that 44% of respondents did not use a “managed” corporate channel or tool to search for venues, with 77% of these bookers solely relying on consumer channels to shop for hotels and venues.
Overall, the majority of organisations (52%) made bookings outside any sort of managed corporate channel.
Jessica Collison, director of research at GBTA, said:
“Simple meetings account for significant expenditures within companies – yet they are very loosely managed, potentially costing companies when it comes to the bottom line, meetings satisfaction and duty-of-care compliance.”
Simple meetings are defined as typically hosting between 10 and 50 attendees, which require a meeting room and basic audio/visual facilities, and can also sometimes require the booking of accommodation for attendees.
The study, conducted among members of GBTA and Meeting Professionals International (MPI), revealed that 50% of all global meetings fit under this definition – this is even higher in Europe where they account for 58% of all business meetings.
More than half of organisations (52%) also do not deploy electronic tendering technology (known as e-RFPs) to arrange venues and have no plans to start using this kind of process.
There were also major differences between the behaviour of different types of bookers - with 54% of meeting professionals tracking all simple expenditure, but only 18% of travel managers doing likewise.
Abbie Michaelson, vice president of meetings and groups for HRS, added:
“The out-of-process metrics for shopping, booking and venue comparison would set off alarm bells in other areas of corporate procurement.
“With these findings, those responsible now have the ammunition to implement measurable changes in this category.”