Welcome back to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog. This week, I’ll be reviewing a whitepaper entitled “Integrating Corporate Travel, Procurement and Meetings Management: A Best Practices Roadmap to Strategic Meetings Management Success” from Starcite and Bitpipe.com.

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As the trend is for more and more non-traditional categories to fall under the scope of the procurement department, a category that has been mentioned in more conversation than ever is meetings. While meetings management has been the responsibility of the corporate travel department in many companies, it appears that there is a lot of decentralized, one-off spending going on, making the situation ripe for funneling that spend into the procurement department.

While even knowing what meetings spending is going on can be a challenge, this whitepaper offers some good suggestions for knowing where to start. It suggests seeking out expenditures on things like “meals with 10 or more diners, audio-visual charges, large hotel room blocks or banquet charges, etc.”

Where should you look for these expenditures? The whitepaper suggests corporate card reports, individual meeting planners, the finance department, and even suppliers.

The whitepaper says that the next step is to create policies around meetings. Unfortunately, I felt that this section could have used a few more examples. The one example it did provide stated that any contract that an internal meeting planner negotiates or modifies must be reviewed by Procurement.

The whitepaper talks about re-evaluating the supply base to consolidate business with suppliers who can accommodate both meeting-related transactions as well as what the whitepaper refers to as “transient travel.”

The whitepaper identified four aspects of initial meetings integration (the placing of meetings spend under the Procurement umbrella) that can result in return on investment of an aggregate total of 11 – 25% of meetings spend:

  • Process automation
  • Policy compliance
  • Strategic sourcing
  • Visibility

Then, the whitepaper goes on to claim that additional savings beyond these “first returns” are possible as a result of using data gathered to reduce preferred rates, get bigger discounts, and increase corporate card rebates.

With these types of savings available, it is no wonder why larger companies are taking a harder look at meetings spend. My concern is that many companies will let this meeting spend slide under the radar for a couple of possible reasons: (1) they assume that their meetings spend is too small to matter or (2) they have always treated meetings as synonymous with travel, failing to take into account the market dynamics that may make integrating meetings spend into procurement a profitable endeavor.

If you are interested in delving more into the topic of meetings procurement, you can get your own copy of this whitepaper from Bitpipe.com (registration required).

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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