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August 26, 2010

Ann Godi:The right source

Just because sourcing is typically a complementary or no-fee service in the corporate meetings and events industry, doesn’t mean it should be devalued, says the president and chief executive of Benchmarc360.

When managed effectively, sourcing is an important and strategic part of the process of organising business meetings and events. Getting the right source is a key success factor. It can be the difference between achieving the desired outcomes or not. It really is that simple and that complex. One of the true exposures business meeting and event owners have is not getting the right source – the one that will support their business objectives.

Ironically, the dumbing down of what used to be called site selection is widespread in our industry. At a time when industry scrutiny is at its highest and measurement is finally finding its rightful place, virtual companies driven by contractors with no background or experience in managing corporate meetings and events are rampant. This segment of the industry has expanded in record numbers during the challenges of what feels like the 100-year recession, often representing organisations that don’t know what they don’t know about the importance of selecting the right location.

Having the right partner to advise and represent the best interests of the sponsoring organisation is essential. Gone is the option of having reps that are ill suited or unable to provide critical deliverables – deliverables without which a successful event cannot occur. Having a hotel sales background is not enough to understand what makes an effective match of site and programme – there is so much more to it than the rates, dates and concessions approach. As important as those factors are great sourcing professionals, who have a much more expansive and strategic approach.

The right source provides the background conversation for a successful programme – it’s the platform that everything else will be built on. At no other time has it been more important to understand brand nuances and alignment, corporate culture, marketing, messaging, programme design and management. These factors are important components of getting the right source. Sourcing companies that have teams with a holistic approach like this, along with great contract negotiations are best equipped to provide the right source and solution.

Is it too much to ask of your sourcing partner to source using this many criteria? Considering how difficult (if not impossible) it can be to overcome a site that is not correctly aligned, the question you might consider asking is… can you for afford for your sourcing partner not to?

Ann Godi is president and chief executive of Benchmarc360.

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